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LGBTQ Stars and Allies Share the Spotlight in “Hairspray Live!”

Tonight, the widely anticipated Hairspray Live! will air on NBC. The star-studded cast features LGBTQ and allied actors, including several longtime HRC supporters.

Hairspray is an American musical based on the 1988 film Hairspray. The film was written and directed by LGBTQ icon John Waters, who has appeared at several HRC events. The musical, as well as film, is a touching coming of age story that celebrates diversity, family, inclusion and acceptance.

Here’s a sneak peek at the cast:

  • Kristin Chenoweth as Velma Von Tussle:
    • Chenoweth is a longtime HRC supporter. The Emmy and Tony Award-winner joined HRC’s Americans for Marriage Equality campaign in 2014, stating, “The bottom line is that regardless of how you were made or who you love, you should be able to get married if you want to get married.  I truly believe it’s that simple.” HRC also honored Chenoweth with an HRC Ally for Equality award.
  • Billy Eichner as Rob Barker:
    • Eichner is an openly gay actor and comedian He was nominated for an Emmy Award as host of Billy on the Street and has starred in several shows, including Parks and Recreation and Difficult People.
  • Harvey Fierstein as Edna Turnblad:
    • Fierstein will reprise his role as Edna Turnblad, which he won a Tony Award for in 2003. He wrote the book for the musical La Cage aux Folles, Newsies and Kinky Boots, which he co-created with longtime HRC supporter Cyndi Lauper. In addition to being an award winning actor and playwright, is a longtime advocate and leader in the LGBTQ community, on and off the stage. Fierstein, who is openly gay, most recently wrote an op-ed in the New York Times detailing the incarceration of the transgender minor in an adult prison, urging stronger laws to protect LGBTQ youth in foster care and more training for child welfare professionals.  He also spoke out against Russia’s dangerous anti-LGBTQ laws and Indiana’s so-called “license to discriminate” bill that could have allowed businesses to deny service to LGBTQ people.
  • Sean Hayes as Mr. Pinky:
    • Hayes, who is openly gay, is best known for his Emmy Award-winning role as Jack in the beloved series Will & Grace. HRC honored Hayes with the HRC Visibility Award in 2012.  
  • Jennifer Hudson as Motormouth Maybelle
    • Hudson is a Grammy Award-winning recording artist, Academy Award-winning actress and longtime HRC supporter. She released an LGBTQ anthem in 2015 (I Still Love You), appeared at HRC’s National Dinner in 2014 and appeared on the cover of HRC’s Equality Magazine in 2014. She was also a part of Turn It Up for Change, the W Hotel’s campaign to support HRC’s work.  “This is America … No one should be discriminated against simply because of who they are or who they love,” Hudson said.
  • Rosie O’Donnell as Health Ed Teacher:
    • The award winning actor, comedian, producer and author has been a longtime advocate for LGBTQ equality. O’Donnell, who is openly gay, is a longtime HRC supporter, appearing in the True Colors Tour in support of HRC in 2007 and 2008.  HRC also honored O’Donnell with the HRC Visibility Award.