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Ariana Grande pursued Hairspray Live! role

Singer Ariana Grande chased down the role of Penny Pingleton in the upcoming Hairspray Live!.

The Problem singer was so excited to land the part in the upcoming TV special she instructed her manager to call producers and add her name to the list of wannabes.

"When we started casting, we hadn't gotten to those roles yet, and we got a call from her manager saying she would like to play Penny," executive producer Craig Zadan tells Entertainment Tonight. "We were overwhelmed and thrilled and pinching ourselves. (We were) thrilled that she wanted to play Penny and didn't say, 'Write me a new song'.

"She said, 'I love Hairspray, I love Penny. Don't change anything. Don't make it bigger. Let me play the part as it exists'. It shows her passion for doing this."

And the co-producer admits Ariana would not have been the obvious name that came to mind for the role: "Penny is a very shy kind of school booky-type of character that eventually is able to find her voice when she joins this group of kids trying to change the world," he adds.

Hairspray Live! will air on 7 December (16).

The cast also includes Rosie O'Donnell, Sean Hayes, Jennifer Hudson and Broadway veterans Kristin Chenoweth and Harvey Fierstein.

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