Ariana Grande Joins ‘Hairspray Live!’

Ariana Grande in White Boots
Ariana Grande (Photo by Republic Records)

Singer and actress Ariana Grande (Scream Queens) has joined the cast of NBC’s musical event, Hairspray Live!. According to the network, Grande will play Penny Pingleton, Tracy Turnblad’s best friend. Grande joins a cast that includes Maddie Baillio as Tracy Turnblad, Harvey Fierstein as Edna Turnblad, Kristin Chenoweth as Velma Von Tussle, Martin Short as Wilbur Turnblad, Jennifer Hudson as Motormouth Maybelle, and Derek Hough as Corny Collins.

The live musical is set to air on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 8pm ET (tape delayed on the West Coast). Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will executive produce. Hairspray Live! will be directed by Alex Rudzinski and Kenny Leon (The Wiz Live!), with Harvey Fierstein writing the script and Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots) choreographing.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to round out our all-star Hairspray Live! cast with Ariana Grande, one of the biggest recording artists in the world,” stated Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “She’s also a Broadway baby at heart, having debuted on Broadway when she was 15, and will be fantastic in the delightful role of Penny Pingleton. We look forward to her millions of fans seeing yet another side to this multifaceted performer and we welcome her to this incredible ensemble of artists.”

The Plot: 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.