The Surprising Way Hairspray Live!'s Ariana Grande and Kristin Chenoweth First Met
If you think about it, Kristin Chenoweth and Ariana Grande actually have a lot in common. Both are teeny-tiny (Chenoweth is 4-foot-11; Grande is 5-foot-1) with huge voices. Both got their big break on Broadway before moving on to TV, film, and pop music. And both are heading back to their roots this week in NBC’s Hairspray Live!.
But long before the two were co-stars—and gushing about each other on Instagram, Grande was just another massive fangirl of the Broadway legend. “I met Ariana years ago when she was just a little girl,” Chenoweth tells InStyle. “When I was in Wicked, she came backstage with her brother Frankie to meet me. We sort of just fell in love. And now we finally get to work together!”
Chenoweth, who plays Velma Von Tussle, says it has been like one big reunion all around with the star-studded cast. “Harvey Fierstein, Sean Hayes, Rosie O’Donnell—please! They’re all my old buddies,” she says. “And honestly, I’ve been wanting to do something with Jennifer Hudson for a while now. I just want to be in the same room as her—she’s so talented. We hit it off at the first table read and it’s been a blast ever since!”
The other fast friend that Chenoweth made? Newcomer Dove Cameron, who plays her daughter, Amber Von Tussle. “Dove is like my baby at this point and I’m her mama,” she says. “I don’t know how else to explain it. If I had a child, it would be Dove. She’s the best.”
Perhaps the two can help calm each other’s nerves before they hit the stage. “People are confused when they tell me, ‘This will be nothing for you because you’re used to performing live,’” she says. “Yes, that’s true. But I’m used to performing live several nights in a row, where I have many opportunities to get it right. This is only once—it’s frightening. As long as I don’t fall, hopefully I’ll be good!”
Hairspray Live! is on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
Watch a sneak peak above.