Last December, the hills were alive with the Sound of Music LIVE, and it quickly became one of our favorite things. This year, on December 4th, NBC will whisk viewers off to Neverland with its broadcast of Peter Pan LIVE! We couldn’t be more excited that NBC has started this annual tradition of exposing millions of viewers to to live theater by broadcasting musical theater’s most beloved works. Even more exciting, this particular production has an extra dose of pixie dust for the Camp Broadway community. Camp Broadway alumni, Jason Gotay will appear in the live broadcast as Tootles, one of Peter Pan’s Lost Boys. Jason attended Camp Broadway as a young theater-lover, and went on to perform in Broadway, off-Broadway, and touring productions. His roles include Randall in Bring It On: The Musical and Peter Parker in Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark.
Through his numerous success on Broadway and his busy schedule, Jason has remained a great friend to Camp Broadway, returning as a special guest both at our summer program and Tony Awards Experience. After learning about his latest role, we reached out to interview Jason about what it’s like to prepare for a live television production, and his fond (and classified) Camp Broadway memories.
1. How has your training in musical theater and your work on Broadway prepared you to perform in Peter Pan LIVE?
All of my musical theater experience has been a really important part of Peter Pan LIVE. Even though this is a televised event, we’re doing a live performance of a musical! The creative team feels strongly that the broadcast should still feel theatrical for the viewers at home. Having a musical theater background has been really helpful in this process.
2. This event is a hybrid of live performance and television. What about that excites you?
I love that what we’re doing is almost an experiment of sorts. Nothing like this has ever been done before, with the exception of last year’s The Sound of Music: Live! on NBC. But this year, our producers and creative team are really taking it to another level and have created a more three-dimensional world for the viewers at home. To be bringing live Musical Theater into America’s living rooms is the most exciting part of this process and I can’t wait for everyone to be blown away!
3. What is it like working with cameras in the room? Is anything that you’re finding you have to pay special attention to?
You definitely have to be aware of where the cameras are at all times, which is very new for me, of course. Incorporating the cameras and film crew into the staging/choreography has been a really intricate part of the rehearsal process, which has been a very exciting challenge thus far.
4. Is there a musical movie or musical movie performance that you saw during your childhood that has stuck with you?
Anyone who knew me when I was a kid knew that I had a pretty intense fascination with The Wizard of Oz. Something about the story, the characters, and the world of Oz was really magical to little Jason…and that beautiful score included some of the first songs I loved as a kid. I knew (and can probably still recite) every line and lyric of that movie from start to finish. Maybe one day, I’ll get to do it live…!
5. Do you have any memories about Peter Pan from your childhood? Which version(s) did you watch?
The “Mary Martin version,” as we refer to it, was a huge staple for my family. It was one of the first family-friendly musicals I was introduced to (AFTER The Wizard of Oz, of course).
My grandpa also spent some time as a Broadway usher after he retired and believe it or not, ushered at the Marquis when Peter Pan played there starring Cathy Rigby. I believe I saw that production twice and remember being completely swept away by it! So yes, Peter Pan has always been a huge part of my life!
6. Who were your directors and choreographers at Camp Broadway? Do you remember any show titles that you performed at CB?
I remember performing in Fiddler on the Roof and The Pajama Game! My one-line feature in “Racing with the Clock” will forever be one of the proudest moments of my young life!
7. Can you share a Camp Broadway memory with us? Is there something you learned at Camp Broadway that you still bring to your performances as a professional actor?
I learned SO much at Camp Broadway that I’ll always remember and use as a professional actor…the advice I got from my teachers and special guests during lunch, the master classes with the Broadway artists who came to work with us, the feeling of family and community I learned from the staff and my fellow campers…the list goes on and on. Camp Broadway is a very special place.
I remember a part of our end-of-the-week showcase that used to be known as the “Gypsy Showcase…” where we were given two musicals and had to come up with a hybrid musical theater number involving the plot/music/characters from both shows. We were given The Lion King and The Producers, which was a highly challenging pair, to say the least. Our group decided to change “Springtime for Hitler” to “Springtime for Simba,” and you guessed it: I starred as Simba, decked out in my mom’s animal- printed PJs. I made a complete fool of myself running across the stage dressed as a lion, but the crowd went wild and we had a blast.
This is highly classified information and an extremely embarrassing story. You’re welcome, Camp Broadway…
While organizing some old files at the Camp Broadway offices, we came across this gem written by a young Jason Gotay in 2004. It looks like his Broadway dreams came true!
Remember to tune into NBC on December 4th at 8/7 central to cheer on Jason and the Lost Boys! Tweet along with us during the broadcast using the hashtag #PeterPanLive!
ABOUT PETER PAN LIVE
Live Thursday, Dec. 4 8/7c. Preparing to sprinkle fairy dust across America, NBC presents a bold new LIVE television production of the classic Broadway musical that will gather friends, families and anyone who refuses to ever grow up.
Following in the footsteps of the phenomenally successful The Sound of Music LIVE! – which drew over 18 million viewers – comes this musical masterpiece that tells the beloved story of Peter Pan, the mischievous little boy who ran away to Neverland. Get ready for show-stopping stars, stunning costumes, extravagant sets and delightful music that will have everyone in your home singing along.