Actress Allison Williams is the new Peter Pan. - AFP
As the lyrics go, Peter Pan is the boy who won’t grow up, won’t wear a tie and is never, ever gonna be a man. The stage musical version of JM Barrie’s story has traditionally made Peter’s refusal literal by casting a grown woman in drag to play theatre’s most famous obstinate boy. When embodied by a woman, many of whom have been middle-aged, Peter speaks the truth when he refuses to grow a moustache or a fraction of an inch.
NBC announced that its live broadcast of Peter Pan will star Allison Williams, a young actress whose short career has so far included a role in the HBO series Girls. She also happens to be the daughter of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams. The live broadcast is scheduled for Dec 4, and will star the previously announced Christopher Walken as Captain Hook.
Williams will follow in the cross-dressing footsteps of Mary Martin, Sandy Duncan and Cathy Rigby – all of whom have played Peter on Broadway. Martin also starred in a televised version of the musical that aired on NBC in 1960 and later became a TV classic.
Even non-musical stage versions of the Peter Pan story have cast women in the title role. Some past Broadway productions have starred Eva Le Gallienne, Jean Arthur and Maude Adams as the bratty, airborne protagonist. – Los Angeles Times/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services