Hairspray Live has found its leading lady.
Newcomer Maddie Baillio has been cast in the star role of Tracy Turnblad on NBC’s Hairspray Live. Baillio appeared this morning on Today with Harvey Feirstein where the announcement was made.
“I am so excited,” said Baillio. “To think that I was cramming for my finals two weeks ago and now I get to perform with my idol and I’m just meeting Harvey for the first time.”
The adaptation is being written by Feirstein who won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Edna Turnblad in the original 2002 Broadway production. When asked what insight he had for the young actress, Feirstein admitted he had yet to finish the script. “I’m still writing it. I wrote The Wiz last year and they asked me to write Hairspray this year and so I’m working on the script.”
The 20-year-old actress and singer from League City, TX and is currently a sophomore at Marymount Manhattan College. She told People Magazine playing Tracy Turnblad has been a dream of hers since she first saw the musical when she was seven-years-old. However, the decision to attend the open curtain call was last minute and she admitted to deciding to audition at 3 a.m. the night before.
But that last minute decision landed her the role of a lifetime. Over 1000 young ladies auditioned for the role, and in April the production even opened up the auditions to include video submissions.
Baillio learned she had been cast as Tracy when she was called in to “read a new script,” but the envelope she was given was a letter informing the aspiring actress she had landed the role.
Her first reaction was to call her mom.
Baillio’s theater credits include participating in Dracula the Musical and Once Upon a Mattress through the York Theatre Company’s musical theater training program.
Joining Baillio in the cast are Feirstein as Edna Turnblad, Jennifer Hudson as Motormouth Maybelle, Martin Short as Wilbur Turnblad, and Derek Hough as Corny Collins.
Hairspray Live will mark NBC’s fourth live musical. Previous productions include The Sound of Music, Peter Pan, and The Wiz.
Hairspray Live will air on December 7, 2016.