“Peter Pan Live!” is not NBC’s first foray into the world of musicals adapted live for television; the inaugural attempt was 2013’s “The Sound of Music Live!” starring Carrie Underwood.
Some familiar faces from that production will be coming back for “Pan”: Most notably, Christian Borle, who played Max Detweiler in “The Sound of Music Live!” Now Borle will play the dual roles of Mr. Darling and Smee, and says he definitely learned some lessons from his first go around that he is putting into good use this year.
Borle explains to Zap2It and a group of other reporters that “everyone doesn’t know what the challenges are going to be until they happen.” Though sometimes there isn’t a way to tell what could go wrong until the day of the show, that isn’t stopping everyone involved from being “excited to show off some visual flair,” especially with “Peter Pan Live!’s” flying elements and the Neverland set design.
Personally, Borle is excited to not sing quite as much compared to last year. Unlike a Broadway show there is no live orchestra following along with the musical numbers, making any flubs potentially disastrous for the rest of the song. There’s also the difficulty of there being no audience to sing to, giving the performance itself a strange feeling of performing with nobody to play off of as the performance progresses.
Kelli O’Hara, playing Mrs. Darling opposite Borle, does not have the same luck in regards to the amount of singing on her plate. “All I do is sing,” says the Broadway veteran. She hopes that maybe the next “ambition is to put an orchestra there somewhere” if NBC keeps this tradition going in the future in order to give the cast some piece of mind.
Whether they are returning for a second year or tackling their first live event, Borle notes, “Last year everyone was so grateful and happy to be involved in something like this, and it feels the same this year.”