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Welcome to the ’60s, Maddie Baillio: The newcomer is joining NBC’s upcoming Hairspray LIve! — the network’s follow-up to The Wiz Live, Peter Pan Live, and The Sound of Music Live — as Tracy Turnblad, the musical’s lead character.
Baillio, a sophomore at Marymount Manhattan College, was chosen for the role out of a pool of nearly 1,000 women at an open casting call. Although she has no professional theater experience, she’s starred in Dracula, the Musical and Once Upon a Mattress as part of the York Theatre Company’s musical theater training program and has performed at well-known venues like the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center.
Hairspray, a film by John Waters starring Ricki Lake and Divine, premiered in 1988 and made its Broadway debut in 2002. In 2007, that Tony-winning Broadway version was adapted into a 2007 movie starring Nikki Blonsky, John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Christopher Walken.
Baillio will star in the NBC iteration alongside previously announced cast members Jennifer Hudson, Harvey Fierstein, Martin Short, and Derek Hough. See the musical when it airs Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. ET, and watch Baillio’s reaction to getting the role below.