“NBC’s most ambitious musical yet” – Hairspray live debuts

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By: Megan Brown

It’s “Good morning Baltimore!” for the cast of Hairspray Live as they debuted their first show on December 7th on NBC at 7:30. Set in Baltimore during the 1960s Civil Rights movement, “Hairspray Live!” had the opportunity to take more risks than even your typical live TV performance by drawing pressing parallels to the modern day. The special gave viewers a glimpse into the last-minute backstage preparations before the telecast, as well as a look at the casting process, rehearsals, and design of production.

Hairspray follows plus-sized teen Tracy Turnblad in 1960s Baltimore, as she attempts to become a cast member of The Corny Collins Show, a popular local dance TV series. This modern-day production of Hairspray embraces an interracial cast to portray Tracy finding herself leading a civil rights campaign to integrate the show.

The first ever production of Hairspray was released in 1988. Directed by John Waters, and starring Ricki Lake, Divine, Debbie Harry, Sonny Bono, Jerry Stiller, Leslie Ann Powers, Colleen Fitzpatrick, and Michael St. Gerard, the film is watched by Staples students to this day.

Megan Hines ’17 enjoyed her Wednesday night in front of the TV watching the live production of Hairspray on NBC.  “I love Hairspray because the music is so fun, the story is really great, and overall the spirit of the show is infectious to audiences” Hines stated. She mentioned that she has seen the original and the 2007 remake with Zac Efron.

Hines also has a deep appreciation for the fact that the story focuses on Turnblad leading a civil rights campaign. “It is hard to break racial barriers with casting in a show such as Hairspray because the plot is specifically focused on African Americans breaking racial barriers set in place by racist caucasians in the 1960s.”

Like Hines, Samantha Levin ’18 is also a big fan of Hairspray. However, she was not a fan of this latest live production. “I didn’t really like it because I thought that some cast members weren’t as good as other members from the actual movie and the remake” Levin said. Levin has seen both the original movie and the remake, which she loved. “Both of them were were more enjoyable than the live version to watch.” She went on to add “I love the music and the story of Hairspray so I was really excited to see the new one especially with actors I knew of.”

Though Levin was not pleased with the way the new live edition of Hairspray came out, there were plenty that were.

For a behind-the-scenes of the show click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cmqi-cWH58