Hairspray Live! Discovers Its Tracy Turnblad at an Open Call

NBC has named the leading lady to star in its next live musical.

Harvey Fierstein will reprise his role as Edna Turnblad for Hairspray Live! on NBC.
Harvey Fierstein will reprise his role as Edna Turnblad for Hairspray Live! on NBC.
(© Paul Kolnik)

Hairspray Live! has found its leading lady in Texas native Maddie Baillio, who will take on the role of Tracy Turnblad for the December 7 telecast on NBC.

Baillio, a sophomore at Marymount Manhattan College with no professional credits to her name, was selected from an open casting call attended by nearly 1,000 hopefuls. She recently starred as Dracula in Dracula, the Musical and Winnifred in Once Upon a Mattress, both productions presented by Marymount Manhattan Music Theatre Program. She was also named 2014 Great American Songbook Youth Ambassador and in 2015 performed with Michael Feinstein at the Kennedy Center, the Grand 1894 Opera House, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Birdland Jazz Club.

Baillio joins a starry cast that includes Harvey Fierstein (who will re-create his Tony Award-winning role of Edna Turnblad), Jennifer Hudson (Motormouth Maybelle), Martin Short (Wilbur Turnblad), and Derek Hough (Corny Collins).

Hairspray features a Tony-winning score by Shaiman and 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.