Ariana Grande joins NBC’s ‘Hairspray Live!’ cast as Penny Pingleton

Ariana Grande has announced she is joining the cast of NBC's
Ariana Grande has announced she is joining the cast of NBC’s “Hairspray Live!” Above, Grande attends the Billboard Music Awards on May 22, 2016, in Las Vegas. Photo Credit: Mort Kaye Studios/ Courtesy of Junior’s

Ariana Grande has joined the cast of NBC’s upcoming “Hairspray Live!”

The network said Thursday that the singer-actress, 23, would play Penny Pingleton, Tracy Turnblad’s incorrigible best friend, on the live TV production of the Broadway musical, based on John Waters’ 1988 movie comedy.

“Penny has been a dream role since Hairspray opened on Broadway” in 2002, Grande tweeted. “At 9, I was (and still am) in LOVE w Kerry Butler,” who originated the role onstage. “Hope to make u proud.” Butler, whose many Broadway credits also include Belle in “Beauty and the Beast,” tweeted back, “You are PERFECT for Penny!! My daughter and I still watch you on [the Nickelodeon series] Victorious. So excited for you!!”

Grande added, “I’m so honored and beyond excited to be a part of this dream cast…… I will for sure pass out at the table read.”

Harvey Fierstein, who reprises his Broadway role as Tracy’s mother Edna in the NBC production, airing Dec. 7, tweeted to Grande, “Ain’t no joke! And I can’t wait! You are so talented and I am so excited! xoxox Mama Harvey.” Kristin Chenoweth, who plays Velma Von Tussle, the self-promoting and manipulative producer of “The Corny Collins Show,” who strives to make her daughter a star, tweeted that she was “thrilled to share the stage with Ariana Grande as Penny . . . coming full circle, how fun!”

The telecast also stars Jennifer Hudson, Martin Short, Derek Hough and newcomer Maddie Baillio as Tracy.

“Hairspray Live!” is scheduled to air on Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. from Los Angeles.