The actor, who was last on Broadway in Art, will stay with the Tony-winning musical through Jan. 20, 2008.
Wendt is a six-time Emmy Award nominee for playing grumpy but popular Norm Peterson on "Cheers." He recently played Juror #1 in the national tour of Twelve Angry Men. The Chicago Second City veteran has appeared onstage in Art (on Broadway and in London) and in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. He was also seen in the ABC television musical "Bye Bye Birdie."
At the Neil Simon Theatre, he'll join current Hairspray cast members Shannon Durig (Tracy), Ashley Parker Angel (Link), Lance Bass (Corny Collins), Michele Pawk (Velma Von Tussle), Darlene Love (Motormouth Maybelle), Jim J. Bullock (Wilbur), Tevin Campbell (Seaweed), Naturi Naughton (Inez) and Ashley Spencer (Amber Von Tussle).
In Hairspray "it's 1962 — the '50s are out and change is in the air. Baltimore's Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, has only one passion — to dance. She wins a spot on the local TV dance program, 'The Corny Collins Show' and, overnight, is transformed from outsider to irrepressible teen celebrity. But can a plus-size trendsetter in dance and fashion vanquish the program's reigning princess, win the heart of heartthrob Link Larkin, and integrate a television show without denting her 'do?"
Hairspray is based on the New Line Cinema film written and directed by John Waters, who serves as a creative consultant on the musical comedy. It features a book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, and a score by five-time Academy Award nominee Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Hairspray is directed by Jack O'Brien and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell; scenic design is by David Rockwell; costume design is by William Ivey Long; lighting design is by Kenneth Posner; and sound design is by Steve C. Kennedy.
Hairspray celebrated its fifth anniversary on Broadway in August. It's the winner of eight 2003 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
The new movie musical based on the Broadway production was released this summer — helping raise the profile of the Broadway smash in its fifth year.
For more information about Hairspray, visit www.hairsprayonbroadway.com.