Unlike the past NBC live musical theatre events, Hairspray Live! will be filmed at the Universal Studio lot in California, and scenes are being staged outside. So, what happens if it rains on December 7?
“We have a lot of contingency plans, and obviously we all hope that it doesn’t rain,” Tony Award-winning designer Derek McLane (Hairspray’s production designer) told press on an invite-only conference call earlier this week. “There are some areas that we will be able to cover, and there are some things that, if it’s raining really, really hard, we’ll have to move a couple of things inside. We are still in the process of developing all of those contingency plans. And then there are some things we can just do in the rain, although it depends on the moment and what’s involved and how much dancing is involved. That is going to be an ongoing conversation as we get closer and closer to developing a whole variety of contingency plans for inclement weather.”
As for the what they’re wearing, costume designer Mary Vogt added, “Well, the makeup department has already decided that they are going to do waterproof makeup on everything, and our hairdresser is talking about special hairspray that will hold hair more than usual. With the clothes, we may be Scotchgarding some things to try and help with the rain. But, as Derek says, we’ll also be incorporating umbrellas, and for ‘[Good Morning] Baltimore,’ there’ll be a lot of hoods on things, which normally we wouldn’t have.
“It could rain. It’s been raining here more than it did last year, and it’s definitely something to take into consideration. I thought the rain really worked great on Grease: Live. I thought it looked fantastic. So it’s definitely something we're working into the design with the clothes.”
McLane says that the scenery will be safe in the rain—and that it will probably have been rained on many times before the December 7 broadcast.
Vogt is more worried for the actors’ safety and health. “We may under-dress them in waterproof kind of things you wear camping—thermals and things—that will keep their bodies dry. The clothes have to get really wet to look wet, but I’m more worried about having the actors stay warm, particularly when they’re dancing. We’re going to be doing a couple dress rehearsals, and we don’t want them to get sick before opening night!”
As previously reported, Hairspray Live! will be filmed with a live audience on multiple sets. Producer Craig Zadan previously said, “It is the biggest production we’ve done so far in so many ways. Universal is building two brand-new sound stages on the Universal lot, and we are going to use them as soon as they’re done. They will be done just before we need them, which is any minute. And we’ll be using them and be using the back lot for exterior shots and scenes and musical numbers. It is quite an enormous endeavor.”
Hairspray Live! will air December 7 at 8 PM on NBC with a star-studded cast. Click here to see the full cast.