See What the Critics Thought of Hairspray Live!

The Verdict   See What the Critics Thought of Hairspray Live!
 
The Tony-winning musical premiered on NBC-TV December 7.
Hairspray_Live_08_HR.jpg
Garrett Clayton, Maddie Baillio, Derek Hough, Harvey Fierstein, Ephraim Sykes, Ariana Grande, and cast Trae Patton/NBC

Hairspray, the 2002 Tony Award-winning musical about a teen who will stop at nothing to achieve her dreams and try to change the world, premiered on NBC-TV from the Universal Studios lots in Los Angeles, CA.

Critics have begun posting their reviews. Playbill.com will update this list as more are published:

Associated Press (Mark Kennedy)

AV Club (Caroline Slede)

CNN (Brian Lowry)

Deadline.com (Jeremy Gerard)

Entertainment Weekly (Darren Franich)

Hollywood Life (Dina Sartore-Bodo)

Hollywood Reporter (David Rooney)

Indie Wire (Ben Travers, Hanh Nguyen, Liz Shannon Miller, Michael Schneider)

Newday (Verne Gay)

The New York Daily News (Kate Feldman)

The New York Times (Neil Genzlinger)

Sioux City Journal (Bruce R. Miller)

TIME (Daniel D'Addario)

USA TODAY (Robert Bianco)

Variety (Sonia Saraiya)

The Verge (Kaitlyn Tiffany)

Vox (Alex Abad-Santos)

The Washington Post (Bethonie Butler)


Hairspray_Live_01_HR.jpg
Garrett Clayton, Derek Hough, and cast Trae Patton/NBC

Newcomer Maddie Baillio, who was plucked from an open call attended by more than 1,000 hopefuls, starred as Tracy Turnblad. She was joined by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein, recreating his Tony-winning Broadway role as Edna Turnblad, as well as Chenoweth as Velma Von Tussle, Andrea Martin as Prudy Pingleton, Ariana Grande as Penny Pingleton, Ephraim Sykes as Seaweed J. Stubbs, Shahadi Wright Joseph as Little Inez, Hayes as Mr. Pinky, Rosie O’Donnell as the gym teacher, Paul Vogt as Mr. Spritzer, Derek Hough as Corny Collins, Garrett Clayton as Link Larkin, Martin Short as Wilbur Turnblad, Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson as Motormouth Maybelle, and Billy Eichner as Baltimore TV newscaster Rob Barker.

The Dynamites were played by Kamilah Marshall, Judine Somerville, and Shayna Steele, who originated the roles in the Broadway production. Their singing voices are also heard in the film musical adaptation.

The ensemble featured Josh Alexander, William Bell, Helene Britany, Riley Costello, Kelli Ann Erdmann, Zack Everhart, Sam Faulkner, Annie Gratton, Thomasina Gross, Marissa Heart, Joanna Jones, Jacque Lewarne, Tommy Martinez, Allie Meixner, Eliotte Nicole, Tiana Okoye, Amos Oliver III, Tyler Parks, Re'sean Pates, Andrew Pirozzi, Katherine Roarty, Rhon Sanders, Ricky Schroeder, Heather Tepe, Joy Marie Thomas, Mason Trueblood, Karl Skyler Urban, Keenan Washington, and Jason Williams.

Hairspray Live! Playbill Cover
Hairspray Live! Playbill Cover PLAYBILLder.com

Marissa Jaret Winokur, who originated the role of Hairspray’s Tracy Turnblad on Broadway and won a Tony Award for her performance, and Ricki Lake, who first brought that character to life in the 1988 John Waters film, made cameo appearances. Read WHAT WAS MARISSA JARET WINOKUR’S ADVICE TO HAIRSPRAY LIVE!’S TRACY TURNBLAD?

Fierstein wrote the teleplay for the new adaptation, and Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, On Your Feet!) serves 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). Kenny Leon (The Wiz, Fences) directs alongside Alex Rudzinski (Grease: Live!) as live television director.

The production also featured music direction by Lon Hoyt, music production by Scott Riesett, scenic design by Derek McLane, costume design by Mary Vogt, lighting design by Allen Branton, and sound design by Tom Davis. The telecast is produced by NBC Entertainment, Robert Gleenblatt, Neil Meron & Craig Zadan.

Click here to read the exclusive Playbill for Hairspray Live!, which includes billing information for the entire production, cast bios, photos, and more.

There were also Easter eggs hidden in the set. Click here to read about them all before watching.

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