'Hairspray' on NBC: 5 Things We Need to See

hairspray-broadway-2006-billboard-650
Scott Wintrow/Getty Images

Broadway's "Hairspray" at the Neil Simon Theater on July 18, 2006 in New York City. 

The nicest kids in town are headed to NBC.

The network announced earlier Wednesday (Jan. 13) that Hairspray -- barring finalizing a deal -- would be its next live musical, airing next December and following Sound of Music, Peter Pan and, most recently, The Wiz as NBC live extravaganzas.

'Hairspray' Set as NBC's Next Live Musical

What do we need to see? Check it out below.

1. In recent history, Hairspray is a much better known work than either The Wiz or Peter Pan. In addition to the original '80s movie and the 2002 Broadway musical, there was, of course, a 2007 feature-film adaptation of the musical, starring Zac Efron, Queen Latifah, John Travolta and Christopher Walken, among others. It'll be interesting to see how this production, relatively soon after that memorable movie, differentiates itself.

2. Speaking of that all-star movie cast, it's easy to wonder if any of them might pop up in this. Start to dream-cast, and the above names instantly float to the top of this list, especially since Queen Latifah and Elijah Kelley both did such a fantastic job recently in The Wiz. While there obviously won't be a full cast re-creation, it seems likely at least one member of the movie cast shows up in this production. (Zac Efron, we realize there's a better chance of winning the Powerball than of you agreeing to this, but please pick up your phone. You were so incredibly delightful as teen idol Link Larkin. James Marsden? Same deal.)

3. Thus far, most of these live productions have melded popular movie adaptations of the material with the original Broadway version -- a trend Hairspray should continue. We're still bitter that "Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now" wasn't in the movie (at least, not until the credits). This version should obviously include it -- and perhaps a fun new tune as well?

4. Hopefully NBC will follow Fox's lead and have a live audience for this show. NBC's previous outings haven't had an in-studio audience, and that lack of energy and interaction makes it more difficult for the cast -- not to mention a bit awkward at home. Let those talented people hear some applause!

5. Shanice Williams was such a revelation as Dorothy in The Wiz; the big buzzy castings like Walken as Captain Hook certainly attract headlines, but there's no substitute for the thrill of discovering someone brand-new for something like this. Hairspray has a big cast with tons of juicy, fun parts (looking at you, Edna Turnblad). It would be great if NBC could continue their own trend and hire an unknown as Tracy Turnblad (much like how Nikki Blonsky was an unknown when the film version was released).

What do you hope to see when NBC tackles Hairspray?

THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.