Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now!

Assistant Editor, Carnegie Communications

Aug   2016



Does the title of this blog sound familiar? It should if you're familiar with the sassy, brassy musical Hairspray...

Theater majors dream of the day they finally land the lead in their school productions. But one college sophomore sailed straight from student to superstar this year, nabbing the role of a lifetime in NBC’s latest live musical.

Maddie Baillio, a Musical Theatre student at Marymount Manhattan College in New York, will play the lead role of Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray Live! broadcasting on December 7, 2016. Baillio attended an open casting call with 1,000 other young actresses trying out for the part and impressed the casting director with her rendition of “Good Morning Baltimore.”

She has no professional theater experience, having only appeared in the Marymount Manhattan Musical Theatre Program’s productions of Dracula, the Musical and Once Upon a Mattress. But she’ll soon share the spotlight with stage icons and other well-known singers, dancers, and actors, including Harvey Fierstein, Martin Short, Jennifer Hudson, Derek Hough, Rosie O’Donnell, and Ariana Grande.

Baillio spread the good news on social media, tweeting, “Two weeks ago I was studying for finals, and now I'm Tracy Turnblad!” In an interview with, she said she loves Marymount and is “excited to go back, but right now I'm excited to focus on Tracy.”

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