Live musical events are becoming a bit of a phenomenon lately. NBC originally brought this vibrant new genre to modern audiences during the trial run of The Sound Of Music Live! After seeing the successful numbers and pop-culture fodder that surrounded the event, NBC has now made the live musicals an annual experience.
Shortly after the success of The Wiz Live!, NBC announced that their next live musical would be an adaption of the contemporary Broadway musical Hairspray. The network has now announced the core team that will be bringing Hairspray to live television, as well as an air date for the musical event.
The Wrap is reporting that Hairspray Live! will be aired on December 7th, and will be directed by the same man who directed the much acclaimed adaptation of The Wiz: Kenny Leon. This seems like an absolute no brainer. While the first two of NBC’s live musical events,The Sound of Music and Peter Pan, were famous for people “hate-watching” them, The Wiz was on another level entirely. People seemed to genuinely enjoy the live show, which was more contemporary and included a hand full of talented celebrities. Additionally, Kenny Leon’s inclusion of a primarily African-American cast introduced new audiences to the live musical event genre, and opens up a brand new audience.
Joining Kenny Leon on the production team of Hairspray Live! is none other than actor and writer Harvey Fierstein. Fierstein will be writing the teleplay for Hairspray, which is the same position he held and made successful for The Wiz. Harvey Fierstein is also especially qualified to write the upcoming teleplay as he originated the role of Edna Turnblad in Hairspray’s original Broadway cast. In addition to his acting work, Fierstein is a very successful playwright who has written the book for a handful of Broadway musicals including Kinky Boots and Newsies.
Rounding out the production team is Jerry Mitchell who will be choreographing the upcoming live TV version of Hairspray. Mitchell is a rather famous Broadway choreographer and director who was the original choreographer in the Broadway version of Hairspray. Mitchell has gone on to both direct and choreograph Legally Blonde, Kinky Boots, and On Your Feet! for Broadway. He and Harvey Fierstein worked together during Hairspray’s original Broadway run.
Hairspray is a massively popular musical that originated on Broadway in 2002. The show revolves around Tracy Turnblad, a chubby girl in the 1960’s who longs to be on a local dance and variety show. One of the main themes is acceptance, as Tracy is discriminated against due to her body type. She eventually becomes friends with her African-American classmates, and takes a stand against segregation and racism in the city of Baltimore. Hairspray is one of the most popular contemporary musicals of our time, and was adapted into a 2007 movie.
We’ll continue to update you as more details about Hairspray Live! become public. The event will be aired December 7th on NBC.