NBC continues to staff up for its next live stage extravaganza. Martin Short and Derek Hough are the latest to join Hairspray Live, the musical produced by Universal Television that will air December 7 from Los Angeles.
Short will play Wilbur, the loving husband of Edna Turnblad (Harvey Fierstein), and Hough is set as Corny Collins, the cocky song-and-dance-man who hosts the TV show every teenager in Baltimore wants to be on. Jennifer Hudson was cast this week as 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.
TV veteran Short won a Tony Award for the revival of Little Me and has a pair of Emmys, including one for writing the classic 1980s TV network spoof SCTV. The Saturday Night Live veteran is set to co-star with Maya Rudolph on NBC’s Maya and Marty in Manhattan, which premiere May 31. Hough has won a pair of Emmys for choreography for ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, on which he has appeared for 16 seasons and won a half-dozen times.
Alex Rudzinski and Kenny Leon will direct Hairspray Live, with Craig Zadan and Neil Meron serving as executive producers.