Some “Peter Pan” purists are upset that Thursday’s live performance of the children’s classic will feature a “reimagined” version of the character Tiger Lily.
Don’t count National Museum of the American Indian director Kevin Gover among them.
In a statement Wednesday, Gover, who is Pawnee, praised the network for updating the character, a Native American princess rescued by Peter Pan.
“The National Museum of the American Indian commends NBC for taking the initiative and reaching out to Native artists to consult on the production of Peter Pan to ultimately create a new version of Tiger Lily for this generation of Peter Pan fans,” Gover said. “Tiger Lily was an imaginary Indian – she was created decades ago for a storybook. Although a character, and a beloved one at that, she didn’t (and her song didn’t) represent the American Indians of the past nor today. This new interpretation of Tiger Lily is closer to our heritage, our culture and portrays a deeper sensitivity and helps diminish the many stereotypes surrounding Native Americans.”
In addition to updating the character, the producers have cut her original song, “Ugg-a-Wugg,” and replaced it with a new number, according to the New York Post. The new song, “True Blood Brothers,” was written by Amanda Green, the daughter of Adolph Green, who along with Betty Comden crafted most of the show’s songs.
The live production starring Allison Williams as Peter and Christopher Walken as Hook airs on NBC at 8 p.m.