Penny for Your Thoughts: Tracy Gets a New Best Pal in Bway's Hairspray July 15

News   Penny for Your Thoughts: Tracy Gets a New Best Pal in Bway's Hairspray July 15 Jennifer Gambatese, a former cast member of Hairspray who also played multiple forest creatures in A Year With Frog and Toad, joins the Hairspray cast on Broadway July 15.

Gambatese, who originated the role of Brenda in the Tony Award-winning musical comedy, now assumes the part of Tracy's daffy best pal, Penny Pingleton. Kerry Butler left the role of Penny July 13 and heads into rehearsals for the Broadway production of Little Shop of Horrors (she'll play Audrey).

Gambatese was seen on Broadway as Urleen in Footloose, Off-Broadway as Lady Liberty in Reefer Madness and on tour in both Europe and North America as Serena Katz in Fame. Readings and workshops include playing Juliet in Romeo & Juliet: The Musical and Amy March in Little Women. She earned a BFA from New York University.

Hairspray principals Corey Reynolds, Linda Hart and Laura Bell Bundy also left the Broadway hit July 13, after more than a year developing and playing the show.

Incoming actors to play the respective roles of Seaweed, Velma Von Tussle and Amber Von Tussle are Chester Gregory II, Barbara Walsh and Tracy Jai Edwards, all starting July 15.

On July 19, Aja Maria Johnson takes on the role of Little Inez, which Danelle Eugenia Wilson created. Principal Tony Award winners Marissa Jaret Winokur, Harvey Fierstein and Dick Latessa remain with the show. Fierstein and Winokur both have television projects in their future, but there is no official word yet of their exit from the hit based on the John Waters film of the same name.

Corey Reynolds was Tony-nommed for playing Seaweed in the Jack O'Brien-directed musical about outsiders finally getting their shot on a Baltimore TV dance program in the 1960s.

The show won the 2003 Tony Award for Best Musical. Songwriters Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman won the Tony for Best Score and Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan won for Best Book.

Hairspray plays the Neil Simon Theatre.