The December 7 NBC broadcast of Hairspray Live! will fuse elements from both the 2002 Tony Award-winning Broadway production and the 2007 musical film adaptation, songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman confirm.
“We basically used the Broadway production, and then took the film songs that we most enjoy—songs that we got to write for the film—and have incorporated them into it, so now it’s become a real nice hybrid of the Broadway version and the movie version,” Shaiman told press on an invite-only conference call in anticipation of the broadcast of Hairspray Live!
He added, “There’s one or two things from Broadway that are not included, and there’s maybe one or two things written for the movie that are not included. I don’t know that I’m at liberty to say specifically, but it will be very nice to see it all put together as one. What was such a blessing was that [we cast] all these stars, and no one…said, ‘Hey, I want to have something new,’ or ‘Write something just for me’ or ‘Change this part a little bit more because I am who I am.’ No one said that. Everyone wanted to play the parts as written, so Scott and I have actually had a pretty nice time of not having to work too strenuously.”
Although some Broadway material has been cut, because of the star-heavy cast, “Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now” (cut from the 2007 film, but played during the credits) remains.
“We’re happy to report that’s in,” Shaiman said, before Wittman chimed in with: “How could we not do it with Kristin [Chenoweth] and Andrea [Martin]? It would be sacrilege!”
Wittman added that the third mother in “Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now,” Harvey Fierstein (who is also working on a revised book for the live broadcast) has done a “wonderful job of sort of reshuffling the cards” with the script.
When asked about how things were being “reshuffled,” Shaiman replied, “[We are] working on Hairspray Live! with a different group of collaborators, and so all the folks who worked on the movie—although there are a lot of people who worked on the movie who are working on Hairspray Live!, [like producers] Craig [Zadan] and Neil [Meron], obviously… There are different points of view and a different structure to the show. They like to present the musicals pretty closely to what the actual Broadway production is, so we couldn’t be luckier [that]…we get to have these two versions. And, we’re also so ecstatic to have this version where Harvey’s work and [choreographer] Jerry Mitchell’s work will equally be able to be enjoyed by the audience.”