As a way of bringing a non-violent alternative to reducing Hell’s overpopulation, the bright-eyed daughter of Lucifer, a.k.a. the devil, opens a rehabilitation hotel so that misfit demons get a chance at redemption. The goal: Get them to Heaven. It’s all part of the hellish hijinks happening in Hazbin Hotel, the highly anticipated animated comedy series from Vivienne Medrano, whose pilot episode garnered more than 92 million views when it dropped back in 2019.
Prime Video grabs the creative baton, keeping Medrano on board as showrunner and ushers in a slew of Broadway stars — Jeremy Jordan, Erika Henningsen, Stephanie Beatriz, Darren Criss, and many more — to breathe life (or afterlife) into the popular characters. “I just love that there’s this very gay love story in the middle of all this absolutely unhinged, bananas comedy [with] songs, joke on joke, then there’s this really core central relationship that is so grounded and real,” said Stephanie Beatriz, who plays Vaggie, the BFF and love interest of Lucifer’s daughter Charlie (Henningsen).
“I love those things in projects and that I’m always desperately searching for it — stacked jokes and a feeling of reality within the project, even though the project is sort of otherworldly,” she added. Series stars Erika Henningsen, Stephanie Beatriz, Blake Roman, and Keith David give MovieWeb the lowdown on their characters and much more in excerpts from this exclusive interview.
Erika Henningsen as Lucifer’s Daughter
- Release Date
- October 20, 2019
- Vivienne Medrano
Hazbin Hotel picks up in Hell, of course. After the annual extermination imposed by angels, Lucifer’s daughter, Charlie, opens a hotel, bringing along her girlfriend Vaggie and a powerful entity known as the “Radio Demon” (a.k.a. Alastor, played by Amir Talai) along for the ride. Early on, Charlie sings the pulse-pounding anthem, “Happy Day in Hell.” We dig the lyrics:
There’s a warm, fuzzy feeling that wafts through the air / Every street so revealing, it’s hard not to stare / It’s a realm so appealing, it bеats anywhere / If you don’t mind the smеll / It’s a happy day in Hell
“It’s theatrical,” beamed Erika Henningsen of her character. Henningsen originated the role of Cady in the 2018 Tony-nominated musical Mean Girls. She also agreed with MovieWeb that “Happy Day in Hell” could easily transition well into a live stage version should Broadway ever come calling:
That [song] was on the first day I recorded for Hazbin Hotel. It was thrilling because as I heard the song, I thought, ‘Oh, I know who this character is now. Our composer and lyricist Sam Haft and Andrew Underberg did such an incredible job.
Henningsen went on to say how challenging it is to write a funny musical comedy song that’s actually funny, then add the R-rated raunchiness on top of it. “They nailed it while still staying true to Charlie’s character and what she would sound like when she breaks into song. I remember the first time singing it in the booth — my body got hot with excitement and joy. Hopefully people will feel a fraction of that when they see it. Throughout the season, they switch genres so beautifully depending on who they’re writing for. Their skills [as music producers] are limitless.”
One fun bit in episode one finds Charlie meeting with an angel to discuss redemption options for Hell’s populace. Charlie reaches out to shake an angel’s hand, but the angel is translucent, prompting the celestial being to quip: “I f***-ing got you!” She realizes he is a hologram of sorts and is not in the room with her — beaming “down,” if you will. “You think I come down there?” the angel shoots back. “No. I love the vibe. I love the tunes. Pretty f***ing hardcore, don’t get me wrong. But it’s such a bummer, man!”
Stephanie Beatriz on Playing a Badass
A Hazbin Hotel heads up: Apparently, episode four of the series delivers a surprising pivot, sending the series toward a wild season one finale. Stephanie Beatriz, best known for playing Rosa on Brooklyn Nine-Nine and the voice of Mirabel in Encanto, said she couldn’t be more pleased with playing X-eyed Vaggie, whose deep loyalty to Charlie stands out.
“I love this character. She’s certainly in my wheelhouse. I have a history of playing kind of badass b*tches, and she is one of those, but she’s also got a heart of gold. One of the core relationships in Hazbin Hotel is the relationship between Charlie and Vaggie, and their love story, and this deep love that Vaggie has for Charlie. She’ll do anything for her. She’ll move mountains to make her dreams come true.”
She said she knew about the big pilot prior to coming on board. When she read the scripts, she understood where Vivienne Medrano was coming from on the creative side. “She has just an incredible imagination and the world-building she’s done in Hazbin Hotel is absolutely epic.”
When asked why it’s the right time for the series to come out and the importance of queer representation, even in animated form, she added: “I think we’re in a very lucky time that we are getting so much LGBTQ+ representation in art,’ she said. “There will always be more. I’m never going to turn on my TV and say, that’s enough.”
Keith David as Husk
The character of Husk captured attention early on. Dubbed a “sinner demon,” he’s a front desk clerk and bartender at the Hazbin Hotel. Alastor summons Husk, a singer and gambler, to work at the hotel. For Keith David, known for his spectacular voice roles on Rick and Morty and Krapopolis, playing Husk stretched his creativity.
“He fascinated me,” he said of Husk. “I always love to see what the character looks like before I start voicing it. And I had, of course, with the pilot, I had a reference. Then we bring what we bring to the character, you know?”
He said he and Vivienne Medrano got in sync to flesh things out further. “My first impression of Husk was, well, he looked to me — I’m dating myself with this reference — but he’s sort of an out-of-this-world version of Top Cat. Back in the day, we had Top Cat. And he reminded me of a rougher version, you know what I mean? He brings that voice of reality, you don’t mess with me kind of thing. I was just happy to run with the ball.”
Blake Roman as Angel Dust
Angel Dust was a popular adult film star. Now, she is cavorting with misfits in Hell. He’s also checked into the hotel. Is Heaven his next stop? Voiced by Blake Roman, Angel Dust is one of the main characters in the series. Expect plenty of interaction between him, Charlie, and Vaggie.
“The thing that most drew me to Angel Dust is the same thing that was a large challenge for me,” Roman said, “and it’s the fact that he contains layers and layers that we very excitingly get to see peeled back throughout this first season.”
He went on to add that he had to take a step back and regroup just to get a hold of the character’s vibe. “For me, it was really about being able to look into myself also and try to empathize with Angel’s situation, his personality, and the way that he constructs himself… understanding myself on that level, too.
“I enjoyed the interplay between him and me and understanding each other empathetically on that front. He’s a character that very much lives in many different places in his mind and heart,” he added. So, yeah, it’s a challenge, but it’s one that I absolutely love.”
You can check into Hazbin Hotel on Prime Video beginning Jan. 19th. Watch it through the link below:
Watch on Prime Video