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Hairspray Live! has found its stars.
Jennifer Hudson and Harvey Fierstein have joined NBC’s live musical event. Hudson will play Motormouth Maybelle and Fierstein, who is also writing the teleplay, will play Edna Turnblad, a role he created and won a Tony Award for the stage version of Hairspray.
The musical marks the fourth live production for executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, following Sound of Music, Peter Pan and The Wiz. The television event will also reunite Hudson with Zadan and Meron, who collaborated on NBC’s Smash together. Also joining the creative team is director Alex Rudzinski, who most recently worked on Fox’s Grease Live!
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 she meets in detention, Seaweed; and his 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.”
“We are beyond thrilled with this incredibly talented duo of stars for ‘Hairspray Live!,’” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment. “Harvey Fierstein created the role of Edna Turnblad on Broadway in an indelible Tony-winning performance that demanded to be memorialized on film, and we’re happy he wanted to step into her shoes one last, unforgettable time. We’re also so grateful that the incomparable Jennifer Hudson will play Motormouth Maybelle and we know her rendition of ‘I Know Where I’ve Been’ will literally stop the show.”
Filmed in Los Angeles, Hairspray Live! will air Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m.
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