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.)
Hannah (Lena Dunham): Wendy, of course—mostly because this will give her and Marnie plenty of opportunities for passive-aggressive sniping. (Marnie Pan: “Ohmygod, I’d loooove to take you back to Never Land with me… but aren’t you, I don’t know, kind of mature for that now? Like obviously it’s up to you, but I just wouldn’t want you to be uncomfortable around the Lost Boys.”)
Jessa (Jemima Kirke): Tiger Lily. While this casting decision is largely hair-based, it’s also not a stretch to imagine Jessa playing a stuck-up princess. Rescuing her from the pirates = springing her out of rehab.
Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet): Normally in this version of Pan, Tinker Bell is played by a flashing light—but who better to bring the part to life than Shosh, who already dresses like she was born inside a hollow tree? Plus, we already know she’s a fan of pixie dust.
Adam (Adam Driver): John Darling, because seeing him and Hannah play brother and sister would be delightfully awkward. And it’d give Adam another opportunity to use his Major Barbara accent. (You know he’d take the show way too seriously, too.)
Ray (Alex Karpovsky): A petulant, surly Smee.
Elijah (Andrew Rannells): Wait, is there any way he could actually play Peter? Maybe they can double cast the part, middle school musical style? (If not, he can be, I don’t know, Michael.)
Booth Jonathan (Jorma Taccone): The racially insensitive Indian chief.
Flo (June Squibb): Nana the dog.