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NBC’s Hairspray Live is adding to its impressive cast.
Producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan announced Tuesday at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour that they have recruited Sean Hayes and Rosie O’Donnell to the December production.
Based on the 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; and an African-American boy, Seaweed, in detention. Tracy soon begins on a quest to integrate the dance show.
Hayes (who has an overall deal with Universal Television and executive produces NBC’s Grimm and Hollywood Game Night) will play Mr. Pinky, the owner of Hefty Hideaway, an integrated women’s clothing boutique. O’Donnell will play the gym teacher.
The Hairspray Live cast includes Derek Hough as Corny Collins; Ariana Grande as Penny; newcomer Maddie Baillio as Tracy; Tony winner Harvey Fierstein as Edna; Jennifer Hudson as Motormouth Maybelle; Martin Short as Wilbur; Kristin Chenoweth as Velma Von Tussle; Dove Cameron as Amber; and Garrett Clayton as Link.
Like all of NBC’s live musicals, Hairspray Live is exec produced by Meron and Zadan with Kenny Leon attached to stage direct and Alex Rudzinski also on board as the live TV director. The production will be staged on the Universal backlot — similar in fashion to what Fox did for its Grease Live.
Asked if there was any musical that Meron and Zadan would not want to tackle for NBC, Zadan deadpanned, “Oh! Calcutta!” — the musical which centers on sex-related topics.
Said Meron: “They’re very family-oriented. There are certain musicals that wouldn’t work in this context right before Christmas. All of them are part of the family-oriented subject matter.”
The casting reunites Hayes with Zadan and Meron, who executive produced NBC’s Broadway drama Smash, in which the Will and Grace alum had a recurring role.
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