AfterElton Fantasy Casting: Who should star in Adam Shankman’s remake of “Bye Bye Birdie”?

Out Adam Shankman is one busy Hollywood bigwig, with his hit family comedy Bedtime Stories in theaters, and a couple of eclectic offerings in the works.

Now comes word that he’s developing and producing a big screen remake of the classic musical Bye Bye Birdie. It’s been filmed twice before: in 1963, and a TV version in 1995. The question now is … who should star?

Actually, the real question is "why does Hollywood keep cannibalizing itself?", but since it’s going to happen whether we like it or not, join us after the break for some totally off-the-cuff (and -wall) casting suggestions!

For those unfamiliar with the story, here’s a brief synopsis:

 

A stage favorite for the past half-century, Birdie centers on Conrad Birdie, a popular singer whose character is based loosely on Elvis Presley. He’s about to be shipped off to the army, but as part of a publicity stunt, he agrees to one last encounter with a fan before he goes to war.

 

Depending on how much they’re going to try to "update" the material, here are some fantasy casting picks for the main charcaters. Adam, pay attention!

Cheyenne Jackson

The role of Conrad was played by Jesse Pearson in the 1963 film, and Broadway star Marc Kudisch in the TV remake. It requires someone who can sing, dance, and ooze sex appeal. Who better than out Cheyenne Jackson? I can’t be the only one who’s fantasized about seeing his Birdie.

Miley Cyrus

The role of teenager Kim was played in a star-making performance by Ann-Margrock Ann-Margret in the original and Chynna Phillips in the TV remake. Hold on for one more day! Chynna Phillips? Miley Cyrus is the obvious choice for this role, that way in ten years people can say … "Miley Cyrus?"

Neil Patrick Harris

The pivotal role of bio-chemist/songwriter Albert was played by Penis Van Lesbian Dick Van Dyke (oh c’mon … it’s a classic!) in the original and Jason Alexander in the TV version. Neil Patrick Harris would be perfect for the remake. We know he can play geeky, play slick, and he’s been on Broadway, so he can sing and dance.

Elaine Stritch

The role of Albert’s domineering mother Mae was played by Maureen Stapleton in the original and Tyne Daly in the TV version. I’d love to see Tyne reprise the role again, but if she isn’t available, then I suggest Broadway legend Elaine Stritch (if she’s not too busy greeting customers at Walmart).

Lainie Kazan

The role of Albert’s girlfriend Rosie was played by Chita Rivera on stage, and part of the reason why Mae didn’t approve of the romance was that Rosie was hispanic, so naturally in the first film version Rosie was played by … Janet Leigh. In the TV version she was played by Vanessa Williams, and her performance was really the only redeeming part of the entire production. In the new version, I recommend they go back in time and snatch up a young Lainie Kazan. She’s played just about every ethnicity there is, and she can certainly go toe-to-toe with Elaine, so expect fireworks!

David Hyde Pierce

The role of Kim’s father Harry was played in his own indelible way by Paul Lynde in the original and somehow by George Wendt in the TV version. Another former sitcom star, the out David Hyde Pierce, would be perfect in the role. He can play a tightly-wound fuss-budget, and he won a Tony Award on Broadway, so he can handle anything they give him.

Of course, these are only "suggestions", so Adam can decide for himself which of my picks he wants to keep (and Adam, no credit is necessary). If you were casting the remake, who would be your fantasy picks? Let us know!

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