Penny Pingleton
The 1988 and the 2007 Penny


Penny "Lou" Pingleton




Prudence Pingleton (1988)
Prudy Pingleton (2007)
Paddy Pingleton (father) (1988 only)


Tracy Turnblad
Corny Collins (probably)
Little Inez Stubbs
Motormouth Maybelle
The Corny Collins Show Members (Some)


Amber Von Tussle (formerly)
Velma Von Tussle (probably)
The Corny Collins Show Members (Some, formerly)
Franklin Von Tussle (probably) (1988 only)


Seaweed J. Stubbs (boyfriend)


Hairspray (1988 film)
Hairspray (musical)
Hairspray (2007 film)
Hairspray Live! (2016)

Portrayed by:

Leslie Ann Powers (1988)
Kerry Butler (musical) - Broadway
Amanda Bynes (2007)
Ariana Grande (2016)

Penny Lou Pingleton is a character in the 1988 film Hairspray and its 2007 remake. Penny is Tracy's best friend, and her only friend until she meets Link and Seaweed. She is the only daughter of the Pingleton Family.

Personality and Role

Penny is a ditzy, socially-awkward teenage girl whose best friend is Tracy Turnblad. Both girls share a deep interest in the Corny Collins show, where they are seen rushing over to Tracy's house to watch in both films.

In the 1988 film, she tries to audition for the Corny Collins Show, but it denied due to her social-awkwardness. In the 2007 remake, she attends the record hop with Tracy. In both films, she is seen rushing over to the Turnblad residence to show Tracy's parents their daughter's debut on the Corny Collins Show.

Penny is introduced to Seaweed and the two strike up a friendship. This puts her at odds with her abusive, racist, religiously-devout mother, Prudy. Prudy does not approve of The Corny Collins Show or Tracy's push for desegregation. In order to keep her away from Tracy and her integrated friends group, Prudy locks Penny in her bedroom. In the 2007 film, she also ties Penny to the bed using a jump rope.

Seaweed quickly comes to the rescue, and the two realize their love for each other. In most adaptations, it is implied that Penny would no longer return to her mother.

In the 2007 film, she and Seaweed join in the finale "You Can't Stop the Beat" on the Corny Collins Show. They look on as Seaweed's younger sister Little Inez is crowned "Miss Teenage Hairspray 1962".


"I Can Hear the Bells"

"You Can't Stop The Beat"

"Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now"


The character of Penny appears in every major adaptation of Hairspray.

Hairspray (1988) Leslie Ann Powers Originated the film role of Penny.
Original Broadway Production[1] Kerry Butler Originated the stage role of Penny.
Jennifer Gambatese replacementJuly 15, 2003 - April 11, 2004

June 15, 2004

Brooke Tansley replacementApril 13, 2004 -
Tracy Miller replacement- Feb 5, 2006
Diana DeGarmo replacementFeb 7, 2006 - May 14, 2006

Sep 8, 2006 - Feb 11, 2007

Caissie Levy replacement- Sep 10, 2006
Alexa PenaVega replacementFeb 13, 2007 - Aug 5, 2007
Niki Scalera replacementAug 6, 2007 -
Hairspray (2007) Amanda Bynes
Hairspray Live! (2016) Ariana Grande



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