Newcomer Nikki Blonsky landed her breakout role when she nabbed the lead in the 2007 movie-musical. Since then, Blonsky has gone on to star in ABC Family's “Huge”, but has been unable to maintain the same level of stardom she first tasted ten years ago.
In NBC’s 2016 live-action version of "Hairspray", the role of Tracy Turnblad was played by yet another breakout star, Maddie Baillio, who made her professional acting debut in the highly anticipated revamp.
Who could forget the transformation that John Travolta underwent to play the colourful Edna Turnblad? Slipping into sequins and a shapely wig, the Oscar winner took on the big, bold and beautiful drag role to great acclaim.
Most recently, Travolta delivered another rousing performance — though slightly less flamboyant — in “American Crime Story”, which saw him star as Robert Shapiro.
In 2016, NBC tapped Broadway’s original Edna, Harvey Fierstein, to star in the live telecast.
In 2007, the role of Wilbur Turnblad went to the one and only Christopher Walken. The Hollywood veteran added just the right amount of quirk to the novelty-store owner, who encouraged Tracy to follow her dreams.
On the small screen, Martin Short did the role justice, bringing his signature comedic style to the Turnblad family.
Movie-musical veteran Zac Efron stepped into the role of Link Larkin (originally played by “Glee” star Matthew Morrison on Broadway) in the 2007 film adaptation of the successful play.
After starring in three "High School Musical" movies and a string of comedies, Efron has set himself up for a major year with 2017's "Baywatch" reboot, “The Disaster Artist” (alongside James Franco and Seth Rogen), and another musical, “The Greatest Showman” (starring Hugh Jackman, Zendaya and Michelle Williams).
In 2016, NBC turned to “Teen Beach Movie” star Garrett Clayton to revive the role on the small screen.
Velma Von Tussle
Michelle Pfeiffer revived her inner sassy sexpot when she took on the role of “Hairspray’s” main antagonist, Velma Von Tussle. These days — after a years-long hiatus — Pfeiffer is plotting a major comeback. With four projects, including “Murder on the Orient Express”, slated for release later this year, 2017 is definitely her year.
2016’s NBC reboot called on the Broadway-turned-Hollywood star Kristin Chenoweth to take over from Pfeiffer. This year, she’ll be adding her signature voice to animated films “My Little Pony: The Movie” and “The Star”.
Amber Von Tussle
After bringing mean girl Amber Von Tussle to the big screen in 2007, Brittany Snow landed another box-office-busting movie-musical role with “Pitch Perfect”. In 2015, she reprised her Chloe Beale character for the film’s sequel and will also star in “Pitch Perfect 3”, slated for a December 22 release.
In NBC’s live-action reboot, Von Tussle was played by Disney star Dove Cameron, who currently stars in “Liv and Maddie” and will also reprise her role as Mal in this year’s “Descendants 2”.
Motormouth Maybelle came alive on screen thanks to the acting talents of Queen Latifah. Since delivering the unforgettable number “I Know Where I’ve Been”, Latifah has gone on to take Hollywood by storm, earning herself one Golden Globe, one Emmy and two Screen Actors Guild awards — and even went on to host her own talk show.
When it came time to reboot the musical on the small screen, NBC turned to another triple threat, Jennifer Hudson, to replace Latifah. Needless to say, the Oscar-winning singer-actress surpassed everyone’s highest expectations.
Amanda Bynes was at the pinnacle of her career when she starred as the pig-tailed Penny Pingleton. Despite starring in a few other big-screen roles since then, the actress followed a downward spiral and in 2010 announced her retirement from acting. In the years that followed, Bynes was charged with a DUI, multiple hit-and-runs, and drug possession. In 2014, she was placed under psychiatric hold twice. Bynes has since announced she would be returning to school to study fashion design.
It was Ariana Grande who took Bynes’ place for the 2016 live-action remake, and gave the role new life with her signature attitude and chart-topping vocals.
Seaweed J. Stubbs
It was Elijah Kelley who played Motormouth Maybelle’s son, talented dancer Seaweed J. Stubbs. Though Kelley’s career failed to take off after the 2007 film, he did manage to land roles in “Lee Daniels' The Butler” and “Boys of Abu Ghraib”. And while he didn’t star in the NBC live-action version, the network cast him in 2015’s “The Wiz Live!”, and earlier this year, he starred in BET's first scripted miniseries, “The New Edition Story”.
In 2016, “Vinyl” star Ephraim Sykes stepped into Kelley’s shoes for NBC’s remake.
Corny Collins was played by the established Hollywood star, James Marsden, who continued to land high-profile roles well beyond his turn as the host of “The Corny Collins Show”. Since 2007, Marsden’s star has reached meteoric levels after reprising his role as Scott Summers in the “X-Men” franchise and starring in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”. He currently thrills in J.J. Abrams' “Westworld”.
In 2016, the role of Corny Collins was taken over by “Dancing with the Stars” mainstay Derek Hough. Currently, Hough is a judge on NBC’s “World of Dance” and will guest-star on the network’s upcoming Kourtney Kang comedy.