Is The 'Hairspray Live!' Cast Lip Syncing? They're Ready For Their Big Moment
As a self-proclaimed musical theater nerd, I could not be happier about the influx of live television musicals that the major broadcast networks have been producing. From The Wiz to Grease, most of these shows have been amazing (my least favorite was The Sound Of Music, but that’s probably because I don’t love The Sound Of Music all that much). Now I’m super psyched for Hairspray Live!, even though there’s no Zac Efron in this one. But putting on such an elaborate production live presents so many unique challenges, I wouldn't blame the Hairspray Live! cast for lip syncing if that's what they choose to do, but the plan seems to be for the stars to sing live on Wednesday, Dec. 7.
Because the cast of Hairspray Live! recorded a cast soundtrack for streaming and iTunes, and were clearly lip syncing when they showed a preview of the show during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (though everyone lip syncs in the parade), I could see why people might be confused. But no need to worry, it seems that the cast of Hairspray Live! intends to sing live and in front of our very eyes when the show starts, though there are measures in place in case of any audio issues. Technical director Alex Rudzinski told Billboard:
"Unfortunately, even though the powers of NBC are strong, we don’t have control over the airspace on the night ... So if we have a helicopter flying overhead that becomes annoying, what we do have is the recording session that we did in the studios, and we run stems of all the leads and the backing track, so we have the ability to pull the natural sound back a little bit and push the recording in real time, if it becomes a problem."
If he lost you with some of the technical terms, Rudzinski is basically saying that he has the prerecorded songs from the soundtrack split into their different layers of audio, so if there is a noise interference, they can lower the live sounds and play some of the prerecorded songs. Since he specifically said that this would only happen if there was a helicopter, this seems to be an "in case of emergency" plan, which means that unless something crazy happens, the cast will be singing live. As someone who's already listened to the Hairspray Live! soundtrack, here are the songs I'm most excited to hear performed live on Wednesday night.
Unlike previous versions of Hairspray, Link Larkin does not sing this song in the live production. Instead, it is performed by Derek Hough's Corny Collins, and it still makes me want to dance.
"I Can Hear The Bells"
I'm still not sold on Ariana Grande as Penny, but Maddie Baillio's Tracy combines the Broadway voice needed to sing this song and the humor to land some of the tongue-in-cheek lyrics.
"Run And Tell That"
Ephraim Sykes, who plays Seaweed, used to be in Hamilton, so as a Hamilton super fan, I want to touch everything related to the musical. This applies.
"You Can’t Stop The Beat"
How would I not be excited about this song? It’s the quintessential song of Hairspray, and it’s also the song voted “Most Likely To Get Stuck In My Head For The Next Six Weeks.”
NBC put together quite the cast for Hairspray Live!, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it all comes together — the sets, the music, the production quality, and the live singing. You just can’t stop the beat, you know?
Images: Trae Patton/NBC; Giphy (4)