Inspired by the 1988 film by camp cult icon John Waters, Hairspray was reborn in 2002 as a Tony-winning Broadway musical. Following in the footsteps of The Producers in an example of Ouroboros-like creative cannibalism, the Broadway adaptation of Hairspray was made into a fairly entertaining movie in 2007.
Set in 1962 Baltimore, Hairspray follows the adventures of an unlikely teen celebrity, idealistic Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair, a big voice and big fashion-model dreams. In the process of pursuing that goal, she wins the affection of heartthrob Link Larkin and leads the town into a new era of racial integration.
Director and choreographer Lyn Cramer returns to Lyric to helm this production. Cramer, who considers herself a huge Waters fan, loved the original movie and fell in love all over again when she saw the Broadway adaptation.
Its as close to perfect as a big, splashy, fun musical can be, she said.
In addition to the normal time crunch on a summer stock show, she said this production has been additionally challenging because the material is new to everyone involved, save for Liz Froio, who has played Tracy twice before.
With all that experience under her belt, Froio has gotten to know the character pretty well.
Having now worked with three different directors, there are always unique things that theyd like to see, she said. I have a Tracy template, and fill in the blanks based on the vibe of the show and that particular cast, but my Tracy intentions are always the same.
She said Tracy is the perfect lead role for a character actress like herself.
Tracy gets the guy, wins the prize, changes her world and the worlds of everyone around her. She is the ultimate leading lady, Froio said. Her imperfections make her perfect, and I absolutely adore the character.
Erick Devine, a 35-year Lyric veteran, takes on the iconic role of
Tracys mother, Edna, a part originated by drag queen Divine in Waters
film and played by John Travolta in the remake.
described the Hairspray score as delightful and inherently
inspirational, boasting a number of catchy tunes that set it apart from
other screen-to-stage re-imaginings.
Cant Stop the Beat is absolutely infectious. If youve ever dreamed
of the love of your life, you cant get better than I Can Hear the
Bells. If gospel is your thing, Motormouth Maybelle sings her socks off
in I Know Where Ive Been, Cramer said.