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How Hairspray Live! Made Ariana Grande a Basketcase: 'We've Cried 10 Hundred Times Today'

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Hairspray Live! is just days away and Ariana Grande says the road to the big day has been “emotional.”

“We’ve cried 10 hundred times today,” Grande, 23, told Entertainment Tonight as she stood next to costar Kristin Chenoweth (who plays Velma von Tussle). “The two of us are basketcases. It’s such an emotional journey for everybody.”

Grande will play Penny Pingleton in NBC’s live event of the movie–turned–broadway musical about a ’60s teenager who lands a spot on a local TV dance show.

Grande told ET that Chenoweth has become like a mother to the cast. And the “Side to Side” singer has even grown close with the show’s star Maddie Baillio, who plays hair-hopping teen Tracy Turnblad.

“She had a party at her mom’s house last night and I came over and we just had a lot of cast bonding,” Baillio said of Grande. “She’s just the sweetest person.”

Baillio wasn’t the only costar gushing about Grande. Jennifer Hudson (a.k.a. Motormouth Maybelle) had some kind words to say about working with the pop star too.

“I’m excited to sing with her,” said Hudson, 35. “I’m a fan.”

She added, “Everybody has great chemistry, so we’re all here having fun.”

RELATED VIDEO: You Can’t Stop … to Breathe! Find Out What Song the Cast Is Scared to Perform on Hairspray Live!

 

Along with Grande, Chenoweth, Baillio and Hudson, Shahadi Wright Joseph (Little Inez), Ephraim Sykes (Seaweed Stubbs), Garrett Clayton (Link Larkin), Harvey Fierstein (Edna Turnblad) and Dove Cameron (Amber von Tussle) will perform in the live production early next month.

Guest stars Sean Hayes, Andrea Martin, Rosie O’Donnell and Billy Eichner will also appear in the musical event.

Hairspray Live! airs Dec. 7 on NBC.