It takes so many dedicated people to put on a live show, and to televise it just doubles the amount of people and passion necessary. That said, NBC is kicking up a notch next week by adding computer graphics. Yup, Tinkerbell will be CGI for Peter Pan Live , as we learned in tonight's Making Of Peter Pan Live special. In the sneak peek, we saw the beautiful set. It's much bigger than any stage show could achieve, with lots of moving parts. The camera set-up is incredible. We met Nana, being played by a real dog. We watched the final callbacks for John and Michael, which gave me some nervous flashbacks. We saw Christopher Walken being... Christopher Walken. Even he admitted that Hook is probably going to be a lot like Christopher Walken. His singing and dancing looks fantastic, by the way — particularly in the new song written by Amanda Green. We also saw a beautiful new song for Wendy about Peter Pan that is sure to break some hearts. Combining acting, singing and dancing with technical elements like light, sound and carpentry is always ambitious.
Tinkerbell, in the Peter Pan stage show, has always been a light and sound cue. There's no actress who plays her. She doesn't have lines. It's just a bell that Pan talks back to from time to time. Remember those Miley Cyrus rumors? They were always unfounded. In this production, she will be like a digital marionette. Her color will change with emotions and the performance has already been designed. We saw a preview during the rehearsal of the tiny digital fairy dancing about the screen behind Wendy, Michael, and John.
This is terrifying to me. What a crazy element to add to a live performance. Acting, dancing, singing, lights, sounds and carpentry is already a lot — then add cameras and this? What if the actors look the wrong way? What if the technology breaks down? Think how far we've come since those penguins in Mary Poppins. I'm already tipping my hat to the person who will be operating Tinkerbell during the show next week.
One thing we won't hear? Wrong notes from the woodwinds and brass. The orchestra will be recorded, which doesn't seem right to me. Why make such a fuss about this being a live show where anything can go wrong if the performers are singing to a track? At least the computer generated Tinkerbell is something new and fresh to add to this classic.
Image: Virginia Sherwood/NBC