Hairspray Live! is a television special that aired live on NBC on December 7, 2016. Produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, and hosted by Darren Criss, it is a performance of a new adaptation of the 2002 Broadway musical Hairspray.
|Written by||Harvey Fierstein|
|Presented by||Darren Criss|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Distributor||NBCUniversal Television Distribution|
Sony Pictures Television
Warner Bros. Television Distribution
|Original release||December 7, 2016|
|Preceded by||The Wiz Live!|
|Followed by||Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert|
Hairspray Live! takes place in 1962 Baltimore. Teenager Tracy Turnblad’s dream is to dance on The Corny Collins Show, a local TV program. When, against all odds, Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight and meets a colorful array of characters, including Link, the resident dreamboat; Amber, the ambitious mean girl; Seaweed, an African-American boy she meets in detention; and his mother, Motormouth Maybelle, owner of a local record store. Tracy’s mother is the indomitable Edna Turnblad, and she eventually encourages Tracy on her campaign to integrate the all-white Corny Collins Show."
Hairspray Live! served as NBC's fourth entry in its series of made-for-TV musical telecasts, behind The Wiz Live!, Peter Pan Live!, and The Sound of Music Live!. As with its predecessors, it was executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. The project was revealed by NBC's entertainment head Bob Greenblatt during a Television Critics Association press tour in January 2016. In response to early reports that NBC was considering a live version of The Music Man, West Side Story or Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, Greenblatt stated that "people have been saying to me since The Wiz, 'Do this show, do that show.' I've heard obscure titles and famous titles. Not everything's going to be a big name to the whole audience. I don’t think there's an infinite number of these that can be done. But we're still doing it." He explained that the production would not try to emulate the 2007 film (also produced by Zadan and Meron), but that he would have been thrilled if John Travolta reprised his role in it.
Kenny Leon returned in his role as director from The Wiz, and was joined by Alex Rudzinski—who co-directed Grease: Live for Fox. The musical was adapted for television by Harvey Fierstein from the original book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan. Jerry Mitchell, the choreographer of the Broadway version of Hairspray, was also involved with the adaptation. In contrast to NBC's previous musicals, Hairspray Live! was produced from the Universal Studios backlot; Greenblatt explained that a "fair amount" of the show would be staged in outdoor settings, and thus "have a real exuberance in the open air." Additionally, live audiences were integrated into relevant scenes as extras on-stage, such as bystanders in Baltimore, and as the studio audience of The Corny Collins Show. Two numbers written for the 2007 film, "Ladies' Choice” and "Come So Far (Got So Far to Go)", were incorporated into the production. "The Big Dollhouse", from the Broadway show, was cut, while "The New Girl In Town", written for the stage show but cut and only used in the film, was not added. (An instrumental version of the song is, however, heard very briefly as a bit of background music.)
In addition to adapting the book, Fierstein reprised his performance of Edna Turnblad from the Broadway musical; Greenblatt felt that his performance of Edna was "iconic", and that his involvement with Hairspray Live! made it "come full circle". NBC cast the lead role of Tracy Turnblad through an open call in New York City, hoping to repeat the "phenomenal discovery" of Shanice Williams for The Wiz. The role went to college sophomore Maddie Baillio, as her first professional role. In November 2016, it was announced that Ricki Lake and Marissa Jaret Winokur (who portrayed Tracy Turnblad in the 1988 film and the Broadway version respectively) would make cameo appearances; Winokur and Lake appeared as employees of Mr. Pinky's boutique. Darren Criss served as an on-air host, hosting a half-hour Countdown to Hairspray Live! show on NBC with Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes, as well as behind-the-scenes reports throughout the live broadcast.
Oreo, Reddi-wip, and Toyota broadcast live, themed commercials during Hairspray Live!; Oreo's ad featured the character of Corny Collins, Reddi-wip's ad featured a milkman character (Evan Strand) backstage and performing a dance number, while Toyota's ad featured a vintage Toyota Corolla and a current model in celebration of the vehicle's 50th anniversary.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the special holds a 79% rating based on 24 reviews, with an average of 8.2/10. The site's consensus states: "Hairspray Live! shimmers with outstanding performances, an engaging story, and songs that let its stars shine." It has a score of 66 from 14 critics on Metacritic, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
The New York Times reviewer wrote: "NBC lassoed some talented performers with fine singing voices but sacrificed cohesion by cramming the evening with too much interstitial fluff.... Only Jennifer Hudson, who played Motormouth Maybelle, found the real strength of this Tony-winning musical, delivering a knockout rendition of 'I Know Where I've Been'..." He noted that Baillio "did pretty well, though no novice is going to compete with voices like those of Ms. Hudson and Kristin Chenoweth..."
The Variety reviewer wrote that it "took a few musical numbers to settle into a rhythm. But once it did (the energy seemed to kick in with "Welcome to the ‘60s") the musical easily became the best NBC has attempted. It's hard to imagine better casting for the production. Jennifer Hudson stole the show... Ariana Grande, certifiable pop star, came away as the show's MVP, acting as both reliably overlook-able sidekick and, once the situation required it, showstopping diva. Harvey Fierstein was predictably great... Martin Short... found the right profile for himself as Wilbur."
The TV Ratings Guide reviewer wrote that the production "was truly a great experience through and through." They praised the entire cast, stating "the casting was just top notch", and praised Grande and Hudson in particular. They named 'You Can't Stop the Beat' the best musical moment of the night and stated that "they really knocked it out of the park." They stated that "NBC really put together something amazing here." 
The A.V. Club's reviewer wrote that "As a piece of social commentary, tonight’s production of Hairspray Live! was just about flawless." They stated that Dove Cameron and Ephraim Sykes were "consistently fun to watch", and that Chenoweth and Hudson "were the biggest scene-stealers." They said that Fierstein, Short, and Martin "were all wonderful as well." They rated the telecast a B+.
Hairspray Live! was seen by 9.05 million viewers, with a ratings share of 2.3 in the 18–49 demographic, and a 5.9 overnight household rating. It was the most-viewed program of the night, with numbers on par with those of Peter Pan. An encore presentation, which aired on December 27, was seen by 2.5 million viewers.
|Art Directors Guild Awards||Awards or Event Special||Derek McLane||Nominated|||
|Directors Guild of America Awards||Outstanding Directing – Miniseries or TV Film||Kenny Leon and Alex Rudzinski||Nominated|||
|Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylist Guild Awards||Television Mini-Series or Movie Made for Television - Best Period/Character Make-Up||Melanie Hughes and Judy Yonemoto||Nominated|||
|MTV Movie & TV Awards||Best Musical Moment||"You Can't Stop the Beat"||Nominated|||
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Special Class Program||Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, Alex Rudzinski, Javier Winnik, Kenny Leon, Robert Norris Catto||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Costumes for a Variety, Nonfiction, or Reality Programming||Mary Vogt, Carolyn Dessert-Lauterio||Nominated|
|Outstanding Hairstyling for a Multi-Camera Series or Special||Miia Kovero, Terry Baliel, Roxane Griffin, Lawrence Davis, Jill Crosby, Joy Zapata||Won|
|Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety Special||Allen Branton, Felix Peralta, Kevin Lawson, Darren Langer, Kirk J. Miller||Nominated|
|Outstanding Makeup for a Multi-Camera Series or Special (Non-Prosthetic)||Melanie Hughes-Weaver, Judy Yonemoto, Jill Cady, Julie Socash, Shutchai Tym Buacharern, Angela Moos||Nominated|
|Outstanding Production Design for a Variety, Nonfiction, Event or Award Special||Derek McLane, Joe Celli, Jason Howard||Won|
|Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control for a Limited Series, Movie, or Special||Charles Ciup, Billy Steinberg, Chris Hill, Bert Atkinson, Randy Gomez, Nathanial Havholm, Ron Lehman, Bettina Levesque, Dave Levisohn, Tore Livia, Mike Malone, Adam Margolis, Rob Palmer, Brian Reason, Damien Tuffereau, Andrew Waruszewski||Won|
The 69th Annual Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony was held over two nights on September 9 and September 10, 2017, and was broadcast by FXX on September 16. The nominations were announced on July 13, 2017. The ceremony is in conjunction with the annual Primetime Emmy Awards and is presented in recognition of technical and other similar achievements in American television programming, including guest acting roles.Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande-Butera (; born June 26, 1993) is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Born in Florida to a family of New York-Italian origin, she began her career in 2008 in the Broadway musical 13, before playing the role of Cat Valentine in the Nickelodeon television series Victorious from 2010 to 2013, and in the spinoff Sam & Cat from 2013 to 2014. Grande made her first musical appearance on the soundtrack for Victorious and was signed to Republic Records in 2011 after music executive Monte Lipman came across one of her YouTube videos covering songs.
Grande released her debut album, Yours Truly in 2013, which was influenced by 1990s R&B and '50s doo-wop, and peaked atop the US Billboard 200. Grande ventured into EDM on her second album, My Everything (2014), which also topped the US charts and featured four top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, the most by any artist in 2014: "Problem", "Break Free", "Bang Bang", and "Love Me Harder". Her third album, Dangerous Woman (2016), explored pop and dance, and became her first number-one album in the United Kingdom. She experimented with trap on her fourth album, Sweetener (2018), which topped several album charts around the world and won a Grammy Award for a Best Pop Vocal Album at the 61st ceremony. The album produced the successful singles "No Tears Left to Cry" and "God Is a Woman", respectively. Her fifth studio album, Thank U, Next, was released in February 2019. The title track and "7 Rings" were released as singles and both debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100, with the latter breaking several streaming records. Grande is the first artist to have the lead singles from each of their first five studio albums debut within the top-ten on the US charts.Critics have compared Grande's wide vocal range to that of Mariah Carey. Her accolades include one Grammy Award, three American Music Awards, three MTV Europe Music Awards and two MTV Video Music Awards. She has supported a range of charities and has a large following on social media. In 2016, Time named Grande one of the 100 most influential people in the world on their annual list. In 2018, Billboard named her Woman of the Year.Art Directors Guild Awards 2016
The 21st Art Directors Guild Excellence In Production Design Awards, took place on February 11, 2017 at the Hollywood & Highland Center Ray Dolby Ballroom in Hollywood, honoring the best production designers of 2016. Nominations were announced on January 5.Derek Hough
Derek Hough (; born May 17, 1985) is an American professional Latin and ballroom dancer, choreographer, actor and singer.Since September 2007, Hough has become known for his work on the ABC dance-competition series, Dancing with the Stars, on which he has won a record six seasons. With a total of nine nominations, he has won two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Choreography for several routines that he choreographed for the show. Hough has also starred in various stage productions, including the 2006 original production of Footloose: The Musical at the Novello Theatre in London's West End, as well as the 2015 New York Spring Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. In 2013, he starred in Make Your Move, a Romeo and Juliet-inspired South Korean-American independent dance film. As of 2014, he has held a recurring acting role on ABC's musical-drama, Nashville.
On December 7, 2016, Hough played the role of Corny Collins in NBC's live musical TV-production, Hairspray Live!.In May 2017, Hough joined the judges table in NBC's new dance competition series World of Dance. He continued his role as a judge for the second and third seasons.Dove Cameron
Dove Olivia Cameron (born Chloe Celeste Hosterman; January 15, 1996) is an American actress and singer, known for playing a dual role as the eponymous characters in the Disney Channel teen sitcom Liv and Maddie (2013–2017) and playing Mal in the films Descendants (2015) and its sequels Descendants 2 (2017) and Descendants 3 (2019).
Subsequently, she had a recurring role as Ruby Hale in the ABC television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2018).Edna Turnblad
Edna Turnblad is a character from the following four media:
Hairspray (1988 film), played by Divine
Hairspray (musical), played on Broadway by Harvey Fierstein
Hairspray (2007 film), played by John Travolta
Hairspray Live!, played, on live television in December 2016, by Harvey FiersteinEphraim Sykes
Ephraim Manessah Sykes (born July 17, 1985 in St. Petersburg, Florida) is an American actor. Sykes played the role of George Eacker in the Broadway musical Hamilton.
In December 2016, he played Seaweed J. Stubbs in NBC's live production of Hairspray Live!. In 2017, Sykes originated the role of David Ruffin in the musical Ain't Too Proud, a stage musical based on the life of The Temptations.Garrett Clayton
Gary Michael "Garrett" Clayton (born March 19, 1991) is an American actor and singer. He is known for portraying Tanner in the 2013 Disney Channel movie Teen Beach Movie and its 2015 sequel Teen Beach 2, and other film, television, and stage roles.Hairspray
Hairspray may refer to:
Hair spray, a personal grooming product that keeps hair protected from humidity and wind
Hairspray (1988 film), a film by John Waters
Hairspray (1988 soundtrack), the film's soundtrack album
Hairspray (musical), a stage musical based on the original film
Hairspray (2002 album), the musical's cast album
Hairspray (2007 film), a film based on the musical
Hairspray (2007 soundtrack), the film's soundtrack album
Hairspray: The School Musical, a UK reality TV series
Pucker!, a 1995 album by The Selecter released in the US as Hairspray
Hairspray Live!, a live television musical version of the stage musicalHairspray (musical)
Hairspray is an American musical with music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman and a book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, based on John Waters’s 1988 film of the same name. The songs include 1960s-style dance music and "downtown" rhythm and blues. In 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, plump teenager Tracy Turnblad's dream is to dance on The Corny Collins Show, a local TV dance program based on the real-life Buddy Deane Show. When Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight, and meets a colorful group of characters, leading to social change as Tracy campaigns for the show's integration.
In 2003 it won eight Tony Awards, including one for Best Musical, out of 13 nominations. It ran for 2,642 performances, and closed on January 4, 2009. Hairspray has also had national tours, a West End production, and numerous foreign productions and was adapted as a 2007 musical film. The London production was nominated for a record-setting eleven Laurence Olivier Awards, winning four, including Best New Musical.Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Kate Hudson (born September 12, 1981) is an American singer and actress. She rose to fame in 2004 as a finalist on the third season of American Idol, placing seventh. Hudson made her film debut as Effie White in Dreamgirls (2006), for which she received an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress. She also appeared in Sex and the City (2008), The Secret Life of Bees (2008), and Black Nativity (2013). In 2015, she made her Broadway debut in the role of Shug Avery in The Color Purple.
Following her elimination from American Idol and performance in Dreamgirls, Hudson was later signed to Arista Records by Clive Davis and released her self-titled debut studio album in 2008, which was certified gold in the United States, sold over a million copies worldwide, and received a Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. Her subsequent studio albums, I Remember Me (2011) and JHUD (2014), saw continued commercial success with the former also being certified gold in the United States. Hudson received her second Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album in 2017 as a cast member on The Color Purple.
Hudson was the subject of significant media attention in 2008 when her mother, brother, and nephew were killed in a shooting. She resumed public appearances the following year, with a high-profile performance at Super Bowl XLIII as well as other mainstream events. Hudson has been described as a friend of former President Barack Obama, who invited her to appear with him at a fundraiser in Beverly Hills during his first term in May 2009. She also performed at the White House at the "Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement" event. In 2013, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Since 2017, Hudson has contributed as a coach on the UK and the US version of The Voice, becoming the first female coach to win the former.Kenny Leon
Kenny Leon is an American director notable for his work on Broadway and in regional theater. Robert Simonson of Playbill described Leon as "arguably Broadway's leading African-American director." In 2014, he won the Tony Award for Best Director of a Play for A Raisin in the Sun.Maddie Baillio
Maddie Baillio (born February 15, 1996) is an American actress and singer who appeared in the television special Hairspray Live and the film Dumplin'.Marc Shaiman
Marc Shaiman (; born October 22, 1959) is an American composer and lyricist for films, television, and theatre, best known for his collaborations with lyricist and director Scott Wittman. He wrote the music and co-wrote the lyrics for the Broadway musical version of the John Waters film Hairspray. He has won a Grammy, an Emmy and a Tony, and been nominated for seven Oscars.Neil Meron
Neil Meron (born October 26, 1955) is an American film producer known for producing the 2002 film Chicago and the 2007 film Hairspray. With partner Craig Zadan he ran the production company Storyline Entertainment until Zadan's death in 2018. Meron continues to run the company.Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Production Design for a Variety Special
The Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Production Design for Variety Special is awarded to one television special each year. Prior to the category's creation in 2016, specials and regular series competed together as Outstanding Production Design for a Variety, Nonfiction, Reality or Reality-Competition Programming. The two had also been divided in 1977 and 1978.
In the following list, the first titles listed in gold are the winners; those not in gold are nominees, which are listed in alphabetical order. The years given are those in which the ceremonies took place.Ricki Lake
Ricki Pamela Lake (born September 21, 1968) is an American actress, television presenter and producer. Lake is best known for her lead role as Tracy Turnblad in the 1988 film Hairspray. She is also known for her talk show which was broadcast internationally from September 1993 until May 2004. When Lake's show debuted, she was 24 and credited as being the youngest person to host a syndicated talk show at the time. In autumn 2012, Lake embarked on a second syndicated talk show project The Ricki Lake Show (dubbed as The New Ricki Lake Show), which aired on weekdays. The series was canceled in 2013 after a single season, but Lake won her first Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host.Shayna Steele
Shayna Steele (born September 23, 1975) is an American singer, songwriter and a Broadway stage actress.