If you were a fan of “The Wiz Live” or “Grease Live,” you may be excited to hear that someone from each musical ( TV director Alex Rudzinski from “Grease Live” and stage director Kenny Leon from “The Wiz Live”) have joined together to assist in the production of “Hairspray Live,” a musical that will air on NBC. The casting process has already begun and it’s officially been announced that “American Idol” star Jennifer Hudson will play the role of Motormouth Maybelle, while Tony-award winner Harvey Fierstein will return on stage as the character he played in the original Broadway play, Edna Turnblad.
“We are beyond thrilled with this incredibly talented duo of stars for ‘Hairspray Live!’” Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, said in a statement. “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,” Greenblatt continued. “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.”
Based on the Tony award-winning Broadway play, the story takes place in the city of Baltimore, Maryland in the year of 1962. Tracy Turnblad, a plus sized teenager with a dream to dance on “The Corny Collins Show,” finally gets her chance when she wins a role on the show. With the help of her mother, Edna Turnblad, she starts a campaign to integrate the all-white television program. Other important characters include Amber, a mean girl who happens to already dance on the show, Seaweed, an African American boy she meets in detention and his mother, Motormouth Maybelle, who owns a record store.
To many, Jennifer Hudson can be considered a pro at live performances. Aside from being a singer, she is currently in the cast of the Broadway musical, The Color Purple. Coupling her experience with that of Fierstein’s, the man whose performance in the same role was worthy of a Tony, seems to be a match made in heaven. Expectations are certainly at an all-time high.
“Hairspray Live!” is set to air Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
Written By: Sweenie Saint-Vil