Kristin Chenoweth is the latest big name to join the star-studded cast of Hairspray Live!, this year’s festive season TV show from US broadcaster NBC.
The Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress who was the original Glinda in Wicked on Broadway, will play the manipulative Velma Von Tussle in the three-hour live broadcast on 7 December this year.
Commenting on the show’s latest casting coup, NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said: “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.
“Everything she does is incredible, going back to the iconic Glinda in Wicked, and there’s no one better to play Velma Von Tussle. Each year we find that more and more of the top talent in our business wants to experience the once-in-a-lifetime thrill of these live musicals, and the bigger the roster of stars, the better the event. This one is shaping up to be one of our best!”
Chenoweth joins a line-up that includes Harvey Fierstein who will re-create his Tony Award-winning performance as Edna Turnblad with Dreamgirls Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson stepping into the role of Motormouth Maybelle.
Comedy star Martin Short will play Wilbur Turnblad while Dancing With the Stars stalwart turned actor Derek Hough will play Corny Collins.
NBC has also revealed the identity of their Tracy Turnblad, newcomer Maddie Baillio. The 20-year-old Texan student with no professional theatre experience won the coveted role after thousands of hopefuls responded to NBC’s open casting call.
Now a fixture of the pre-Christmas schedules, NBC’s live broadcasts of major Broadway shows began in 2013 with a production of The Sound of Music featuring multi award-winning country star Carrie Underwood. The shows (Peter Pan with Christopher Walken and The Wiz with Queen Latifah) are usually heavily promoted and have proved to be hits in the ratings.
Hairspray Live! will be directed Kenny Leon with Alex Rudzinski as live director and choreography by Hairspray’s original choreographer Jerry Mitchell.