Director Kenny Leon, who won praise in December for starting The Wiz Live for NBC, will return in December for the Peacock web’s fourth live musical venture, Hairspray Live. The show will be based on the 2002 Broadway musical blockbuster that was an adaptation of John Waters’ 1988 film (and remade from the musical version in the 2007 John Travolta-Queen Latifah starrer). The telecast will air December 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
“In keeping with our desire to bring the best of Broadway to our live musicals, we’ve assembled the Broadway dream team of Tony Award winners for Hairspray Live,” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “We’re thrilled to have director Kenny Leon, who knocked The Wiz Live way out of the park, and Jerry Mitchell, the original choreographer of Hairspray and who is the director of two smash hit musicals running on Broadway right now.
Greenblatt added that Harvey Fierstein, who starred as mom Edna Turnblad in the Broadway show, will write the teleplay, based on Thomas Meehan and Mark Donnell’s book. Fierstein,who wrote the book for the current small Kinky Boots, also worked on the adaptation for NBC of The Wiz. The Tony and Grammy-winning score is by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Neil Meron and Craig Zadan will executive produce, as they have all the NBC live musical theater ventures.
Leon most recently staged Smart People for New York’s Second Stage, and has emerged as a top directing talent, having helmed the Tony Award-winning revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin In The Sun and the rap bio-musical Holler If Ya Hear Me. He also was nominated in 2010 for the Broadway revival of August Wilson’sFences.
Mitchell, who won a Tony in 2005 as choreographer of La Cage Aux Folles, won his second Tony in 2013 as choreographer for the Broadway hit Kinky Boots, for which he was also nominated as director. He also serves as director for the current Broadway musical On Your Feet, inspired by the careers of Gloria and Emilio Estefan, as well as director and choreographer of the upcoming Broadway musical Gotta Dance.
Casting and other team Hairspray members will be announced later.