comScore Hairspray is NBC's Next Live Musical | The Mary Sue
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NBC Has Chosen Hairspray as Its Next Live Musical

Run and tell that!


As a fat girl who loves dancing to pop music, Hairspray – both the amazing Broadway musical and the John Waters film on which it’s based – resonates with me deep in my core, so I was thrilled to find out that Tracy Turnblad is coming to NBC!

Hairspray has been chosen as the next live musical event for the network, following The Sound of Music, Peter Pan, and The Wiz, which gave NBC its best Thursday night ratings in two years. This was actually a super last-minute announcement as NBC closed the deal for the musical mere moments before NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt made the announcement at TCA today. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who executive produce NBC’s live musical franchise, will be taking point on this one, too. They have plenty of experience, having also produced the 2007 movie adaptation of Hairspray. Then again, they allowed John Travolta to be cast as Edna Turnblad for some reason, so…

In any case, this is great news, and it shows that NBC recognizes that in order to get the big ratings they want, it’d behoove them to choose musicals that showcase a bit more diversity. After their inaugural production of The Sound of Music, the ratings slumped for Peter Pan. The Wiz, however, with its all-black cast did really well. Hairspray, with its themes of racial equality, body acceptance, and the importance of love in the face of differences is hugely relevant to today’s audiences, despite the original film having come out in 1988 with a story set in 1960s segregated Baltimore. With Mark Shaiman and Scott Wittman’s infectious songs, and Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan’s sharp, witty book, Hairspray has the potential to be a ratings juggernaut for NBC.

To leave you with a big dollop of happy, here’s “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” the closing song from the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Hairspray:

And now, for the important question: Whom would you cast in the Hairspray NBC live musical? Let’s talk potential Tracys, Ednas, Ambers and Seaweeds in the comments below!

*prays for anyone other than John Travolta as Edna*

(via Deadline Hollywood, image via Antonio Campoy/Flickr)

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