Peter Pan Live

I’m very curious about the December 4th NBC live production of Peter Pan (with the just-announced Christopher Walken as Captain Hook).  I grew up with the yearly Mary Martin version (first broadcast in 1960) and, as a result, know the songs inside and out. I wonder, will they have Peter played by a woman as is usually the case with this particular version of Barrie’s story? And then there is that very problematic Tiger Lily American Indian story line. How are they going to make that acceptable for audiences today?

If you want a taste of the 1960 Tiger Lily, here she is as played by the very blonde Sondra Lee:





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6 responses to “Peter Pan Live

  1. The Mary Martin Peter Pan was NOT show annually, and that is precisely why it was such a hit! You salivated for it when it finally was back on the air for a showing. i think this version was on perhaps 3 or 4 times , TOPS.
    You can easily look this up.
    All baby boomers eagerly await the live version, we cut our teeth on this show!


  2. Anon

    As a Anishinaabe, I’m absolutely sick of “Peter Pan.” “Song of the South” has vanished because of its racism, but new generations of children sing “What Makes the Red Man Red?” and the “Ugg-a-Wugg” song without a thought to how incredibly offensive and racist they are.


    • I have seen some articles about more recent productions where the numbers were cut. Is the musical still being put on in the original form? I’m shocked and sad, if so. (ETA: Just went to check out the youtube videos for the Rigby production and it looks like they made some changes from the original production. “What Makes the Red Man Red” is in the Disney film, I believe, not this musical.)


    • -The most current Peter Pan i.e. Cathy Rigby Production that A&E broadcast and released on video contained the Ugg- A -Wugg number but it was performed as an amazing rhythmic percussion number with appropriate and stupendous movement and dancing. There was nothing racist about it, and indeed in my NYC public elementary school music classes (composed entirely of minority children -for lack of a better word) it would be a shame to cut such a musically proficient number adored and appreciated by children for its musicality. and tremendous and varied riffs and rhythms. We “played” along on our desks! Trust me, NO ONE, saw this as racist in any way.


      • I looked at some of the youtube clips from this and they seem to have toned down some of the worst of the original production in terms of Tiger Lily and the Indians, but I would urge you to consider discussing this with your students when you show it to them. Have you asked them straight-out why some might think it still racist? I think you would get a great and thoughtful conversation going. I do that in my classroom with problematic texts. Kids are great at grappling with sort of stuff.


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