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After NBC brought back live TV musicals with The Sound of Music, we've seen a variety of networks attempt live musical theater on the small screen. It seems like just about everyone is on this latest trend, and The Good Place's Kristen Bell is no exception. She's bringing the beloved Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods to ABC, but she's not going to getting into costume and belting out the tunes herself. Instead, she's reuniting a cast that performed the musical decades ago... while they were all in high school.
The upcoming TV special is called Encore!, and is being produced and hosted by Kristen Bell. Encore! will reunite the cast of a high school musical production of Into The Woods, and train them all to perform the show again 20 years later. Each cast member will play the same role they did all those years ago, and Bell and other Broadway veterans will train the cast to come together and perform one last time. This follows ABC's last go in the genre with the Dirty Dancing movie.
This is a pretty adorable concept for a TV special, especially as the Holiday season comes along. Many folks travel back to their home towns during the holidays, and let the nostalgia wash over them. Unlike Kristen Bell, not everyone who appeared in their high school's musicals turned out to be professional actors. So Encore! will show real people taking on this task, and navigating their interpersonal relationships after two decades. As is usually the case with ABC's holiday specials, Encore! seems like a sweet family friendly TV experience.
While Kristen Bell is perhaps best known for her TV and film roles, her career began in the theater. She appeared on Broadway twice before landing her big break in Veronica Mars, doing a fair amount of Off-Broadway work as well. She can be seen singing in Showtime's musical TV movie Reefer Madness, and most recently her voice was lent to Anna in Frozen and its upcoming sequel. Bell's experience, as well as her delightfully bonkers personality, make her a great choice to bring Encore! to the small screen. Bell recently spoke to why she's passionate about the upcoming special, saying:
I wanted to produce Encore! to help others re-experience their days on stage and re-discover the distinct bonding that comes with high school theatre. Our show is about converging past dreams with present circumstances, and I hope viewers can laugh and see themselves among the insurance salesman, the pregnant woman and the rest of the classmates as they tackle Sondheim.