Ricki Lake, Marissa Jaret Winokur and newcomer Maddie Baillio visited the ET stage to chat about playing the iconic role of Tracy Turnblad in their respective versions of Hairspray.
"When I see Hairspray
on TV, I will stop and watch," Lake admits. "It's just a part of my history and my life, so it's a flattering thing to see it in all these incarnations. It's amazing."
Lake was an 18-year-old college student when she played Tracy in the 1988 movie, and she told us she almost didn't audition.
"It was during finals week at Ithaca College, and I drove 5 hours. I got a speeding ticket on the way," she recalls. "I met [writer/director] John Waters at the audition and it literally changed the entire trajectory of my life. You don't think of a 200-pound girl being the ingenue and selling it and getting the guy, so it really did open every door for me. It gave me this crazy career I've had for almost 30 years."
Fifteen years later in 2003, Winokur was accepting a Tony award for her performance in the Broadway musical adaptation.
"In my speech, I was like, ‘For a short, chubby girl to be an ingenue on Broadway and win a Tony for it was like… It's not given to us every day,’" Winokur says.
Baillio will be the latest to take on the character after getting cast in NBC's Hairspray Live!, airing Dec. 7, and she had to beat out more than 1,000 young women to score the gig.
"I started crying and I just had to call my mom because she's my No. 1 supporter," Baillio says. "So I called my mom and I said, 'Mom, I got Tracy!'"
For NBC's upcoming live show, Baillio will be joined by Ariana Grande, Derek Hough, Jennifer Hudson, Kristin Chenoweth and Harvey Fierstein, who is reprising his role as Tracy's mom Edna, for which he won a Tony award in 2003.
"Ariana Grande is playing my best friend on the show, Penny, and Kristin Chenoweth, one of my biggest idols, is in the show too. It's crazy," Baillio says.
When ET talked to Grande this summer about her role, the singer called the experience "very overwhelming and very exciting."
"This is such a dream come true for me because at heart, theater is everything to me," Grande said at the time. "Pop music is so fun, but this is way much more fun. So much more."
Part of the fun comes from the show-stopping choreographed dances, which Baillio says she's been training for.
"I'm running on the treadmill and singing every day," Baillio says. "And since I'm Tracy, I have to keep a milkshake in one hand."