- The Washington Times - Friday, October 28, 2016

Pop star Jennifer Lopez will try her hand at live-audience musical theater with a televised production of “Bye Bye Birdie” in 2017, and apparently it was her idea to begin with.

NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt made the announcement Thursday night during a Paley Center panel.

“She came to us and said, ‘I love this movie, and I’d love to do it,’ ” Mr. Greenblatt said told The Hollywood Reporter.

“Set at the height of rock ‘n’ roll, Bye Bye Birdie takes place in Sweet Apple, Ohio, where hip-thrusting music heartthrob Conrad Birdie is scheduled to give a lucky Sweet Apple lady ‘One Last Kiss’ before being drafted into the Army,” THR explained, noting the “story was inspired by Elvis Presley and his induction into the Army in 1957.”

The character Conrad Birdie is believed to have been patterned after Conway Twitty, a rockabilly musician of the late 1950s who went on to a storied career as a country musician.

Ms. Lopez will play the role of Rosie Alvarez, a secretary who comes up with the “one last kiss” contest. “Bye Bye Birdie” debuted on Broadway in 1960 and was adapted as a movie in 1963, providing a breakout role for 22-year-old Ann-Margret, who played contest winner Kim MacAfee.

Live-action musical productions have becoming a newfound holiday tradition at NBC, stemming from the success of the 2013 production of “The Sound of Music,” starring country singer Carrie Underwood.

This year’s outing, a production of “Hairspray,” will air on NBC on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. Eastern.

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