Welcome (back) to the 60s. NBC aired a live-adaptation of the Broadway musical Hairspray on December 7, 2016. Once again, America fell in love Tracy Turnblad on her journey to the television screens of Baltimore, Maryland in the 1960s.
The beginning of all the popping and locking began when the movie Hairspray came out in 1988. It then continued when Hairspray hit the Broadway stage in 2002. After becoming a huge hit on Broadway, the show won three main TONY awards. These awards included Best Musical, Best Book, and Best Score.
The story on which the musical is based revolves around a young plus-sized girl who strives to be on a local live television dancing show: The Corny Collins Shows. She eventually wins a spot on the show and becomes a local celebrity, to the disdain of some of the other dancers on the show (and their parents). Tracy creates even more waves when she advocates for the show to become integrated.
The characters in the musical include Tracy’s parents, Edna and Wilbur Turnblad; Tracy’s best friend, Penny Pingleton; Tracy’s dream beau, Link Larson; her arch enemies, Amber and Velma Von Tussle; and the fiery Motormouth Maybelle.
Hairspray Live! had a very large following and after last year’s productions of The Wiz Live! and Grease Live!, Hairspray Live! had very big shoes to fill. The people involved know the show and how popular it is among its fans so they don’t want to disappoint.
Before seeing the live production, Alexy Servello (’17) said, “I think all casting decisions were good choices for the character, and I am very excited to see how well they portray the characters.”
The cast included Kristin Chenoweth, Jennifer Hudson, Martin Short, Harvey Fierstein, Ariana Grande, Dove Cameron, and Garret Clayton. Playing the part of Tracy Turnblad was newcomer Maddie Baillio.
Overall the live show had everything going in its favor: good casting, an entertaining story, and great music. If you missed the live production, don’t worry! NBC will be airing Hairspray Live! again in the coming weeks, and also has the musical ready to stream online.