How Ariana Grande Got Her Hairspray Live Role

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When Ariana Grande announced that she'd portray the protagonist's quirky best friend Penny Pingleton in Hairspray Live, she called it her "dream role." And she wasn't kidding.

NBC producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron said in a press conference Thursday that she tracked them down to ask for the role, according to Entertainment Tonight. Fortunately for her, they were not just receptive but glad to hear from her manager.

"We did not contact Ariana or her representatives, she contacted us, and we were overwhelmed and thrilled and pinching ourselves," Zadan said. He was afraid she'd ask them to rewrite the songs or the character, since Penny is too shy to sing until the end. But to their relief, she wanted to take the part just as it was.

It just goes to show, asking for what you want really can pay off.

Other cast members are less well-known. Protagonist Tracy Turnblad will be played by Maddie Baillio, who was found in a casting call and doesn't have any other credits in her IMDb. The part of her love interest Link, played by Zac Efron in the movie Hairspray, went to Garrett Clayton.

The musical will also contain some familiar faces, including Kristin Chenoweth, Harvey Fierstein, and Jennifer Hudson. We'll be able to catch it December 7 on NBC.

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