18 Interesting Facts about Hairspray the Musical

“Hairspray” the Musical, based on the 1988 film of the same name, premiered on Broadway in 2002. Set in Baltimore in the 1960s, the musical follows the story of Tracy Turnblad, an enthusiastic teenager with a passion for dancing and an ambition to integrate the local TV dance show, “The Corny Collins Show.”

Tracy dreams of dancing on the show and rallies against the prevailing social norms, advocating for racial integration and body positivity. The musical addresses serious themes like racial segregation and discrimination while infusing the storyline with humor, vibrant dance numbers, and catchy music.

The infectious and energetic score, composed by Marc Shaiman, along with Scott Wittman’s witty lyrics, delivers memorable numbers such as “Good Morning Baltimore,” “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” and “Welcome to the 60s.” The show’s soundtrack encompasses various music styles of the era, including rhythm and blues, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll.

“Hairspray” has garnered critical acclaim for its vibrant performances, lively choreography, and its poignant yet uplifting message of inclusivity and acceptance. The musical’s success led to various productions worldwide, including West End adaptations and national tours. Beyond its entertainment value, “Hairspray” the Musical remains a significant cultural touchstone, championing diversity, empowerment, and the celebration of individuality, making it a beloved and enduring piece of musical theater.

Hairspray in Shaftesbury Theatre

“Hairspray” the Musical in Shaftesbury Theatre

Here are 18 interesting facts about “Hairspray” the Musical to know more about it.

  1. Inspired by a Film: The musical is based on the 1988 John Waters film “Hairspray,” which was a cult classic.
  2. Premiere Date: “Hairspray” the Musical debuted on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre on August 15, 2002.
  3. Tony Award Success: The musical won eight Tony Awards in 2003, including Best Musical.
  4. John Travolta’s Role: In the 2007 film adaptation, John Travolta played the role of Edna Turnblad, Tracy Turnblad’s mother, in drag.
  5. Social Commentary: The show explores themes of racial integration and body positivity, addressing serious issues through a lively and upbeat story.
  6. Infectious Music: The musical features a soundtrack composed by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, known for its catchy tunes and diverse musical styles.
  7. Broadway Longevity: “Hairspray” had a successful run on Broadway, totaling 2,642 performances.
  8. Original Tracy Turnblad: Marissa Jaret Winokur originated the role of Tracy Turnblad on Broadway and won a Tony Award for her performance.
  9. Broadway Revivals: The musical had two Broadway revivals, one in 2012 and another in 2016.
  10. West End Success: The show premiered in London’s West End in 2007 and received critical acclaim.
  11. Cultural Impact: “Hairspray” the Musical has had a significant cultural impact, inspiring discussions on body image and racial equality.
  12. Film Adaptations: Besides the original film, “Hairspray” was adapted into a movie musical in 2007, starring Zac Efron and Nikki Blonsky.
  13. International Tours: The musical has toured globally, reaching audiences in various countries, including Australia, Canada, and Japan.
  14. Diversity in Casting: The show often encourages diverse casting, welcoming performers of different races and body types.
  15. Educational Impact: It’s been adapted into school productions, becoming a popular choice for high school and community theater performances.
  16. Legacy of Inclusivity: The musical’s central message of inclusivity, empowerment, and acceptance resonates with audiences of all ages.
  17. Adaptation Success: The stage adaptation received praise for successfully translating the film’s energy and spirit into a live theatrical experience.
  18. Continued Popularity: Even years after its initial release, “Hairspray” remains a beloved musical, with enduring popularity among theater enthusiasts worldwide.

“Hairspray” the Musical stands as a vibrant testament to the power of musical theater in addressing significant societal issues while delivering an infectious and uplifting experience. Beyond its catchy tunes and lively choreography, the show’s celebration of diversity, acceptance, and the fight against discrimination resonates deeply with audiences. Through its dynamic storytelling and memorable characters, “Hairspray” encourages inclusivity and empowerment, spreading a message of unity and resilience.

Its enduring popularity and numerous accolades speak to its impact on theatergoers worldwide, cementing its place as not just a delightful musical, but as a cultural touchstone that champions social change and celebrates individuality with infectious joy and heartfelt spirit.