Who Should Join Jennifer Lopez in Bye Bye Birdie Live!?


So, a little birdie told me about the cast of NBC’s next live musical.

Not really. BUT to get everyone as excited as I am becoming for next week’s Hairspray Live!, I’ve decided to share who I want to take the stage with J. Lo in next year’s adaptation of the Tony-winning 1960 classic.

Lopez will tackle the famously fiery role of Rose “Rosie” Alvarez. While I was initially skeptical of the show selection, I knew that casting a universally popular triple threat like Jennifer Lopez in a role like this one was a no brainer.

In the show, Rosie yearns for a simpler life with her sweetheart, music agent Albert Peterson.  Still, when Albert’s megastar client Conrad Birdie is drafted, Rosie devises a brilliant publicity stunt of Kardashian proportions. Before he leaves for the war, they will choose one lucky member of Birdie’s fan club to share one last kiss with him on The Ed Sullivan Show. Of course, things get hilariously complicated along the way. Teenage contest winner Kim MacAfee’s jealous boyfriend and loony dad work to spoil the big moment with her American idol. Albert’s racist mother Mae calls Rosie everything in the book short of “bad hombre”. Bad boy Birdie is even arrested at one point. At the end of it all, Rosie is given a chance at happily ever after with Albert. It’s corny and cheesy but also delicious and heartwarming.

As you can see, this musical has everything. All it needs is a great cast. So, without further ado…

Justin Timberlake as Albert Peterson

Cast member Justin Timberlake poses during a photocall for the film 'Inside Llewyn Davis' at the 66th Cannes Film Festival

Why not double down on the pop star quotient by casting JT alongside J. Lo? He’s already won a few Emmy’s for other live musical moments on NBC. Dick In A Box” is probably as far from Bye Bye Birdie as you can get, but he showed recently with Trolls that he can bring sexy back for the whole family.

Nick Jonas as Conrad Birdie


No disrespect to Garrett Clayton who appears to have been created in the same gay lab from the same sexy DNA that spawned Zac Efron, but the also gorgeous Jonas should totally have been Link Larkin in Hairspray Live!. This will definitely right that wrong since the roles of Conrad and Link are so similar.

Jane Lynch as Mae Peterson


Lynch steals the show in literally everything she’s in, which makes her well suited to play this very un-PC wise cracking matriarch. When she took over the role of Ms. Hannigan in the most recent Annie revival, she proved that she has a way better voice than the autotune-happy music producers on Glee  gave her credit for.

Ariana Grande as Kim MacAfee


Ann-Margret, eat your heart out! We all know Ariana’s performance in Hairspray Live! is going to leave us wanting more. And what more could we ask for than seeing Ari duet with Jenny from the Block?!

James Corden as Mr. MacAfee


James Corden is EVERYWHERE nowadays because he’s incredibly delightful and generally amazing. The Tony and Emmy winner has talked about his desire to return to the stage and how his TV career has put that on hold. This could be an opportunity to scratch those itches simultaneously in one of musical theatre’s most comedically rich roles.

Yara Shahidi & Marcus Scribner as Ursula Merkle & Hugo Peabody


I don’t know about the vocal chops of these Black-ish siblings, but anyone who watches that show knows they’re both absolutely hilarious. Scribner’s goofy awkwardness and Shahidi’s mean-girl-with-a-heart-of-gold attitude are perfect to bring Kim’s boyfriend and best friend (respectively) to life.

Seth Meyers as Ed Sullivan


Jimmy Fallon might have the better late night talk show time slot on NBC, but Meyers holds the trump card of NOT demeaning his show and audience by playfully tousling the hair of a certain lying, egotistical, hypocritical bigot on air. Seth also nailed it on Weekend Update for eons so this should be a cinch.

Chita Rivera & Dick Van Dyke as Awesome Cameos #1 & #2


Let’s show some respect for the OG Rosie and Albert! Of course, those are just two of the many iconic roles these living (and still working) legends are known for. I don’t need Chita and Dick to have full fledged characters in the broadcast just something that provides an opportunity for some entrance applause.

Do you agree with my casting choices? Do you wish NBC had chosen a different live musical all together? Personally, I’m still tirelessly campaigning for Grey Gardens Live!. But I admit it’s probably a long shot. Anyway, whatever your opinion, let me know!

Hairspray Live! stars Harvey Fierstein, Jennifer Hudson, Kristin Chenoweth, Ariana Grande, Garrett Clayton, and tons of other fancy people. Check it out next Wednesday December 7th on NBC.


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