'Hairspray Live' Casting Jennifer Hudson As Motormouth Maybelle Is A Match Made In Heaven
If any actress has the chops to take on a role formerly played by Ruth Brown and Queen Latifah, it's Jennifer Hudson. That's probably exactly why Hudson was cast in Hairspray Live! as Motormouth Mabelle, a role she will light up on the NBC stage soon enough. The American Idol alum has continuously proved both her singing and acting chops across film, television, and on the Broadway stage time and time again. So, now, her next gig is going to be as the strong yet loving character, Motormouth Maybelle, in the popular musical based on the hardships of racial prejudice in 1960s Baltimore.
Hudson joins Alex Rudzinski — the former director of NBC's successful production of Grease Live! — and Harvey Fierstein — the original Edna Turnblad on Broadway now returning to reprise his role — for the live television event already set to air December 7, 2016. The musical will feature popular songs that fans may recognize from both the Broadway show and the 1988 and 2007 films including, "Welcome To The '60s," "You Can't Stop The Beat," and Motormouth Maybelle's solo song now to be performed by Hudson, "I Know Where I've Been." However, as far as the rest of the actors go, the main character, Tracy Turnblad, as well as hottie, Link Larkin, and more still have yet to be cast.
In the meantime, musical fans can revel in the news that Hudson is hoping on-board. Here are just some of the incredible reasons why she is the perfect choice.
1. We Know She Can Perform Live
Making it to the Top 7 in American Idol means that she can definitely sing her heart out on live television and not disappoint. The nerves of being on live television won't get to her now.
2. She Has An Oscar For Dreamgirls
The first movie she ever acted in was the musical Dreamgirls — and she got an Oscar for it. Basically, I wouldn't be surprised if this girl brought home some Emmys for Hairspray Live! That's all I have to say.
3. She Can Hit The Low Notes & The High Notes
Motormouth Maybelle's solo song in the show, "I Know Where I've Been," has a pretty varied vocal range to it. So, can Hudson pull those low notes off? Of course she can! In fact, a fan's video above proves that her vocal range is nothing short of impressive.
4. She's Currently Acting In The Color Purple On Broadway
If you can handle Broadway, then you can handle a live television musical. My only concern with this would be the chance that her role in Hairspray Live! will make her end her ongoing run in The Color Purple. If you were planning on going, get those tickets now.
5. She's Never Been In A Live Television Musical Before
Yes, there are tons of other talented actresses who could have easily played this role as well. In fact, Queen Latifah could have easily reprised her role from the 2007 film. However, it shocked me to find out that Hudson has never been attached to a live television musical before while other talented actresses such as Queen Latifah, Ezo Aduba, Amber Riley, Keke Palmer, Audra McDonald, and more have. All I'm saying is it's about time.
6. She Can Certainly Act
Aside from the singing chops and Oscar for a performance in a musical, her acting has been proven time and time again as well. Hudson has appeared on a couple of episodes of the show Smash, in the movie The Secret Life of Bees, in the show Empire, and, most recently, in the HBO movie Confirmation. Girl's got talent.
7. She's Close With Queen Latifah
It's not like Hudson will need any help anyway, but, just in case she does, she can easily turn to Queen Latifah — who played Motormouth Maybelle in the 2007 movie version of the show — for some advice. Those two worked together on the 2008 film, The Secret Life of Bees, and have remained close ever since.
But, for now, the rest of the casting and the rehearsal process is just beginning. Hairspray Live! will air on NBC December 7, 2016.