With the December 7 performance of Hairspray Live! being staged on multiple sets across the Universal Studios lots, actors occasionally have to hop in a golf cart to get from one scene to the next.
“What we’re doing is choreographing those scenes just like we would a scene and a dance,” explains Kristin Chenoweth, who plays Hairspray’s Velma Von Tussle. “So I go, I do the number, and then I practice where I’m going to go, where I’m going to change my clothes onstage in a little booth, and then I go and do it. That’s the only other way that I know to say it—we’re choreographing the offstage moments just like we would onstage.
“It’s like doing a Broadway show, but we’re filming it, and in some cases, we have to get in a golf cart and hurry.”
Unlike some of the show’s stars who have multiple quick changes, Chenoweth shares that she only has one—a transition from The Corny Collins Show to “Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now.”
“I have a Corny Collins opening [scene],” she says. “As soon as that’s done, I have a quick change into ‘Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now.’ … I have a dresser, she removes everything; I won’t have a wig change. I change my clothes, and I go directly onto the set to be ready for ‘Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now.’ Once Ariana [Grande] and her mother [played by Andrea Martin] get to their spot, we start the scene. We’ll be waiting for them. So it’s maybe five minutes, which is a luxury, but it’s not really when you want to make sure that you’re in your spot ready to go waiting for the person to land. That’s kind of how that will go. So far I’m good!”