Hairspray began previews on Broadway on July 18, 2002, after a six-week tryout in Seattle and officially opened on August 15, 2002. Originally based on John Water's 1988 cult film that bore the same name, this message oriented musical became an instant hit. It seems like people were just waiting for something like this to see.
The heart of this award-winning songbook is about Black folks' no longer satisfied with being separate but equal. Placed in early 1960's Baltimore at that time segregation was still the custom, Hairspray Broadway was supposed to educate in a lot of different ways. And of course it did. The Hairspray musical show starts with the main cast the plump Baltimore teen, Tracy Turnblad whose dream is to dance on the popular Corny Collins Show and to steal the beauty queen's hunky beau. She became every teenager girl?s heroine as she endures all over weight related insults and fights her way through the conventional barriers to achieve her dreams.
Tracy becomes successful and famous but now fighting for the rights of Blacks, she takes on the race issue of Baltimore, circa 1962, claiming that black music and dancers should be included with Whites instead of being downgraded to a monthly "Negro Day" hosted by Motormouth Maybelle. Her goofy girl-friend jumps into a relationship with Maybelle's son without caring about her mom's frenzied but vain protestations. The characters interaction of Hairspray is quite funny especially Tracy?s mother?s transformation from a household lady to a fashionable mother of a star is really funny.
Thomas Meehan and Mark O'Donnell did the book adaptation of the story. Being an award winning fun fantasy-with-a-message play, Hairspray fused doo-wop, big do's and a civil-rights struggle very effectively. Even after eight Grammy Awards, Hairspray remains a big hit on Broadway. With brightly colored sets, the buildings have strange angles like that in cartoons to give it a comical touch. The story flashes right in front of your eyes and the show is exciting and entertaining as it finishes quickly.
This original score by Marc Shaiman (who co-wrote the music and lyrics for the acclaimed animated musical, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut) and Scott Wittman, has bagged the Grammy for best music. The catchy songs remain in your head long after the play including ?I?m A Big Girl Now?, ?Once upon a time I used to play with toys, but now I'd rather play around with teenage boys,? ?Can't Stop The Beat? and the last one with smashing beat ?Hi, I'm a dork!? They take Tracy from the soundstage of a 60's-style dance show to the streets of Baltimore to a downtown rhythm and blues record shop.
Hairspray broadway is a complete fun-type entertainment but it has a serious underlined message at its core. It has gripped audience attention and you have to see the show to find out the reason why is it so much appreciated by the critics as well as the spectators. As of October 2006, Hairspray musical has played over 1700 performances and is still going strong!
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