Hairspray Live: Cast talks the message of acceptance in new featurette | EW.com

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Hairspray Live! cast: 'The subject is very current to today'

A new featurette includes footage from the upcoming NBC musical

(Trae Patton/NBC)

Hairspray might be set in the ’60s, but the stars of NBC’s upcoming live version of the film and Broadway show think it has a lot to say about modern times, too.

“The subject of Hairspray is very current to today,” Jennifer Hudson, who plays Motormouth Maybelle, says in a new featurette. She later explains, “To me, the power in Hairspray is no matter your size, your color, where you’re from, what type of lifestyle you live, it celebrates everyone.” 

Hairspray got its start in 1988 as a film, written and directed by John Waters. That version starred a young Ricki Lake as Tracy Turnblad, a plus-size teen girl determined to dance on a local television show, redefine their beauty standards, and desegregate the cast. It then became a Broadway musical, and Adam Shankman directed a feature film adaptation in 2007. Now, Hairspray is the latest in NBC’s slate of live musical broadcasts.

In the featurette, the rest of the cast — including Garrett Clayton (Link Larkin), Derek Hough (Corny Collins), and Martin Short (Wilbur Turnblad) — share what they think the message of Hairspray is, like “love,” “positive change,” and “acceptance of people that are a little bit different.” 

Hairspray Live! also features Ariana Grande (Penny Pingleton), Harvey Fierstein (the original Edna Turnblad on Broadway), Kristin Chenoweth (Velma Von Tussle), Andrea Martin (Prudy Pingleston), Sean Hayes (Mr. Pinky), and Billy Eichner (Rob Barker). The musical airs Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

Watch the featurette above, including snippets from “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” “Nicest Kids In Town,” “I Know Where I’ve Been,” and more.