Hairspray Live! Is Not Giving Ariana Grande Any Special Treatment

Photo: Rob Latour/Variety/REX/Shutterstock.
You can't stop the beat...and you can't add any extras, either. More details regarding NBC's latest live musical production, Hairspray Live!, were revealed in a panel at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Tuesday — and some Ariana Grande fans might be disappointed with the news. According to the Los Angeles Times, the pop star's vocal chops aren't getting any special attention for this production, airing on NBC December 7.

"I don’t want to change anything about the role or how she develops," Grande told reporters about playing Penny, the dorky best friend of lead Tracy Turnblad (played by newcomer Maddie Baillio). "I love Penny and it’s just such a great honor to play. I don’t want any sort of special icing.”

In the 2002 musical, based on John Waters' 1988 movie, Penny doesn't have any solo numbers. She has a featured part in four major songs, though, and the last one, "You Can't Stop the Beat," is her big breakout moment.

“I think one of the thrills is that Ariana wanted to play that role as written,” producer Neil Meron said at TCA. “Basically, she loved the fact [that Penny] held off those powerful pipes until the very end. There’s some sort of artistic merit in terms of Ariana doing the role in terms of the surprise for the audience.”

Also on Tuesday, two new cast members were announced. Rosie O'Donnell will play the gym teacher, and Sean Hayes will play dressmaker Mr. Pinky. The previously announced cast includes Harvey Fierstein (reprising his Broadway turn as Edna Turnblad), Jennifer Hudson (Motormouth Maybelle), Martin Short (Wilmer Turnblad), Kristin Chenoweth (Velma von Tussle), Derek Hough (Corny Collins), Dove Cameron (Amber Von Tussle), and Garrett Clayton (Link Larkin).

Watch the 2007 movie version of "You Can't Stop the Beat," featuring Amanda Bynes as Penny, below.
Advertisement
Advertisement

More from TV

Everything about Luke Cage communicates strength. The burly Harlem resident seems patient and unfeeling. Bullets can’t wound Luke Cage, and knives can’t ...
Try as we may to separate the man from his work, it feels disingenuous to write about a Woody Allen project without so much as mentioning the personal ...
A major network has just ordered a series about a man who sends for a mail-order bride from the Philippines and winds up with a full mail-order family. ...
The 2016 Emmy Awards were off to a great start when a surprising announcement came over the loudspeaker. A voiceover announced the next presenter: none ...
Julianne Hough has responded to Amber Rose's accusations that the dancer body-shamed Rose on Dancing With the Stars. Hough told Entertainment Tonight that ...
Every once in a while, a show comes along that we're super psyched about — and not just like, "This is a cool series you should consider watching," but ...
Every Wednesday, the Johnson family enters millions of living rooms across America. Dad Andre brings the laughs with his stubborn-but-silly antics, which...
Kimmy Schmidt lives in her own world. It's a cross between middle school, the year 1999, and present-day New York. Mix in the fact that she was held ...
Grey's Anatomy is back, and it's kicking off this week's episode with a Hamilton reference. Well, kind of. Technically, when Webber offers to be Bailey's...
We know what you're thinking: Gee, I really could use more Kardashian-Jenner-West coverage on TV. Just kidding. The only people who think that are E! ...
Amazing news, TV lovers of the world: Since we first published this story in 2013, there have been leaps and bounds in the number of streaming platforms ...
We're less than two months away from the Netflix premiere of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life on November 25. In the meantime, Rory and Lorelai thought ...
Two episodes into the third season of How To Get Away With Murder, we're one step closer to finding out who dies in the fire at Annalise's (Viola Davis) ...
We've written extensively about how all the American Horror Story seasons are linked. But we didn't realize that Roanoke would be the Rosetta Stone through...