(Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless)

TV Musical Adaptations by Tomatometer

If we’ve learned anything from networks’ recent fixation on televised musicals, high ratings do not always equal standing ovations; in fact, only a handful of musical productions from the past few years received Fresh scores on Rotten Tomato’s Tomatometer: Fox’s Grease: Live! and NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live in ConcertThe Wiz Live!, and Hairspray Live! And no, the exclamation mark doesn’t make a difference — Fox’s A Christmas Story Live! and NBC’s Peter Pan Live! and The Sound of Music Live! are all on the Rotten end of this list.

ABC’s The Little Mermaid Live! continues the downward trend, unfortunately, joining Fox’s Rent below the Fresh threshold.

Check out where The Little Mermaid Live! lands among TV’s recent musicals, both live and taped (like Rocky Horror Picture Show and Dirty Dancing).


Dirty Dancing (2017)

Adjusted Score: 18.169%
Critics Consensus: Clever casting can't save Dirty Dancing, a hollow remake that trips over its own good intentions.
Synopsis: Adaptation of the 1987 box-office smash about an innocent teen vacationing with her parents at an upscale resort in the... [More]
Directed By: Wayne Blair

Adjusted Score: 18.188%
Critics Consensus: A strange hybrid that's more confusing than charming, The Little Mermaid Live! flounders under the weight of its own lofty ambitions.
Synopsis: "The Wonderful World of Disney presents The Little Mermaid Live!" will honor the 30th anniversary of the beloved animated classic... [More]
Directed By: Hamish Hamilton


Rent Live (2019)

Adjusted Score: 27.01%
Critics Consensus: Despite the show's earnest intentions, Rent Live's clumsy production and pre-recorded broadcast render it an underwhelming "live" musical event.
Synopsis: A re-imagining of Puccini's "La Bohème," and set in New York City's gritty East Village, "Rent" tells the unforgettable story... [More]
Directed By: Alex Rudzinski

Adjusted Score: 27.75%
Critics Consensus: Laverne Cox's fabulous portrayal of Frank N. Furter leads a strong ensemble effort, but the stars can't infuse this reimagining with enough energy, creativity, and quirk to make TRHPS: Let's Do the Time Warp Again a worthwhile endeavor.
Synopsis: A reimagining of the cult film that follows a young couple as they end up at a strange convention hosted... [More]
Directed By: Kenny Ortega

Adjusted Score: 27.413%
Critics Consensus: Overlong and perhaps a little too faithful, A Christmas Story Live! can't quite capture the holiday spirit of its source material.
Synopsis: From Warner Horizon Unscripted & Alternative Television, A CHRISTMAS STORY LIVE! is inspired by the holiday classic feature "A Christmas... [More]
Directed By: Alex Rudzinski

Adjusted Score: 30.393%
Critics Consensus: The Sound of Music is definitely there, but without the necessary feeling to make it feel truly alive.
Synopsis: Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer star in the live telecast of a beloved family classic, based on the original Broadway... [More]


Peter Pan Live! (2014)

Adjusted Score: 44.321%
Critics Consensus: Allison Williams and company do their best, but no amount of clapping or pixie dust can keep Peter Pan Live! afloat.
Synopsis: Preparing to sprinkle fairy dust across America, NBC presents a bold new LIVE television production of the classic Broadway musical... [More]
Directed By:


The Passion (2016)

Adjusted Score: 12.804%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Tyler Perry narrates a musical portrait of the last days of Jesus Christ, from the Last Supper to the Resurrection,... [More]
Directed By:


Hairspray Live! (2016)

Adjusted Score: 76.067%
Critics Consensus: Hairspray Live! shimmers with outstanding performances, an engaging story, and songs that let its stars shine.
Synopsis: A teenage girl living in Baltimore in the early 1960s dreams of appearing on a popular TV dance show.... [More]
Directed By: Kenny Leon, Alex Rudzinski


The Wiz Live! (2015)

Adjusted Score: 91.392%
Critics Consensus: The Wiz Live! is several notches above NBC's other musical broadcasts thanks to bold performances and large-scale production pieces.
Synopsis: NBC embarks on its latest musical holiday tradition: a 3-hour LIVE event production of the groundbreaking Broadway show that brought... [More]


Grease: Live! (2016)

Adjusted Score: 92.536%
Critics Consensus: Grease: Live took the pressure and threw away conventionality -- it belongs to yesterday. There was a chance that it could make it so far; we started believin' we can be who we are. Grease: Live is the word.
Synopsis: The first-ever live television production of "Grease" will re-imagine and reintroduce some of the most memorable moments, great music and... [More]

Adjusted Score: 100.243%
Critics Consensus: Shaking up traditional religious and musical iconography, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert is a sight to be heard, superbly infiltrating the classic source material with originality, rock legend star power, and soulful depth.

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