‘Hairspray Live!’ Adds Darren Criss as Behind-the-Scenes Host

Hairspray Live Darren Criss
Darren Criss (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

Glee‘s Darren Criss will be taking viewers behind the scenes of NBC’s Hairspray Live! when it airs live on December 7, 2016 at 8pm ET (tape delayed on the West Coast). Criss will be the backstage host during the three-hour production, allowing viewers an opportunity to watch what’s going on with the cast and crew off-stage. According to the network, Criss will appear several times during the musical event and will also host a special multi-camera production streaming on Facebook Live.

Per the official announcement, those checking out Hairspray Live! on Facebook Live will be treated to “35 unique camera angles of what’s happening behind the scenes of the big broadcast as it happens, special access to the cast for their take on making this live spectacle come to fruition, fun facts about all things Hairspray, and other digital extras to enhance the viewer’s experience.”

Prior to the actual live broadcast, Criss will appear on The Countdown to Hairspray Live! with Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth, kicking off half an hour prior to the live event. NBC also plans to have Criss check in on viewing parties taking place in Baltimore, Houston, Philadelphia, and Atlanta.

The cast of NBC’s Hairspray Live! includes Hayes, Chenoweth, Harvey Fierstein, Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, Martin Short, Derek Hough, Dove Cameron, Garrett Clayton, Ephraim Sykes, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Maddie Baillio, Andrea Martin, Billy Eichner and Rosie O’Donnell. Fierstein wrote the new teleplay and Alex Rudzinski and Kenny Leon are directing the live telecast. Jerry Mitchell is the choreographer, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman wrote the music and lyrics, and Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are the executive producers.

The Plot: In Hairspray Live!, 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, and she eventually encourages Tracy on her campaign to integrate the all-white Corny Collins Show.