Broadway and TV veteran Kristin Chenoweth has joined the cast of Hairspray Live, NBC’s live musical produced by Universal Television that will air December 7 from Los Angeles. She will play Velma Von Tussle, the self-promoting and manipulative producer of The Corny Collins Show who will stop at nothing to make her daughter, Amber, the star that Velma never was. Her biggest foe is Tracy Turnblad (Maddie Baillio), and she’ll do everything in her power to prevent the integration of the dance show that Tracy wants so much.
Chenoweth joins a cast that includes Harvey Fierstein, Jennifer Hudson, Martin Short and Derek Hough. The actress is reteaming with NBC Live executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron for the fourth time, having worked with them on the TV movie musical Annie and The Music Man and the 2010 Broadway revival of Promises, Promises. She starred in the original Main Stem cast of Wicked, playing Glinda the Good Witch, and her recent credits also include TV’s The Muppets, Glee and GCB, along with voice roles in BoJack Horseman, American Dad, Rio 2 and the upcoming My Little Pony: The Movie.
Earlier she co-starred on Pushing Daisies and The West Wing.
“We are so excited and fortunate that Kristin — one of the best musical performers in the world — wants to come and play with us on Hairspray,” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment. “Everything she does is incredible, going back to the iconic Glinda in Wicked, and there’s no one better to play Velma Von Tussle.”
Hairspray Live! takes place in 1962 Baltimore. Teenager Tracy Turnblad’s dream is to dance on The Corny Collins Show. When she 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.