Christian Borle Closing Deal to Play Mr. Darling/Smee in Peter Pan Live

NBC must have been THRILLED with the work, Smash star, Christian Borle did in The Sound of Music Live Last year, because they are also casting him in the upcoming production of Peter Pan Live.

Meet Two Stars of DEAR EVAN HANSEN-...
Meet Two Stars of DEAR EVAN HANSEN- Stephen Christopher Anthony & Sam Tutty

Deadline reports:

Tony winner Christian Borle is finalizing a deal to pull double duty on NBC‘s live production of Peter Pan. He will play Captain Hook’s right-hand man Smee and the Darling kids’ father, Mr. Darling, opposite Allison Williams’ Peter Pan and Christopher Walken’s Captain Hook. In the original Broadway production of Peter Pan and in the 1955 live broadcast on NBC, the parts of Hook and Mr. Darling were played by the same actor, Cyril Ritchard, with Joe E. Marks playing Smee. In Steven Spielberg’s movie Hook, Smee was played by Bob Hoskins. Borle has Peter Pan-related musical experience — he won a Tony in 2012 for playing pirate Black Stache, future Captain Hook, in Peter Pan prequel Peter And The Starcatcher.

I like the idea of the same actor playing both Captain Hook and Mr. Darling, as a ying/yang dichotomy from the kids point of view. But I can understand pulling out the role as a star vehicle for the great actor, Christopher Walken.

Producers, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron not only worked with Christian in The Sound of Music Live, but are the team that brought Smash to NBC as well. Now, I wonder if anybody else from Sound of Music will be cast in Peter Pan?

Peter Pan Live airs on NBC December 4.

Via Deadline

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Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!

29 Comments

  1. I’m going to be the mean one and say he was the one thing I didn’t like about The Sound of Music Live. He wasn’t bad or anything. He was just the THEATA ACTOR WITH THE VOICE THAT IS TRAINED TO CARRY TO THE BACK OF THE THEATA! and it came across as over-the-top coming out of a television. As for other cast members join Peter Pan? Some of the kids are still young enough. I can’t think of a role for Audra McDonald though.

  2. That’s a nice jump from Max in SoM to “Captain Hook’s right-hand man Smee and the Darling kids’ father, Mr. Darling”, even though it’s more usually Hook/Mr Darling – this ought to work just fine. Peter Pan is slightly ‘over the top’ and the actors ought to be able to take it right to that edge.

    That’s two very different characters, and Smee, especially, ought to be so much fun to play, Christian Borle has a very nice, juicy gig here. I was already gonna watch this for Christopher Walken – here’s more reason…

  3. Yeah, I don’t think this Tony winning actor was bad at all in SoM. In fact, thank GOD he was there to add some real theatrical chops to the otherwise pretty bland show. (Other than fellow Tony winner McDonald)

  4. I love Christian Borle. He is a terrific actor. He would be perfect for Capt Smee. Yay.
    This also reminds me of Smash and how much I miss it.

  5. Great news! I love Christian and he’ll definitely be the draw for me to watch PP.

  6. I think Christian Borle should be to NBC live musical specials what John Ratzenberger is to Pixar movies….he should be somewhere in all of them! Seriously, Christian is awesome and I’m glad he will be in this go-round of the great NBC musical experiment

  7. It won’t be on TV but I hope BOOK OF MORMON comes to the big screen soon

  8. Much better to have an experienced musical theatre actor than a Tv star who can’t sing or a singer who can’t act (which was a big criticism of Underwood)

  9. ~Le Sigh~ I suppose enough time has passed for people to forget that NBC’s choice of Carrie Underwood for Maria was vindicated by the massive ratings, and those ratings are the reason they are willing to mount another production. There had to be a Name Above the Lights that the TV audience would recognize – and it worked!

    Christopher Borle is certainly an “experienced musical theater actor” (who is playing a double second lead here…which is an upgrade over the part of Max)…But then, Christopher Walken as Captain Hook has Musical Theater experience as well a being a respected and well-known actor from movies, stage and TV screen – do we believe he (and his agent) would have signed on for this gig if NBC couldn’t ‘Point With Pride’ at the ratings and ad revenues that measured the success of last year’s “Sound of Music”? I don’t.

    Someone ‘with a name’ had to risk it first, and prove to all the naysayers and shade casters that the idea could be made to work…I still give Kudos to Carrie for being willing to do that.

    JMO.

  10. Carrie got kudos alright, alone with the bad reviews for her so call acting and thank goodness, she seem to have retired from anymore theatrical pursuits.

  11. Leave the acting to the real actors and these wannabe singers turn actors need to stay in their own lane.

  12. Yup – if Carrie (or some other big name) hadn’t signed on for the first production – there probably wouldn’t have been the ratings that garnered a 2nd production. Christopher Borle will be great – but he is NOT a ratings draw (see SMASH ratings) on his own.

    (Also after reading comment below mine – I haven’t heard any statement from Carrie that she has retired from theatrical pursuits. She’s a trooper and if she is needed another time for something else – I’ll bet she’ll say yes. Thank goodness she ignores the naysayers.)

  13. I so agree with you!
    Given that the Sound of Music is usually a big hit in theatres wherever it is produced and the fact that TV had not offered something like this in years, I would argue that the Big Name Draw was due I, in at least equal parts, to the show they were doing. Te novelty of the situation also entered into the equation as well. For my part – and those of my circle who aren’t country music fans but are actors/singers and all around theatre buffs. Borle and McDonald had just a big a reason ( if not more) of brining us to the T.V. and , once the rather wooden acting was revealed, of keeping us there. To be honest, I taped the show and wound up fast forwarding through the parts which centered around Underwood without the others.

  14. If Carrie wants to act that’s up to her because she’s the one who had to handle the bad reviews and being laughed at on twitter.

  15. “…the Sound of Music is usually a big hit in theatres wherever it is produced.”

    It usually is, ptslittlecomment – quite true. But compare the audience for a big theater hit to the television audience for the NBC production – one night each. There’s no comparison.

    I’m not into Country Music, so I have no dog in that hunt – and I’ve worked in the Tech side of theater for many years – a slightly different view from the regular audience. I know what it takes to mount a production – and how few are the Theater Angels. I have no quarrel with NBC’s strategy to continue bringing Live stage shows to television – or their casting tactics.

    NBC recruited Carrie Underwood for a reason – and she was game to try – she certainly didn’t need that part for career success. It hasn’t hurt her, and it helped their plan significantly. No matter what shade is cast in retrospect – it worked.

    Now we have a Captain Hook of immense possibilities to look forward to, and it’s all ’cause and effect’, IMO.

  16. But she didn’t “ignore the naysayers”, but instead, sanctimoniously declared that anyone who didn’t like her in the show “need Jesus”. I wasn’t a fan of Carrie’s performance on the live show, but tbh, this reaction from her was more of a turnoff than her performance.

  17. Reminder:

    Can we keep this thread focused on CHRISTIAN BORLE and his role in PETER PAN LIVE rather than re-hashing old arguments about The Sound of Music Live? Dead horse. Beaten.

    Turning a comment thread, where the op never even mentioned the star of the former production, into a take down of her, is off topic.

  18. Incorrect. She referred to “mean people,” a phrase vague enough to leave room to interpret it as a statement about anybody who panned her. But anybody with a clue for how she’s traditionally handled criticism understood her tweet as a momentary vent against people who were actually being jerks, not anybody who panned her.

  19. With respect, that’s your interpretation of the target of her comment, which I felt was directed to those who disliked her performance, whether people were being “jerks” or not. Regardless, these kind of sanctimonious comments are a turn off to me, since in my experience, those who proclaim to embrace Jesus have often been among the most judgemental, close-minded and nasty people whom I have ever met.

  20. Yes, but mostly I was correcting your initial mischaracterization of her comment – you made your interpretation appear to be a matter of fact. As I noted, her comment was vague enough to be interpreted in different ways, and her history in dealing with criticism strongly suggests that your interpretation is inaccurate.

  21. While I agree there’s no denying the appeal of The Sound Of Music property plus the contribution of the liveness of the event to the ratings, these numbers underscored the ratings draw of the big name.

    https://twitter.com/TVMoJoe/status/408992240288006144

    https://twitter.com/TVMoJoe/status/410546688940445696

    Those markets also happen to be big concert markets for Carrie, and big country markets in general. Neil Meron went as far as saying that Carrie “made it all happen.” I’m sure that was the producer being supportive and all that, but still.

    That being said, if you’re saying Carrie wouldn’t draw 18+ million on her own for some random live show, then I completely agree.

    Anyway, I’m glad Christian Borle is back for this one – I enjoyed him well enough as Uncle Max last year, and there’s no question of his chops as a live singer and stage actor.

    I think the casting this year (so far) is going for a more general “Won’t it be cool to see Christopher Walken do this?” appeal, and having a Girls star (and Allison Williams in particular) probably guarantees the engagement of the pop culture snark-tweeting crowd. I think the production team probably learned from how long camera blocking took last year (Stephen Moyer did a Comic Con interview talking about how they only had 1 dress rehearsal because camera blocking took 2 weeks) too, though they have some major extra challenges this year with the whole flying thing.

  22. She can handle it. She can also handle the fact that she keeps getting offers, and with those offers she also keeps getting paychecks. Like any successful public figure, she’s going to have her critics, but that hasn’t stopped her from going after what she wants, or from succeeding.

  23. Well, again with respect, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this particular situation.

  24. I am not saying that Underwood’s name did not draw a crowd – yes, theatre is often sacrificed to the gods of finance – but I also believe that the show itself was responsible for some of the numbers. I have never known a production of that particular show not to gather big numbers. (Children/family/songs we all know and all that).
    But I am also saying that many folks were also drawn to the talents of Borle and MacDonald.

  25. Can this rule be for all threads about all idols?? The rehashing gets ridiculous.

  26. I agree. I thought that Christian and Audra added so much to this show to make it memorable.

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