Ariana Grande didn’t want her supporting role in the live TV version of musical Hairspray to be expanded just because of her star power.
The Problem singer was cast a Penny Pingleton in the U.S. network NBC’s Hairspray Live! and she has insisted she is fine with playing a supporting character, who doesn’t get a lot of opportunity to show off vocally, and has not asked for the role to be enlarged just because she is a big star known for her strong voice.
Ariana told the audience at the Television Critics Association panel on Tuesday (02Aug16) that she was happy taking a back seat and letting the lead characters shine.
“I don’t want to change anything about the role or how she develops,” she said, according to ETOnline.com. “I just love Penny and it’s such a great honour to play her. I don’t want any special icing or parts.”
The show’s producer Neil Meron added that the singer wanted to take the role as it was written and he finds it more powerful that she doesn’t show off her vocal range until one of the production’s final songs.
Ariana, 23, started her career on Broadway at the age of 13 and had been a fan of Hairspray so she feels “grateful” to be part of the live experience. “(I) never thought it would actually happen… It’s kind of surreal for me to even be a part of this,” she smiled.
She also gushed over her co-star, theatre actress Kristin Chenoweth, saying it was overwhelming sharing a stage with her because she is a “theatre geek”.
“Penny’s been my favourite character since the start,” she continued. “This is such a dream come true for me because at heart, theatre is everything to me… Pop music is so fun, but this is way much more fun. So much more.”
Her co-stars also include Jennifer Hudson, Derek Hough, Sean Hayes, and Rosie O’Donnell. The show airs on 7 December (16).