The story of J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan” is one of eternal youth, companionship and enduring loyalty. A mischievous boy who can fly and doesn’t age, Peter grew up without parents and spends his never-ending childhood on the enchanted island of Never Land where he is the leader of the Lost Boys. With the fairy Tinker Bell always at his side, he brings Wendy Darling and her brothers to Never Land on the biggest adventure of their lives and they encounter mermaids, fairies, pirates, and the dastardly Hook.
The original Broadway production of “Peter Pan,” directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins and featuring the iconic songs “I’m Flying,” “I’ve Gotta Crow,” “I Won’t Grow Up,” and “Never Never Land,” opened on Broadway in 1954. The show had a book by J.M. Barrie and a score by Mark “Moose” Charlap & Carolyn Lee, with additional songs by Jule Styne & Betty Comden and Adolph Green. It starred Mary Martin as Peter and Cyril Richard as Captain Hook, both of whom won Tony Awards for their performances.
Though business was strong, the show closed in 1955 to make way for the live broadcast on NBC, with an audience of 65 million viewers – the highest rating for a single night program at the time. NBC later broadcast the show live again in 1956 and 1960, all to strong ratings. It was also the first broadcast of a musical in color. None of NBC’s telecasts took place in a theater in front of a live audience; they all were broadcast from NBC studios.
The December 4 telecast is executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.