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Six interesting tidbits about the hit show



September 6–October 6

Music: Marc Shaiman

Lyrics: Scott Wittman, Marc Shaiman Book: Mark O’Donnell, Thomas Meehan

at the Kavinoky Theatre

(kavinokytheatre.com, 881-7668)


1) Synopsis: In 1960s Baltimore, dance-loving teen Tracy Turnblad auditions for a spot on The Corny Collins Show and wins. Is her new teen idol status enough to bring racial integration to the show?


2) The musical is based on the 1988 John Waters film of the same name. The film wasn’t exactly a box-office smash but did become a cult classic. The musical, on the other hand, picked up eight Tonys, nine Drama Desk Awards, and four Oliviers, all of which included Best Musical.


3) The role of Tracy’s mother is traditionally played by a man. It started with the film, in which Waters cast long-time friend and collaborator Harris Glen Milstead, aka Divine, to play Edna Turnblad. When the Broadway show was cast in 2002, the role went to Harvey Fierstein, and the tradition was born. Bill Lovern will play the role in the Kavinoky production.


4) Hairspray continues to be reinvented. A remake of the movie was made in 2007—while the six-and-a-half year run on Broadway was still happening—featuring John Travolta as Edna. And in 2016, NBC made it part of their live theater series, with Jennifer Hudson as Motormouth and Harvey Fierstein reprising Edna.


5) The Corny Collins Show is based on the real-life Buddy Deane Show, an American Bandstand competitor that ran in Baltimore from 1957 to 1964. The Buddy Deane Show was canceled because the network did not want to integrate.


6) What they said: “Like The Producers, Hairspray succeeds in recreating the pleasures of the old-fashioned musical comedy without seeming old-fashioned. Think of it, if you insist on such nomenclature, as a post-postmodern musical. It’s a work that incorporates elements of arch satire, kitsch and camp—all those elements that ruled pop culture for the past several decades—but without the long customary edges of jadedness and condescension.” –Ben Brantley, New York Times, 2002



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