Jennifer Hudson and Harvey Fierstein will headline the cast of Hairspray Live. NBC’s next-in-line live Broadway musical. Also joining the creative team is Grease Live and longtime Dancing With the Stars director Alex Rudzinski. Produced by Universal Television, Hairspray Live will air at 8 PM Wednesday, December 7, from Los Angeles.
Fierstein, who also is writing the teleplay, will play Edna Turnblad, a role he created and won a Tony Award for in the stage version of Hairspray. Fierstein played the character for the show’s first two years of its 2002-09 run at the Neil Simon Theatre on Broadway. Hudson will play Motormouth Maybelle.
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 Link, the resident dreamboat; Amber, the ambitious mean girl; Seaweed, an African-American boy she meets in detention; and his mother, Motormouth Maybelle, 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.
Hudson is completing a run in the acclaimed Broadway revival of The Color Purple. She won an Oscar and Golden Globe in 2007 for her iconic performance as Effie White in Dreamgirls.
In addition to his Tony for Hairspray, Fierstein also nabbed Tonys for La Cage Aux Folles and Torch Song Trilogy and received three more Tony nominations for writing Kinky Boots, Newsies and Casa Valentina. His adaptation of Funny Girl is currently running, along with Kinky Boots, in London.
Hairspray Live will be NBC’s fourth consecutive live musical, following The Sound of Music, Peter Pan and The Wiz. Kenny Leon is stage director, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron serve as executive producers, Jerry Mitchell will serve as choreographer with music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.