TV News

NBC's Hairspray Live! Mines Broadway for Its Seaweed and Little Inez

”Hamilton” and ”The Lion King” stars round out the cast of the live musical.

Ephraim Sykes will play Seaweed in Hairspray Live!, airing December 7 on NBC.
Ephraim Sykes will play Seaweed in Hairspray Live!, airing December 7 on NBC.
(© David Gordon)

NBC's Hairspray Live!, airing on December 7 at 8pm ET/PT, tops off its starry cast with two actors coming straight from the Broadway stage. Hamilton's Ephraim Sykes will take on the role of Seaweed — love interest of Penny Pingleton, played by Ariana Grande — while School of Rock star (and former Young Nala of The Lion King) Shahadi Wright Joseph will play Seaweed's talented sister Little Inez. Sykes' other Broadway credits include Motown, Newsies, Memphis, and The Little Mermaid.

Take a look as the pair introduce themselves to their future television audiences:

As previously announced, the cast of Hairspray Live! will also star newcomer Maddie Baillio in the role of Tracy Turnblad, original Broadway Tony winner Harvey Fierstein reprising his performance as Edna, Garrett Clayton (Link Larkin), Ariana Grande (Penny Pingleton), Dove Cameron (Amber Von Tussle), Jennifer Hudson (Motormouth Maybelle), Martin Short (Wilbur Turnblad), Derek Hough (Corny Collins), Kristin Chenoweth (Velma Von Tussle), Sean Hayes (Mr. Pinky), Andrea Martin (Prudy Pingleton), and Rosie O'Donnell (Gym Teacher).

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.