It’s official that Ariana Grande is the next ‘checkerboard chic’ thanks to Hairspray Live!
Ariana Grande took to twitter to announce her new role in the upcoming live musical NBC special of Hairspray. Grande revealed that she has landed the role of Penny Pingleton. Penny is protagonist Tracy Turnblad’s best friend.
The pop sensation is not a stranger to acting due to her career beginning with acting roles. She is definitely not camera shy as she’s appeared in Victorious and Nickelodeon’s Sam and Cat. As well as having popular music videos, it shows Grande is a professional in front of the camera and, of course, we know she can sing so were delighted she’s been picked for the role.
Other cast members for the NBC live musical that will be performing alongside Grande include Kristin Chenoweth, Jennifer Hudson, Martin Shortfierstein, Derek Hough and new comer actress, Maddie Baillio, as Tracy Turnblad.
NBC’s chairman Robert Greenblatt commented on Grande being added to the show by saying:
“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. 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 NBC live musical is based off the successful broadway musical that was originally a John Waters film in 1988. Grande wrote on Twitter that “Penny has been a dream role since Hairspray opened on Broadway”. The role of Penny has been played by Leslie Ann Powers and Amanda Bynes in the 1988 and 2007 films. To Kerry Butler, who originally held the Broadway role of Penny in the 2002 production, Grande said “hope to make you proud”.
Hairspray is based on the storyline of a young, overweight Tracy Turnblad coming of age and following her dream of dancing on Baltimore’s popular white-based dance show. During auditions, she beats out mean girl Amber Von Tussle and in the process wins over Amber’s boyfriend Link Larson. After Tracy befriends some black students in detention who can dance, she pushes for more integration in school and on the show, which stirs up race and equality issues on both sides.
The musical comes at the perfect time due to the issues with race and the black lives matter campaign. Hopefully, it will open up a channel for people to discuss racial issues around the county.
Hairspray live will be executively produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, with Alex Rudzinski and Kenny Lean to direct the show. With the help of tony award winner Jerry Mitchell as choreographer, Fierstein is in charge of writing a new teleplay for NBC. Tony award winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman are in charge of music and lyrics for the musical.
We can’t wait to see Grande and the rest of the cast on NBC in December. We are waiting in anticipation to see who Grande’s love interest will be in the play and if there’s chemistry between them.