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Rosie O’Donnell, Sean Hayes Join ‘Hairspray Live’ Cast

Sean Hayes and Rosie O’Donnell have joined the cast of NBC’s “Hairspray Live,” The cast additions were announced by executive producer Craig Zadan Tuesday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.

Hayes will play the role of Mr. Pinky, while O’Donnell will play the role of the gym teacher. The actors join a cast that also includes Jennifer Hudson, Harvey Fierstein, Kristin Chenoweth, Ariana Grande, Martin Short and newcomer Maddie Baillio.

Introducing the cast and creative team at press tour, NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt revealed that “Hairspray Live” will be shot on the backlot at Universal — a departure for NBC, which has shot its three most recent live musicals on a soundstage in New York. Fox’s “Grease Live” earlier this year earned critical raves for its use of the outdoor space on the Paramount lot.

“It’s definitely one of the more major elements of the space,” said Alex Rudzinski, the show’s live director, who also worked on “Grease Live” for Fox. “What I can say is that ‘Hairspray’ is going to be using a bigger area than we did on ‘Grease.'”

Kenny Leon, the director of “Hairspray Live” also directed “The Wiz Live” for NBC.

“We are organically going outside when the text calls for us to go outside,” Leon said.

“Hairspray Live” is based on the Broadway musical, which is based on the 1988 feature film by director John Waters. It tells the story of a teenager, Turnblad, who integrates a local Baltimore television dance show in 1962.

Scheduled to air in December, the NBC musical is executive produced by  Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. Alex Rudzinski and Kenny Leon are set to direct. Fierstein is writing a new teleplay for the NBC production, with Tony winner Jerry Mitchell serving as choreographer and music and lyrics by Tony winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.

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