NBC has already lined up its next live musical and a star to shine in it: Prepare for Bye Bye Birdie starring Jennifer Lopez. The multi-hyphenate, easily one of the busiest women in the biz, will play Rosie, a role previously made famous by Chita Rivera on Broadway. The 1963 film version starred Janet Leigh in the role.
“Broadway musicals and films fueled my childhood and Bye Bye Birdie was one of my favorites,” Lopez said in a statement. To wit, she often performs the Birdie song “A Lot of Livin’ To Do” during her Las Vegas residency sets.
The book for NBC’s version will be written by Tony winner Harvey Fierstein, who also penned NBC’s take on The Wiz, and is both starring in and writing the upcoming live Hairspray, airing December 7. Craig Zadanand Neil Meron, the duo behind all of NBC’s live musicals thus far, will produce.
Bye Bye Birdie revolves around what happens to a small town when it gets a visit from rock star Conrad Birdie. After being drafted in the army, the star goes to Sweet Apple, Ohio to deliver a good-bye performance and kiss his biggest fan, a publicity stunt dreamed up by Rosie, the wife of Birdie’s agent and songwriter Albert Peterson. The story was inspired by Elvis Presley’s induction into the military in 1957.
The role also continues J.Lo’s determination to never, ever, ever have downtime. This year alone, the artist was a judge on the final season of American Idol, kicked off her Las Vegas residency, and starred in new cop drama Shades of Blue, which was renewed for a second season. She’s also working on two new shows for NBC: a futuristic thriller titled C.R.I.S.P.R., and a reality dance competition show titled World of Dance, in which she’ll be a judge and an executive producer. In the midst of all that, she also released new music, including “Ain’t Your Mama” and “Love Make the World Go Round,” a collaboration with Lin-Manuel Miranda (a fellow Absurdly Busy Celebrity).
Jennifer Lopez—living embodiment of the saying, “new year, new me.”
By Yohana Desta