Set in 1962 Baltimore, Hairspray is the musical tale of Tracy Turnblad – a big girl with big hair and a big heart who loves to dance – who becomes an overnight celebrity when she wins a spot on the local TV dance programme, the Corny Collins Show. Determined to prove that dancing is for everyone, whatever their size or colour, the irrepressible Tracy sets out to bring Baltimore kicking and screaming into the 60s. But can our heroine upstage the programme’s current princess, bring integration to Baltimore and win the love of heartthrob Link Larkin without denting her ‘do?
Hairspray is based on the film written and directed by John Waters, which starred actress-turned-chatshow-host Ricki Lake as teenager Tracy. A new film, based on the musical, was released in 2007 starring John Travolta as Tracy’s mother Edna.
The American production of Hairspray won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, seven Drama Desk awards, five Critics’ Circle Awards and a Grammy for the original cast recording.
The UK production of Hairspray opened in October 2007 and went on to win four 2008 Laurence Olivier Awards: Best Actor in a Musical, Best Actress in a Musical, Best Supporting Performance in a Musical and Best New Musical.
Hairspray currently stars comedian Brian Conley, who dons a dress to play Edna Turnblad, newcomer Chloe Hart as Tracy and 80s pop star Belinda Carlisle as the evil Velma Von Tussle.
Looking to see some musical theatre? Find out more about London musicals.