Much of the original stage production’s creative team will return for NBC’s live televised special.
Along with previously announced exec producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, Kenny Leon, who most recently directed “The Wiz Live” for the network, has been tapped to direct. Original “Hairspray” choreographer Jerry Mitchell is on board to choreograph, and Harvey Fierstein, who played the role of Edna in the stage musical, will write the script adaptation. Original “Hairspray” songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman are also back for NBC’s next TV musical.
“Hairspray Live” marks the fourth television musical event for NBC, coming after this past December’s “The Wiz Live,” which followed the net’s first special “Sound of Music Live” in 2013 and then “Peter Pan Live” in 2014. Fox recently got into the game with “Grease Live” this January.
“In keeping with our desire to bring the best of Broadway to our live musicals, we’ve assembled the Broadway dream team of Tony Award winners for ‘Hairspray Live,’” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment. “We’re thrilled to have director Kenny Leon, who knocked ‘The Wiz Live’ way out of the park, and Jerry Mitchell, the original choreographer of ‘Hairspray’ and who is the director of two smash hit musicals running on Broadway right now.”
Greenblatt added, “We also have one of the most celebrated Broadway hyphenates, Harvey Fierstein, back writing the adaptation for TV. No one knows ‘Hairspray’ better than him since he played the role of Edna Turnblad more than a thousand times and won the Tony Award for best actor in a musical. Along with our incredible producing team of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, and arguably the best songwriting team in musicals, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, ‘Hairspray Live’ is in the best possible hands.”
“Hairspray Live” is based on John Waters’ original 1988 film, starring Ricki Lake, and subsequent musical stage production, which ran on Broadway from 2002 until 2009. In 2007, a “Hairspray” movie based on the musical hit theaters (pictured), starring Nikki Blonsky, John Travolta, Zac Efron, Amanda Bynes and Queen Latifah.
The cast for “Hairspray Live” will be announced at a later date.