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Hairspray Is NBC’s Next Live Musical So Let’s Suggest The New Cast

by Rob Smith January 13, 2016


Hairspray is NBC’s next live musical, chairman Bob Greenblatt confirms.

NBC is coming off a victory lap for The Wiz Live!, which aired in December to solid reviews and ratings, a yellow brick road filled with gay-inclusive themes, and a musical number by Mary J. Blige that redefined camp for a new generation.

We’ve gotta say Hairspray, the musical adaptation of John Waters’ beloved 1988 comedy, isn’t the most thrilling choice, particularly since the 2007 movie version was so well-done and a huge hit at the box office. However, Greenblatt hinted that diversity was a big factor in his selection of the next NBC musical, and Hairspray provides ample opportunity on that front.


The cast can be black and white, young and old, and there is one plum role that is historically played by a man in drag. Since it’s never too early to start speculating on potential cast members, we’d love to see Bianca Del Rio slap on a fatsuit and play Edna Turnblad.


attends the 2014 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 23, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

It seems like One Direction is officially dunzo, so Harry Styles or Zayn Malik would both be good candidates for Link Larkin, and Bella Thorne seems just bitchy enough to play Amber Von Tussle. Theater legend Audra MacDonald did NBC’s The Sound Of Music Live and would make an amazing Motormouth Maybelle since Queen Latifah is unlikely to return.

We’ll leave it up to Queerty members to speculate on the rest of the cast, but our money’s on an open casting call to find a newcomer to play Tracy Turnblad. They did the same thing to find Shanice Williams for The Wiz Live!, got a ton of free press, and anointed a shiny new star.

If you just can’t wait until December, we recommend you watch the 2007 Hairspray flick. It’ll keep you humming just long enough for official casting news to start trickling out. As a bonus, James Marsden is seriously hot in it and will make you wonder how he somehow escaped Gay Icon status.

Rob Smith
Rob Smith


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