Jennifer Hudson and Harvey Fierstein will headline the cast of NBC’s “Hairspray Live!,” the network’s next live Broadway musical holiday event following the phenomenal success of “The Wiz Live!”
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 in the stage version of “Hairspray.”
Also joining the creative team will be director Alex Rudzinski, who received extraordinary reviews for his television direction of “Grease Live!” Rudzinski was also the TV director for “Dancing With the Stars” from 2005-14.
“We are beyond thrilled with this incredibly talented duo of stars for ‘Hairspray Live!,’” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, 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.”
“Hairspray Live!” reunites Hudson with executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who worked with her previously on NBC’s “Smash” and the 85th and 87th Oscar telecasts, which they also produced.
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. When, against all odds, Tracy 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.”
Television director Alex Rudzinski will join stage director Kenny Leon (“The Wiz Live!”). Craig Zadan and Neil Meron serve as executive producers of “Hairspray Live!” Harvey Fierstein will provide a new teleplay and Jerry Mitchell (“Kinky Boots,” “On Your Feet”) will serve as choreographer for the live production, with music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (“Smash” and Broadway’s upcoming “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”).
“Hairspray Live!” will air Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT and will originate from Los Angeles.
“Hairspray Live!” is produced by Universal Television.