Live musicals on TV are all the rage right now. NBC has gifted us with The Wiz Live! and Hairspray Live!. Fox gave us Grease Live!. And soon, NBC will be blessing us with a live adaptation of Bye Bye Birdie, starring Jennifer Lopez. Except there will be some major changes to the story.
The changes will be progressive and exactly what we need.
Harvey Fierstein has adapted the script for the musical’s 2017 live rendition to be a lot less sexist and way more modern and relatable. The occupations of the two main characters/love interests will no longer be agent and secretary. Instead, they will both be high school teachers.
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Fierstein explained the changes.
Lopez will be playing the role of Rosie, and TBH, we can’t imagine her playing anything other than a strong, progressive woman.
So even though we’re big fans of the original storyline, we’re welcoming the change with open arms.
Fierstein went on to explain more of the new plot.
“[Albert]’s the English teacher who writes a song, and she’s the music teacher who says, ‘I’ve got a great kid with a great voice,’” he said. “He ends up being Conrad Birdie, who’s supposed to only take one summer off to promote the record but turns into a star. It’s been eight years, and Rosie just wants to go back to their real lives. It really makes a lot more sense that way.”
Lopez is making her own changes as well. According to the Hollywood Reporter, she has requested that Rosie’s “struggles as a Puerto Rican woman” while aging and dealing with a dysfunctional relationship be explored in depth, unlike in the 1963 film.
Bye Bye Birdie Live! will premiere in December on NBC.