Singer Ariana Grande has been added to the cast for NBC’s Hairspray Live!, playing the role of Penny Pingleton, Tracy Turnblad’s incorrigible best friend.
Ariana joins an announced cast that includes Harvey Fierstein, Jennifer Hudson, Kristin Chenoweth, Martin Short, Derek Hough and newcomer Maddie Baillio. The highly anticipated live musical production, to be telecast Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, will be executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to round out our all-star Hairspray Live! cast with Ariana Grande, one of the biggest recording artists in the world,” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “She’s also a Broadway baby at heart, having debuted on Broadway when she was 15, and will be fantastic in the delightful role of Penny Pingleton. We look forward to her millions of fans seeing yet another side to this multifaceted performer and we welcome her to this incredible ensemble of artists.”
In 2013 Grande reached #1 on the Billboard Top 200 twice — first with her first solo debut, ”Yours Truly,” and also with its follow-up, ”My Everything.”
Earlier this year Ariana released her third full-length album, Dangerous Woman, which was driven by the title track that reached #1 on both iTunes Overall Top Songs Chart and Top Pop Songs Chart minutes after release. ”Dangerous Woman” also debuted in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and earned her the distinction of becoming the first artist to debut on the chart with the lead single from her first three albums.
As an actress, Ariana reprised her Victorious role as Cat Valentine in the 2013 Nickelodeon series Sam & Cat. Last year, she co-starred in the Fox series Scream Queens. In March, Grande was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, marking her second appearance on the late-night franchise.
On the stage, Ariana was cast as a cheerleader in 2008 in the Broadway musical 13.
Hairspray Live!, which will originate from Los Angeles, is produced by Universal Television.