NBC is moving forward with its live performance of Hairspray, its fourth televised musical.
Hairspray Live will air Wednesday, December 7, 2016 on NBC, the network announced today. They also revealed the “legit” (their words) creative team — including original Hairspray musical alums — who will bring the show to the TV viewing masses.
Director Kenny Leon, choreographer Jerry Mitchell and script adaptor Harvey Fierstein, plus Hairspray‘s original songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman have come on board for Hairspray Live.
“In keeping with our desire to bring the best of Broadway to our live musicals, we’ve assembled the Broadway dream team of Tony Award winners for ‘Hairspray Live,’” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment in a press release. “We’re thrilled to have director Kenny Leon, who knocked ‘The Wiz Live’ way out of the park, and Jerry Mitchell, the original choreographer of ‘Hairspray’ and who is the director of two smash hit musicals running on Broadway right now.”
“We also have one of the most celebrated Broadway hyphenates, Harvey Fierstein, back writing the adaptation for TV. No one knows ‘Hairspray’ better than him since he played the role of Edna Turnblad more than a thousand times and won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Along with our incredible producing team of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, and arguably the best songwriting team in musicals, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, ‘Hairspray Live’ is in the best possible hands.”
Hairspray Live follows The Sound of Music, Peter Pan, and The Wiz for NBC. Last month Fox put on their first live musical Grease Live, and production wise we thought it gave NBC a serious run for their money.
The next question is: Who will take the lead roles of Edna and Tracy?
More details about each of the Hairspray Live team members can be found below:
Kenny Leon is a Tony Award-winning Broadway director who received raves for his work on NBC’s “The Wiz Live.” His 2014 Broadway credits include hip-hop musical “Holler If Ya Hear Me” and the revival of “A Raisin in the Sun,” which starred Denzel Washington, Anika Noni Rose, Sophie Okonedo and LaTanya Richardson Jackson, and earned Leon a Tony for Best Director. “A Raisin in the Sun” also won Best Revival of a Play. Leon was also nominated in 2010 for the Broadway production of “Fences.” He received a 2009 DGA nomination for the television adaptation of “A Raisin in the Sun.” Other small-screen credits include TV movies “Steel Magnolias” “In My Dreams,” and “The Watsons Go to Birmingham,” as well as television shows such as “Ghost Whisperer” and “Private Practice.”
Jerry Mitchell, who won a Tony in 2005 as choreographer of “La Cage aux Folles,” won his second Tony in 2013 as choreographer for the Broadway hit “Kinky Boots,” for which he was also nominated as director. He also serves as director for the current Broadway musical “On Your Feet,” inspired by the career of Gloria Estefan, as well as director and choreographer of the upcoming Broadway musical “Gotta Dance.” Mitchell’s theater resume is a who’s who of some of Broadway’s most popular shows, including “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway,” “Legally Blonde” “The Full Monty,” “The Rocky Horror Show,” “Gypsy,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and the original production of “Hairspray,” which opened at the Neil Simon Theatre in 2002.
Harvey Fierstein, who will write the teleplay, brings a deep-rooted understanding of “Hairspray Live,” having worked on the original script as well as adapting the show for its Las Vegas and Hollywood Bowl productions. Fierstein also created the role of Edna for the stage version for which he won the Tony in 2003. As an actor, he is a member of an elite group who have won Tonys as Best Actor in a Musical (“Hairspray”) and Best Actor in a Play (for his own “Torch Song Trilogy”). As a writer, Fierstein won Tonys for “La Cage Aux Folles” and “Torch Song Trilogy,” and received three more Tony nominations for writing “Kinky Boots,” “Newsies” and “Casa Valentina.” His adaptation of “Funny Girl” is currently running, along with “Kinky Boots,” in London.
Songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman collaborated on the Broadway production of “Hairspray,” each winning the Tony and Grammy for Best Original Score. Shaiman is also an Emmy winner and five-time Oscar nominee. Their 2011 musical “Catch Me If You Can” was nominated for Best Musical and their most recent show, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” is a long-running hit on London’s West End. They are currently co-writing the film sequel to Disney’s “Mary Poppins.” Working closely with executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the duo were also the musical force behind the NBC drama “Smash,” receiving two Emmy nominations for their songs.