Criss Will Interact With the Production Throughout the Night on Both the Dec. 7 Pre-Show and Network Telecast, as Well as Host Facebook Live
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — Nov. 29, 2016 — Want to see how the backlot of Universal Studios Hollywood transforms into early 1960s Baltimore? Or how Derek Hough, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson and their castmates prepare for each of their scenes?
Giving fans on all platforms an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at all things “Hairspray Live!” while also checking in on live viewing parties around the country, multiplatform host Darren Criss will be the conduit for the millions of fans watching NBC’s monumental three-hour production on the network and as well as for those following the goings-on via Facebook Live.
Criss will appear several times on the highly anticipated Wednesday, Dec. 7 telecast (8 p.m. ET/PT) with live updates of the activities backstage while also serving as host of an innovative multi-camera production on Facebook Live. The digital companion show will feature 35 unique camera angles of what’s happening behind the scenes of the big broadcast as it happens, special access to the cast for their take on making this live spectacle come to fruition, fun facts about all things “Hairspray” and other digital extras to enhance the viewer’s experience.
Criss will also check in on ’60s-themed live viewing parties across the country hosted by NBC stations — WBAL-TV in Baltimore, KPRC-TV in Houston, WCAU-TV in Philadelphia and WXIA-TV in Atlanta.
At 7:30 p.m., Criss will be making appearances on “The Countdown to Hairspray Live!” special to see how the cast and crew are preparing for the telecast. The show will be hosted by co-stars Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes.
Other “Hairspray Live!” social activations include a custom-elevated social media lounge offering 360-degree views of the “Hairspray Live!” sets where top social media influencers will be able to interact with Criss during live on-air and Facebook check-ins, engage with the live audience, create content from behind the scenes and post to social during the live show. NBC will also be activating from all “Hairspray” and NBC social handles via Instagram, Instagram stories, Twitter, Tumblr and a Snapchat Live Story offering fans an additional inside look at “Hairspray Live!”
Criss most recently reprised his critically acclaimed performance as Hedwig in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” at SHN Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco and the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, which kicked off the 2014 Tony Award-winning Best Revival of a Musical’s national tour. The New York Times touted Criss as “mesmerizing” when he first stepped into the title role on Broadway in 2015. He’s best known for playing Blaine Anderson on the Fox series “Glee.” He received an Emmy Award nomination in 2015 for best original music and lyrics for the song “This Time,” which appeared in the episode titled “Dreams Come True.” As a member of the cast, he was also nominated for two Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Criss’ previous credits include “Girl Most Likely,” “American Horror Story,” “Web Therapy” and “Eastwick.” The San Francisco-native is a co-founder of StarKid Productions, a Chicago-based theater company whose works have spurred viral hits, multiple Billboard-charting cast albums and sold-out national tours. He is also the founder of New York City’s first show tunes music festival, Elsie Fest.
Along with Chenoweth and Hayes, “Hairspray Live!” stars Harvey Fierstein, Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, Martin Short, Derek Hough, Dove Cameron, Garrett Clayton, Ephraim Sykes, Shahadi Wright Joseph, newcomer Maddie Baillio, and special guest stars Andrea Martin, Billy Eichner and Rosie O’Donnell.
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.”
Emmy Award-winning live television director Alex Rudzinski (“Dancing with the Stars”) will team with Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon (“The Wiz Live!”) for the Dec. 7 live telecast. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Oscar-winning “Chicago,” “The Wiz Live!”) serve as executive producers of “Hairspray Live!” Harvey Fierstein will also provide a new teleplay and Tony winner Jerry Mitchell (“Kinky Boots,” “On Your Feet”) will serve as choreographer for the live production, with music and lyrics by Tony winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (“Smash,” the upcoming feature “Mary Poppins Returns” and the Broadway-bound “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”).
Rebecca Marks, Rebecca.Marks@nbcuni.com, 818-777-3030
Sharon Pannozzo, Sharon.Pannozzo@nbcuni.com, 212-664-5152
Joey Levine, Joey.Levine@nbcuni.com, 818-777-2326
Erika Lewis, Erika.Lewis@nbcuni.com, 212-664-5478