Jennifer Hudson and Harvey Fierstein have signed on to NBC’s “Hairspray Live!,” the network’s next live Broadway musical.
Hudson will play Motormouth Maybelle, while Fierstein will star as Edna Turnblad, the role he won a Tony for in the stage version. He will also write the teleplay.
“We are beyond thrilled with this incredibly talented duo of stars for ‘Hairspray Live!,’” said NBC entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt. “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. 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 musical, “Hairspray Live!” takes place in 1962 Baltimore. Teenager Tracy Turnblad’s dream is to dance on “The Corny Collins Show,” a local TV show, and she launches a campaign to integrate it. The cast includes: Tracy’s mother, the indomitable Edna Turnblad; the resident dreamboat, Link; the ambitious mean girl, Amber; an African-American boy, Seaweed; and his mother, Motormouth Maybelle.
Hudson is now starring on Broadway in a revival of “The Color Purple.” “Hairspray Live!” reunites Hudson with executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who worked with her on NBC’s “Smash.”
Alex Rudzinski, who directed Fox’s hugely successful “Grease Live!” will serve as the live director, joining director Kenny Leon (“The Wiz Live!”). Zadan and Meron (the upcoming “A Few Good Men Live!”) serve as executive producers of “Hairspray Live!” Jerry Mitchell (“Kinky Boots,” “On Your Feet”) will serve as choreographer for the live production, with music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (“Smash” and Broadway’s upcoming “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”).
“Hairspray Live!,” which is produced by Universal Television, will air Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.