The casting was announced by Zadan and Meron during the Television Critics Association summer press tour August 2. Hayes and O’Donnell will get screen time in two comedic cameo roles.
NBC confirmed to Playbill.com that Will & Grace star Hayes, currently on Broadway in An Act of God, will play dress shop owner Mr. Pinky who helps Edna and Tracy with their over the top makeovers. O’Donnell, seen on Broadway in Grease, Fiddler on the Roof and Seussical, will take on the role of the high school gym teacher.
As first reported on Playbill.com July 7, Hairspray Live! will be broadcast live from the Universal lot in Los Angeles. NBC’s three previous live broadcasts were shot in the New York area.
Following Fox’s success with Grease Live!, which was broadcast from Los Angeles and employed indoor and outdoor scenes, NBC has tapped Alex Rudzinski as Hairspray’s live director. He co-directed Grease Live! with Hamilton’s Thomas Kail.
“It’s definitely one of the more major elements of the space. What I can say is that Hairspray is going to be using a bigger area than we did on Grease,” Rudzinski said in Variety’s report on the latest casting at TCA.
Rudzinski will work alongside Tony-winning Broadway director Kenny Leon, who delivered NBC a hit with The Wiz Live! last year. “We are organically going outside when the text calls for us to go outside,” Leon added.
Hairspray also stars Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein recreating his Tony-winning Broadway role as Edna Turnblad, as well as Kristin Chenoweth as Velma Von Tussle, Martin Short as Wilbur Turnblad, pop star Ariana Grande as Penny Pingleton, Derek Hough as TV host Corny Collins, Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson as Motormouth Maybelle, newcomer Maddie Baillio as Tracy Turnblad, Dove Cameron as Amber Von Tussle and Garrett Clayton as Link Larkin.
Fierstein will provide a new teleplay, and Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, On Your Feet!) will serve as choreographer for the live production with music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Smash, Catch Me If You Can and Broadway’s upcoming Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).