“Hairspray Live!” is changing up the game on the original musical, opting to use a new song as the show’s closer.
Before you panic, “You Can’t Stop the Beat” will still be part of the show, it just won’t act as the finale song. Instead, Craig Zadan and Kenny Leon have opted to use “How Far We’ve Come,” a song written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman for the “Hairspray” movie, to close the show.
“We listened to the song recently, and we thought — boy, if you listen to those lyrics, it’s just so much about where the country is right now, where we are right now,” Zadan says. “And it looks back and looks forward at the same time. So we went to Marc and Scott, and we said, ‘Please, figure out a way to use it.'”
Unfortunately, it’s no simple task figuring out how to add a song into a musical like “Hairspray,” which is a well-oiled machine that keeps the momentum moving for three straight hours. When the two producers couldn’t find a way to slot it comfortably into the show, they decided the song would work best as a finale number anyway.
Next came the decision to pick which cast members would sing the piece, which was an easy choice. Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson, who play Penny and Maybelle respectively, will turn the song into a duet.
“It then sums up everything that you’ve seen before for the last three hours,” Zadan says. “And when you hear it, you’ll fall on the floor.”
It sounds like this live performance will be full of fun new changes to the original show as well as hidden easter eggs for die hard fans to pick out. More than anything though, we’re excited to see “Hairspray Live!” broadcast an encouraging message of hope and acceptance to its viewers.
“Hairspray Live!” airs Wednesday (Dec. 7) at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.