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.

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