“We are very happy to have the inimitable Martin Short to play Edna’s loving husband, Wilbur,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment.
“We welcome Marty to the network in May in his new variety show with Maya Rudolph and we think he will be the perfect long-term companion to Harvey’s Edna,” he continued. “And hands-down the best dancer on television and one of the best in the entertainment business, Derek Hough, will be perfect in the role of Corny Collins, the cocky song-and-dance-man who hosts the TV show every teenager in Baltimore wants to be on.”
Short is a celebrated actor and comedian with a career spanning more than 30 years. He has appeared in highly popular comedies like “Three Amigos,” “Innerspace” and the faux talk show “Primetime Glick.” He won a Tony, Theatre World Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award for his role in the revival of “Little Me.”
Hough won a pair of Emmys for choreography for the ABC series “Dancing With the Stars.” He appeared on the show for 16 seasons and won six times with six different dance partners, including Brooke Burke, Jennifer Grey and Amber Riley.
Based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, “Hairspray Live!” takes place in 1962 Baltimore. Teenager Tracy Turnblad’s dream is to dance on “The Corny Collins Show,” a local TV program.
When, against all odds, Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight and meets a colorful array of characters, including the resident dreamboat, Link; the ambitious mean girl, Amber; an African-American boy she meets in detention, Seaweed; and his mother, Motormouth Maybelle, the owner of a local record store. Tracy’s mother is the indomitable Edna Turnblad, and she eventually encourages Tracy on her campaign to integrate the all-white “Corny Collins Show.”
Short and Hough join previously announced cast members Jennifer Hudson and Harvey Fierstein. Live television director Alex Rudzinski will join director Kenny Leon. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron serve as executive producers of “Hairspray Live!” Harvey Fierstein will provide a new teleplay and Jerry Mitchell will serve as choreographer for the live production with music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
“Hairspray Live” will air Dec. 7 at 8 p.m./7c on NBC.