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In Defense of Allison Williams as Peter Pan

Let me start by admitting something that I’m not proud of.

When I first learned that Allison Williams had been cast as Peter Pan in NBC’s Peter Pan Live, I was gleeful. I absolutely could not wait to sit down in front of the television—with a platter of sad tacos—and savor the schadenfreude of seeing Marnie from Girls unleash her theater-geekdom on national television. And apparently, I’m not alone. Not everyone is happy about this news. Some have blamed the casting on nepotism. Critics like to suggest that Williams and other Girls stars are only successful because of their celebrity parents. (Williams’ dad is NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, though I’d challenge anyone to explain exactly how having visual artists for parents has helped Lena Dunham.) So the idea that Daddy might’ve sprinkled some pixie dust on the casting directors until they planted that feather in Allison’s little green hat won’t do anything to silence that argument.

Others claim that Williams’ voice is strained, judging by her many awkward performances on Girls. (I couldn’t find YouTube links to her versions of “Take Me Or Leave Me” or “Building a Mystery,” but they’re out there somewhere.) Williams, though, claims that these scenes were just good acting. “I made the choice pretty early on, just in terms of maintaining my own sanity, to not try to make Marnie a very studied, exacting singer. Or trained, really,” she told EW earlier this year. “And I’m someone who took voice lessons for many, many years, so in making that decision, it sort of took the pressure off of me to sing perfectly.”

You don’t have to believe her, but I do. It’s obvious that she’s capable of singing beautifully when she wants to. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I started to question my own knee-jerk reaction. First of all, the casting is kind of genius. Williams is best known for a show about young people who won’t grow up. Marnie and her friends are so obviously the Peter Pans of their own private Hipsturbia that they even wear actual Peter Pan collars sometimes. Also, Pan plays with gender roles in a way similar to Girls. HBO’s comedy shows that women can be just as stunted as the man-children in Judd Apatow’s movies. But in J.M. Barrie’s original book, Peter Pan, Or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, it’s only the guys who get to act like kids forever: The Lost Boys even demand that Wendy act like their mother, tucking them into bed at night. So it feels appropriate that a Girls star is the one following in the musical’s tradition of casting a woman to play Pan.

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Let's cast everyone from 'Girls' in NBC's 'Peter Pan'

That collective “whaaaaa?!” you heard around 9:40 a.m. this morning was the sound of the internet learning that NBC had cast Girls star Allison Williams as the title role in its upcoming production of Peter Pan Live.

On its surface, the decision seems, well, kind of bizarre. Think about it for a minute, though, and you may get where NBC is coming from: Williams is a practiced, experienced singer, and she’s also long harbored dreams of voicing a Disney character someday. (This Pan musical is different from Disney’s animated take, but it’s just as much of a family-friendly classic.) She’s also got the wide-eyed, gamine quality of a young Mary Martin or Cathy Rigby, the two actresses who have most famously played this version of Pan in the past.

That said: For anyone who watches Girls, it’s going to be pretty tough to get over the cognitive dissonance of watching judgmental, aimless Marnie flitting around in tights, belting about how she’s gotta crow. Which is why we should take this opportunity to imagine an even weirder parallel universe in which a) the characters on Girls are real and b) they’ve all been cast in a live TV production of Peter Pan. Here’s who’d be playing who. (Since he joined the production before Williams did, this cast list assumes that Christopher Walken is still on board as Captain Hook—even though I’m sure we’re all yearning to see Brian Williams take over the part now.) READ FULL STORY

How do you really feel about those Tinker Bell rumors, Miley Cyrus?

Miley Cyrus really doesn’t want to play Tinker Bell. In fact, her lack of desire for the part is so strong that before sprinkling pixie dust around on a stage, she’d rather choke on her own famous tongue. Dramatic? Just a bit.

A tabloid recently published a blurb saying that the star is “going for her dream role” as “Tinker Bell in a live broadcast of Peter Pan,” NBC’s planned follow-up to 2013’s incredibly successful The Sound of Music Live. A “friend” of Miley elaborated to the magazine, saying, “With her short haircut, she does resemble Tinker Bell! She could nab this role.” Oh, so that’s how casting is decided. By haircuts.

Unfortunately, Cyrus as Tink is about as likely as Justin Bieber playing Captain Hook. First of all, the musical’s version of Tinker Bell is played by a tiny flashing light rather than an actual person. And secondly, the pop star herself has no intention of strapping on fairy wings anytime soon:

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