“I wake up every morning and can’t believe this is happening,” Maddie told us at a recent press junket. “Ariana Grande is playing my best friend!”
The student-turned-star is still trying to grasp what has happened to her this year. The role of Tracy Turnblad was the very first role that she auditioned for outside of productions at her school, Marymount Manhattan College.
“You’re not allowed to audition outside of school because they don’t want you to leave but sometimes you gotta break the rules. I’m so happy I did!” she said.
Maddie found out about the role after seeing an ad on Facebook for an open casting call. To prepare for the part, she prepared a short portion of “Good Morning Baltimore.”
Click inside to read more of our interview with Maddie…
“I woke up at 3 a.m. that day the morning of. I didn’t know at the time that I was going to do this because I was so nervous,” she told JJJ. “But I got there at like 10 a.m. thinking I was going to be one of the first girls there and I was 343 in line.”
Once she was finally called to audition, the producers asked her to sing the second part of the song. She didn’t know the words but won them over after making up her own. But she mastered the tune for her second callback and belted it out in its entirety. After performing a choreography by Hairspray on Broadway’s original choreographer, Jerry, Maddie was awarded the part.
“I got so many chills that I had to call my mom immediately,” she said. “I said, ‘Mom, I got Tracy!’ And she works at NASA so she’s very polite and professional all the time. And she said, ‘Oh I’m so excited for you darling.’ I was like, ‘Mom you gotta scream like they do on American Idol!’ But now she understands.”
Since landing the lead in Hairspray Live!, she has been catapulted into stardom. But she still has her friends to keep her head on straight.
“They do keep me grounded and humble. They are like, ‘You’re just Maddie. We went to iHop the other day,” she said.
The actress says she’s hoping to eventually land a role on Broadway. “I don’t think that I am going to go back to school,” Maddie told us with a grin. “But they are so happy for me over there.”
Hairspray Live! airs on Wednesday, December 7 @ 8PM ET/PT on NBC.
10 Fun Facts: Get to know Maddie more with these fun tidbits!
– Reporting by Nicole Pajer