Ariana Grande is Completely Star Struck By 'Hairspray Live!' Co-Star Kristin Chenoweth

  • Ariana Grande is Completely Star Struck By 'Hairspray Live!' Co-Star Kristin Chenoweth

Ariana Grande is Completely Star Struck By 'Hairspray Live!' Co-Star Kristin Chenoweth

Prior to this incarnation, Hairspray has been made through the lens of 1988, 2002, and 2007. We're still protesting. My best friend hit me up a two days ago and was like, 'Yo, let's go tonight.

Exactly, said Meron, who is producing "Hairspray Live!" with Craig Zadan. "Music just brings us all together in a way that words just don't".

TV director Alex Rudzinski and stage director Kenny Leon teamed up well with the complex group numbers "Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now" and "Without Love".

"Hairspray Live!" is set in 1962 Baltimore, where "The Corny Collins Show" is TV's hot dance program and the focus of teen Tracy Turnblad's dreams.

Even after eight shows a week, and a 2011 reprisal at the Hollywood Bowl, it's been years since Fierstein played Edna.

THM: Why do you think "Hairspray" was chosen as NBC's live musical offering this year?

Much like last year's timely production of "The Wiz" - which came amid a fraught year of protests against police brutality and offered up another voice in the debate of African American representation in Hollywood in the aftermath of #OscarsSoWhite - the issues tackled beneath the bubblegum colors and whipped-up coiffure of "Hairspray" -segregation, race riots, and interracial romance - arrive at a critical moment. "I'm preparing them for how I want them to receive the story", he says of his audience. But those may be the inevitable by-product of an effort to do a live show this complex. The casting for the new production is predictably glamorous, including Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Martin Short, Derek Hough, Kristin Chenoweth, and Harvey Fierstein (who will once again play Edna Turnblad, a role he originated on Broadway; he also wrote the script for the live production).

"I go online, and I have a lot of kids who look at my page every day", Grande explains.

KC: I hope to get back to London.

Some may call it "politically incorrect", but in today's world, there are just some things you can't say, and it's not just because people will be offended.

That includes some new choreography, because "we have this brilliant dancer in Derek Hough", says Fierstein. It was shot with many outside scenes and with complex moving parts. We'll be watching for those socks during the broadcast!

Tony-winner Chenoweth, who twirls a baton during downtime in her dressing room, puts it this way: "It'll feel like we're being shot out of a cannon on performance night".

"I did a thousand performances on stage", Fierstein says. I mean, I've seen her work before, but I'd never heard nobody sing like that. Instead, it turned out to be the announcement she had gotten the role. "And a lot of times, if I may, that's music". We take care of each other.