Results 1-5of 5 Reviews
September 8, 2008
District of Columbia County, District of Columbia
March 18, 2006
Of the many choices playing on Broadway, the "nicest kids in town" of Hairspray occupy a well-deserved spot near the top of the list. Based on John Waters’s 1988 cult film by the same title, Hairspray is the story of Tracy Turnblad, an overweight Baltimore teenager who defies all odds to win a spot on the Corny Collins Show (think an all-white, local version of American Bandstand), leads a fight to end racial segregation, and at the same time wins the hand of the most handsome boy in town. The movie is well known for being the first starring role for Ricki Lake (of trashy TV talk show fame), and the final role for the Divine, the transvestite actor featured in many of Waters’s films. In 2002 the stage musical adaptation opened on Broadway, and the show has been the recipient of nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
Hairspray is set in 1962 Baltimore, a time when racial segregation was still alive and those who supported discriminatory policies found themselves struggling against a growing tide of activists working to ensure that skin color would no longer be used to limit the rights and opportunities available to certain groups of people. Hairspray takes a unique approach with this serious, and often tense, subject matter, weaving comedy, teenage naïveté, first loves, and an emerging youth culture focused on popular dance music with issues of racial and socioeconomic discrimination. Amazingly, the script works very well at creating a highly entertaining show with a serious message.
Headlining this production is comedy writer and former Hollywood Squares regular Bruce Vilanch, who shaved his trademark scruffy beard and donned a wardrobe of plus-sized housedresses and tacky evening gowns for the role of Edna Turnblad, Tracy’s mother (played by Divine in the movie). The original Broadway role of Edna was created by Broadway legend Harvey Fierstein, who starred in the role for over 700 performances. Bruce is an outstanding replacement for Harvey, and does an admirable job portraying a housewife who has not left her house in years and supports the family by taking in other people’s laundry. Opposite Bruce is Carly Jibson, who stars as Tracy Turnblad. Carly bears a noticeable resemblance to Ricki Lake’s Tracy in the film, but still manages to play the part in a way that seems fresh and unique. Other outstanding cast members include Todd Susman as Wilbur Turnblad, Mary Bond Davis as Motormouth Maybelle, Richard Blake as Link Larkin (the hunky guy who eventually falls for Tracy), and Chester Gregory II as Seaweed (Motormouth Maybelle’s son). The show also excels musically, with a catchy score that fits right into the musical’s 1962 setting. Do expect to pay attention to the fairly complex lyrics, as they tell much of the story and give greater depth to the characters.
Overall, Hairspray is a well-produced, highly entertaining musical sure to entertain all ages. Go with an open mind, and a sense of humor, and you’re guaranteed to have a rockin’ good time.
From journal Memorial Day Weekend in New York
March 28, 2005
From journal Hairspary at broadway
New York, New York
May 22, 2003
From journal I live in NYC
January 30, 2003
You might have seen the movie version of this musical, which stars Ricki Lake. The show takes us back to the 60s, when Corney Collins runs a local TV program, a teen dance show called American Bandstandish. This is the story of a big girl with a huge dream: to be on this show. But will she make it? She weighs a lot and falls in love with one of the main stars.
This is a really cute show. And if you want to go, you better try to get tickets way before the 2003 Tony Awards, because it is going to sweep them. Then, just like The Producers, no one will get seats! The music is wonderful; very upbeat, fun, rock 'n' roll. It's a show with huge laughs and huge fun! It is a child-friendly show.
Divine played the mother to Tracy in the movie, but in this one Harvey Klinetail plays the mother in drag and he is wonderful!! So if you can get tickets, go and see it! Like the show says, "YOU CAN'T STOP THE BEAT!" See you in the dark!
From journal Broadway Show Guide