Posted by | Ray Cornelius
Congrats to Ephraim Sykes and Shahadi Wright Joseph! The two have been added to the all-star cast of NBC’s highly anticipated production of “Hairspray Live!” Sykes and Joseph will play Seaweed J. Stubbs and Little Inez, respectively.
The pair will join the previously announced lineup of superstars including Harvey Fierstein, Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, Kristin Chenoweth, Martin Short, Derek Hough, Dove Cameron, Garrett Clayton and exciting newcomer Maddie Baillio. There will also be special appearances by Sean Hayes, Andrea Martin and Rosie O’Donnell.
Seaweed J. Stubbs is a hip and kind-hearted dancer who befriends Tracy in detention and teaches her some new moves. He is also the son of Motormouth Maybelle (Hudson) who falls in love with Tracy’s best friend, Penny (Grande).
Little Inez is Seaweed’s younger sister, who tries to audition for “The Corny Collins Show” but is at first turned away because she is African-American.
Sykes has been a member of the “Hamilton” company ever since the musical sensation, which recently won 11 Tony Awards, opened on Broadway in August 2015. Prior to his role in “Hamilton,” Sykes appeared in four other Broadway musicals — “Motown the Musical,” “Newsies,” “Memphis” and “The Little Mermaid.”
Wright Joseph is an American singer, actor and dancer who at age 9 made history as the youngest actor to play Young Nala in Disney’s Broadway production of “The Lion King.” In fall 2015 Wright Jones joined the original Broadway cast of “School of Rock,” playing the role of Madison and understudied the role of Tomika.
In “Hairspray Live!,” 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, and she eventually encourages Tracy on her campaign to integrate the all-white “Corny Collins Show.”
Acclaimed live television director Alex Rudzinski will join Tony-winning director Kenny Leon. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron serve as executive producers of “Hairspray Live!”