NBC's 'Hairspray Live!' Finds Its Star

The newcomer will play the lead role of Tracy Turnblad in the network's next live musical.
Virginia Sherwood/NBC
Maddie Baillio

Hairspray Live! has found its Tracy Turnblad.

Newcomer Maddie Baillio will play the role in NBC's next live musical, the network announced Tuesday. The League City, Texas, native nabbed the lead upon participating in an open casting call alongside nearly 1,000 other hopefuls.

Baillio joins a star-studded cast, including Martin Short, Derek Hough, Harvey Fierstein and Jennifer Hudson.

Based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Hairspray Live! takes place in 1962 Baltimore. Teenager Tracy Turnblad’s dream is to dance on The Corny Collins Show, a local TV program, so when she wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight and meets a colorful array of characters, including the resident dreamboat, Link; the ambitious mean girl, Amber; an African-American boy, Seaweed, in detention; and Seaweed's mother, Motormouth Maybelle, the owner of a local record store. Tracy’s mother is the indomitable Edna Turnblad, and she eventually encourages Tracy on her campaign to integrate the all-white Corny Collins Show.

Fierstein also is writing the teleplay for the production, which hails from executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. The duo have been behind the past three live musical productions on NBC — The Sound of Music, Peter Pan and The Wiz, which produced impressive ratings for the network in December. Zadan and Meron will be joined by The Wiz Live! director Kenny Leon, live television director Alex Rudzinski and choreographer Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots). 

Hairspray Live! is set to air Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. ET and marks the first time the live telecast will be filmed in Los Angeles.

Watch Baillio learn of her new gig in the video below.

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