This past week Variety reported that actress/singer Ariana Grande had been cast in the upcoming live NBC musical special of Hairspray.
Grande, whom is no stranger to acting, has landed the role of Penny Pingleton. Penny is protagonist Tracy Turnblad’s best friend. Previously starring on Nickelodeon’s Sam and Cat, Grande is familiar with performing for a camera. Having toured the world as a pop sensation, she is also capable of singing to an audience.
Other cast members that Grande will be joining for the musical include Kristin Chenoweth, Jennifer Hudson, Martin Short, Harvey Fierstein, Derek Hough and newcomer Maddie Baillio as Tracy Turnblad.
When speaking of Grande being added to the show, NBC’s Chairman Robert Greenblatt had this to say,
“We’re absolutely thrilled to round out our all-star ‘Hairspray Live!’ cast with Ariana Grande, one of the biggest recording artists in the world. She’s also a Broadway baby at heart, having debuted on Broadway when she was 15, and will be fantastic in the delightful role of Penny Pingleton. We look forward to her millions of fans seeing yet another side to this multifaceted performer and we welcome her to this incredible ensemble of artists.”
The NBC live musical special is based off of the Broadway musical that was originally based off of the John Waters 1988 film. Hairspray centers around a young, overweight Tracy Turnblad who wants to follow her dream of dancing on a popular dance show. During auditions she beats out Amber von Tussle and in the process wins over Amber’s boyfriend. After Tracy meets some black students who can dance, she pushes for more integration on the dance show which stirs up race and equality issues on different sides.
Hairspray Live will be executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, with Alex Rudzinski and Kenny Leon to direct the show. With the help of Tony award winner Jerry Mitchell as choreographer, Fierstein is in charge of writing a new teleplay for NBC. Tony award winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman are in charge of music and lyrics for the musical.
You can catch Ariana Grande and the rest of the cast during NBC’s Hairspray Live sometime this December.
What do you think, are live musicals on TV still good?
Let us know in the comments.