On December 7, NBC will show a live broadcast of a play for the third year in a row, this time from Los Angeles. This year’s production will be Hairspray, which was first on Broadway in 2002 before being adapted to film in 2007. The plot involves two girls who are seeking to get on a local dance show that mimics American Bandstand. Besides the dancing aspect that’s part of the production, Hairspray offers a musical look at segregation and its effect on Baltimore during the 1960’s.
On July 7, singer Ariana Grande announced on the social media outlet Twitter that she has been cast as Penny Pingleton, the friend of the play’s main character, Tracy Turnblad. Grande wrote in a series of tweets about the impact that the original 2002 production had on her, with actress Kerry Butler handling that role.
Prior to the start of her career in the music industry, the 23-year-old Grande began in the 2008 Broadway production of the musical, 13. From there, she moved to television, where she appeared on the Nickleodeon cable series, Victorious. That helped propel her to a recording contract, which has resulted in three albums and a pair of Grammy Award nominations.
Grande was the latest notable name to join the production. Harvey Fierstein has already been cast as the mother of Turnblad and is also serving as a writer on the show. In addition, Broadway actress Kristin Chenoweth and Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson are joined by Martin Short.