Tag Archives: “Liv and Maddie”

Dove earns (a few) positive notices for “Hairspray” performance

Reviews ran hot and cold for NBC’s “Hairspray Live,” which aired Wednesday night. But the notices were more positive for Bainbridge Island product Dove Cameron: The critics who noticed her seemed to like her.

The live-musical telecast, the fourth undertaken by NBC, was in many opinions the strongest so far. But it scuttled itself with many, many commercial breaks, lengthened by “behind-the-scenes” reports, that robbed it of its continuity and momentum.

I thought the New York Times’ review put it best: “NBC lassoed some talented performers with fine singing voices but sacrificed cohesion by cramming the evening with too much interstitial fluff.” The Times’ review, incidentally, made no mention of Cameron (at front in the blue party dress in the photo below), who played mean-girl Amber Von Tussle.

Newsday’s review made it sound like the reviewer would like to have seen more of her: “The great Kristin Chenoweth played Velma Von Tussle, though more as a Rockette than a racist. (Dove Cameron 636161081576933366-nup-176247-0879as her daughter, Amber, was good, but barely present).”

Hollywood Life’s Dina Sartore-Bodo seemed the most enthusiastic of any of the reviewers surveyed: “Speaking of duos that defied expectations, who didn’t love the chemistry between Dove Cameron and Kristin Chenoweth?! The Von Tussles haven’t looked this good since the original show in 2003!” That was the sentiment, although less gushing, in ew.com’s review: Kristin Chenoweth and Dove Cameron played the demonically blonde Von Tussles, a perfect pairing of mean-girl matriarch and fat-shaming teen fascist.”

Variety was quick to point out Cameron’s draw to younger viewers, owing to her successes on the Disney Channel — most notably playing both title characters in the sitcom “Liv and Maddie:” “It helped that Disney alums Ariana Grande, Dove Cameron and Garrett Clayton are all bona fide stars to the youngest members of the audience.”

Other review snippets:

USA Today: Those were just two standouts in what may be the strongest cast a TV musical has gathered. Veterans like Kristin Chenoweth, Jennifer Hudson, Derek Hough and Martin Short blended perfectly with Ariana Grande, Dove Cameron, Garrett Clayton and Ephraim Sykes — with each having a moment to shine.

The Hollywood Reporter: “The imbalance (between the show’s veteran stars and younger cast members) turned what has always been a tremendously entertaining musical into a lumbering vehicle, made worse by awkward ’60s-style “live” commercials and deadening segues to an over-enthusiastic Darren Criss with the studio audience.” Cameron, though, earned the terse positive “strong” in a parenthetical item.

Washington Post: “Dove Cameron … seemed particularly well-cast as Tracy’s nemesis, the bratty Amber Von Tussle.

St. Louis Post Dispatch: “Dove Cameron … was a great mean girl.”


‘Hairspray Live’ could be a breakout role for Dove Cameron

On NBC.com’s “Hairspray Live” page, Dove Cameron gets first billing.

OK, the list is alphabetical. But still …

The Bainbridge Island-raised Cameron is part of the all-star cast of NBC’s latest foray into live-theater telecasts. which airs at 8 p.m. Dec. 7. In the adaptation of John Waters‘ cult movie hit, she plays Amber Von Tussle, the lead dancer on the Corny Collins TV show who feels her top-of-the-heap status challenged by “pleasingly plump” newcomer Tracy Turnblad.

Cameron, a veteran of Disney Channel series “Liv and Maddie” — in which she plays both title roles as identical-twin sisters — and movies like “Descendants

HAIRSPRAY LIVE! -- Season: 2016 -- Pictured: Dove Cameron as Amber Von Tussle -- (Photo by: Brian Bowen Smith/NBC)
HAIRSPRAY LIVE! — Season: 2016 — Pictured: Dove Cameron as Amber Von Tussle — (Photo by: Brian Bowen Smith/NBC)

and “Cloud Nine,” again will be teamed with Kristin Chenoweth, a veteran Broadway and movie star and Dove Cameron supporter who played Cameron’s mother in “Descendants.” She’s cast as Velma Von Tussle, Amber’s bigoted mother.

The cast also features Harvey Fierstein, Ariana Grande, Martin Short, Jennifer Hudson and Andrea Martin. Tracy will be played by newcomer Maddie Baillio.

“Hairspray Live” will attempt to break a string of less-than-enthusiastic reactions to NBC’s earlier live-theater telecasts, which began with 2014’s “Peter Pan” and have also included “The Sound of Music” and “The Wiz.”

As part of the promotional blitz for “Hairspray Live,” the cast was featured in a remote performance during NBC’s coverage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which you can watch here: http://www.nbc.com/hairspray-live/video/hairspray-live-macys-thanksgiving-day-parade-performance/3429754

Prior to relocating to Hollywood to pursue her acting and singing careers, Cameron performed in several productions at Bainbridge Performing Arts.

— MM

Dove Cameron tabbed for ‘Hairspray Live’ role

Bainbridge Island product Dove Cameron has sung and danced her way onto NBC’s December live broadcast of the Tony Award-winning hit musical “Hairspray.”

Cameron, currently playing identical twin sisters on the Disney Channel series “Liv and Ma0429_KSFE_Doveddie” (which begins airing its fourth season this fall), has been tapped to star as mean girl Amber Von Tussle.

Another Disney Channel alum, Garrett Clayton (the “Teen Beach Movie” franchise) was announced to play teen heartthrob Link Larkin. The casting of Cameron — who turned 20 in January — and Clayton is thought to be a move by NBC to attract a younger audience to the network’s ongoing series of small-screen live musical adaptations.

Previously, NBC announced that Harvey Fierstein will recreate his Tony Award-winning Broadway role as Edna Turnblad; Kristin Chenoweth is on board as Velma Von Tussle; Martin Short will play Wilbur Turnblad; pop star Ariana Grande is cast as Penny Pingleton; Derek Hough will be TV host Corny Collins; Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson will play Motormouth Maybelle. Newcomer Maddie Baillio, a New York high school sophomore, won the role of Tracy Turnblad.

Chenoweth, one of the biggest stars in musical theater, was Cameron’s castmate in the 2015 Disney Channel movie “Descendants,” and voiced her support for Cameron to be cast in Disney’s upcoming big-screen version of “Wicked,” in the role of Glinda — which Chenoweth played on Broadway.

“Descendants 2” is set to air on Disney Channel in 2017. Cameron also has participated in other Disney Channel products, including a lead role in the film “Cloud 9.” Outside of the Disney Channel, she earned thumbs-up reviews for her part in the 2015 film “Barely Lethal.” She made her first marks on Hollywood in 2012 with guest spots on the TV series “Shameless” and “The Mentalist.”

“Hairspray Live” will air December 7 at 8 p.m. on NBC.

— MM