Theatre Talk with Vanessa — Show of the Week: “Hairspray”

Welcome to my first segment of Theatre Talk with Vanessa! Here, I will give a brief synopsis of musicals that I have listened to and give you my in-depth opinion on my favorite and least favorite aspects of the show. Feel free to send in any shows you want me to write about/listen to if I’m unfamiliar with the show!

Good morning, West Chester! Did you get the reference? If not, this is a play on words to Hairspray’s opening song titled “Good Morning Baltimore.” In the 1960s lives a young teen named Tracy Turnblad, who is bigger in size than most of the girls in her town, which leads to many of them bullying her, but Tracy does not care. She is an extremely confident and bubbly girl who loves to dance and watches her favorite teen dance show called “The Corny Collins Show” with her best friend Penny. The show is a hit around town; the dancers on the show are some of the most popular students in her school including Amber Von Tussle and the school’s hunk, Link Larkin. Tracy’s dream is to be a dancer on the show and teach people that “bigger is beautiful.” The issue is this: only Caucasian teens are allowed to dance on the show, and once a month they have a day that is dedicated to allowing African-American students to perform. When Tracy earns a spot on the show after an audition and becomes a superstar overnight, she begins to campaign for racial integration on the show.

‘Hairspray’ is for sure a show that everyone should know if you like musical theatre.

There have been many adaptations of the show. The musical originally opened on Broadway Aug. 15, 2002, closing on Jan. 4, 2009 after six years of performances. There have been multiple world tours, as well as a movie adaption in 2007, and even a live version that aired on NBC in 2016.

The balance that this musical has with having stellar music, as well as a meaningful story that everyone can relate to, is crucial for a fantastic musical. The style of the show is 60s-themed which makes sense considering the setting. Every song has a catchiness to it and will get stuck in your head at some point. “Hairspray” is one of my favorite musicals of all time, and Tracy Turnblad is my dream role. That being said, my only critique is that we never did see the end result of “The Corny Collins Show” becoming completely integrated with all the students on the show. The ending song “You Can’t Stop The Beat” does wrap the show up very beautifully and is a great anthem that can be interpreted metaphorically and figuratively.

“Hairspray” is for sure a show that everyone should know if you like musical theatre. I think it is one of the best shows to be written, with the best music and a meaningful, heartfelt story and is one of the best musicals ever. Nothing is better than “Ultra Clutch Hairspray.”

Vanessa Rodriguez-Mclean is a first-year student majoring in media and culture with a minor in journalism. VR925245@wcupa.edu

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