Here's Who Should Star in NBC's Live 'Hairspray' Musical
By John Boone
New Line Cinema
The Wiz Live! has barely had a chance to ease on down the road, but NBC is already announcing plans for its next live musical.
"People have been saying to me since The Wiz, 'Do this show, do that show.' I've heard obscure titles and famous titles," revealed network chairman Bob Greenblatt. "I'm happy to say that we are hopefully going to be producing a live new movie of Hairspray next December."
Obviously, we have suggestions for who should be cast. (Sidebar: We stand by our dream casting for Fox's small-screen reboot of Rocky Horror Picture Show, no disrespect to Victoria Justice.)
Kether Donohue as Tracy Turnblad (Previously Played by Nikki Blonsky)
Nikki Blonsky is probably calling NBC as we speak, but NBC should call Donohue. If you're not watching her on You're the Worst, you're missing some of the best comedic acting on TV. Plus, she has TV musical experience -- you can next see her in Grease: Live.
Channing Tatum as Edna Turnblad (Previously Played by John Travolta)
He's too young, yes, but theater has always played fast and loose with ages. Anyway, if you saw his Lip Sync Battle of "Run the World (Girls)," you know three things to be true: 1) Tatum is comfortable in drag. 2) Stage. Presence. 3) This is a very, very good casting suggestion.
Nick Jonas as Link Larkin (Previously Played by Zac Efron)
Which young star has the charm of Zac Efron in Hairspray? Nick Jonas, that's your only option. He knows the part, too -- you may have forgotten, but Jonas played Link in the Hollywood Bowl's production of Hairspray in 2001.
Emily Osment as Penny Pingleton (Previously Played by Amanda Bynes)
We'd love to see Amanda Bynes reprise the role as her big comeback. We just don't see that as a realistic choice. So we'd like to suggest Osment, who you may only remember from Hannah Montana, but she is legitimately funny and a seriously under appreciated pop star. ("Lovesick" is a jam, people!)
Kristin Chenoweth as Velma Von Tussle (Previously Played by Michelle Pfeiffer)
Chenoweth is a Tony Award-winning Broadway actress, so a live TV musical may be a bit beneath her, but if she's willing to have some fun, we'd love to see her chew scenery as the snobby, scheming producer of The Corny Collins Show.
Zendaya as Amber Von Tussle (Previously Played by Brittany Snow)
As for Velma's daughter, it has to be Zendaya. We know she has talent -- and it's time she got the platform to showcase it -- but we're more interested in seeing this good girl go bad. Can Zendaya play spoiled, rich, and snotty? We would certainly love to see her try.
Danielle Brooks as Motormouth Maybelle (Previously Played by Queen Latifah)
There are so many actresses we'd love to see in this role -- like Amber Riley, who KILLED IT in The Wiz Live! Or Audra MacDonald, who KILLED IT in The Sound of Music Live! -- but the Orange Is the New Black actress starred in The Color Purple on Broadway and stole the show from even Jennifer Hudson.
Bryshere Y. Gray as Seaweed (Previously Played by Elijah Kelley)
We haven't seen Bryshere Y. Gray (aka Yazz) in anything except Empire, so we're not quite sure what his range is. That said, we know he has swagger and plenty of musical talent, and we're curious to see what else he has to offer.
Zac Efron as Corny Collins (Previously Played by James Marsden)
*Someone* from the movie has to cameo in this, right? How fun would it be if that someone was Efron? Knowing NBC synergy, though, Corny will probably be played by, like…Jimmy Fallon.
Before Hairspray, we'll get Grease: Live. The show premieres Jan. 31 on Fox, and Julianne Hough and Vanessa Hudgens are already busy showing off their amazing abs. Check them out below: