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 play 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 program. When, against all odds, Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight and meets a colorful array of characters, including the resident dreamboat, Link; the ambitious mean girl, Amber; an African-American boy she meets in detention, Seaweed; and his mother, Motormouth Maybelle, the owner of a local record store. Tracy’s mother is the indomitable Edna Turnblad, and she eventually encourages Tracy on her campaign to integrate the all-white “Corny Collins Show.”
“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 director, joining stage director Kenny Leon (“The Wiz Live!”). Craig Zadan and Neil 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!” will air Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT and will originate from Los Angeles.—Variety.com
The original “Hairspray” (1988) was a weird little movie made by cult director John Waters about rock and roll and race relations in 1960s Baltimore. Then it became a smash musical on Broadway, then a 2007 film adaptation of that Broadway hit. Now, the show is coming to Jerusalem, with a community theater production featuring 32 Anglo-Israeli and Ethiopian-Israeli singers, dancers and actors who share the stage and the spotlight.
Hairspray’s local-girl-makes-good story was groundbreaking enough because of its main character, Tracy Turnblad, a non-willowy, self-confident dynamo who won’t be discouraged just because she looks like the real girl next door. But the narrative pushes two additional buttons as well: race relations — an issue which defined Baltimore in the 1960s, as integration swept through a still-adjusting nation — and women’s empowerment, which enables self-effacing housewife Edna Turnblad to reclaim her zest for life, and to transform herself into a civil rights activist her daughter can look up to.
With empowerment, freedom, confidence and racial equality as its thematic DNA, the production hits Jerusalem for six shows between March 5 and 21.
“Hairspray is almost more relevant here than it ever was in the States, since it was written at a time when segregation and institutionalized racism were mostly things of the past in America,” Director Eli Kaplan-Wildmann explained. “Our cast is made up of people who face these issues today in their own lives, and we hope to bring an awareness of that to Jerusalem.”
The “Steven Dann” doesn’t exactly have the same ring as the Ed Sullivan or Brooks Atkinson. But it’s where you can now catch once-hot thespian Nikki Blonsky.
An “upscale” Long Island shoe store, Steven Dann is where the former “Hairspray” star has been working the floor since last week, according to the NY Daily News.
The 22-year-old actress’s career has taken a downturn lately with the cancellation of her ABC Family series “Huge,” so she’s had to “swallow her pride” and take a job at the boutique in her hometown of Great Neck, N.Y., the News says.
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