TV News

Ariana Grande Joins Hairspray Live! Cast

Grande will star alongside Harvey Fierstein and Kristin Chenoweth.

Ariana Grande will play Penny in NBC's Hairspray Live!
Ariana Grande will play Penny in NBC's Hairspray Live!
(© Tristan Fuge)

Broadway vet and music sensation Ariana Grande is the latest star to join the cast of NBC's Hairspray Live! broadcast on December 7. Grande, who made her stage debut in Jason Robert Brown's musical 13, will take on the role of Penny Pingleton, she confirmed via her Twitter account.

Grande joins a company led by original Broadway Hairspray leading man Harvey Fierstein, who reprises his Tony-winning performance as Edna Turnblad, and newcomer Maddie Baillio, who takes on the role of Tracy Turnblad. The cast also includes Jennifer Hudson (Motormouth Maybelle), Martin Short (Wilbur Turnblad), Derek Hough (Corny Collins), and Kristin Chenoweth (Velma Von Tussle).

Hairspray features a Tony-winning score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and a Tony-winning book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan. Based on the film by John Waters, it tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, an overweight Baltimore teen with dreams of landing a spot on a TV dance show and bringing racial integration with her.

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who produced the 2007 movie-musical version of Hairspray, will produce the live television edition. The Wiz Live! director Kenny Leon will take the helm, with Alex Rudzinski (Grease Live) directing for television. Jerry Mitchell will repeat his duties from the Broadway mounting as choreographer. Original Hairspray composer-lyricists Shaiman and Wittman are also on the team for the live work.