Hairspray: a musical comeback

Bridget Nordquist

Bridget Nordquist

I’m not sure how many movies I saw in theatres this summer? too many to count, probably. However, I am positive about which was my favorite. I liked Transformers and undeniably enjoyed Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. But above everything I saw in the last several months, I absolutely, positively LOVED the movie Hairspray.

This new version of Hairspray has been a long time in coming to the screen. Way back in 1988, John Waters wrote and directed the original kitschy version of “Hairspray.” Then in 2002, the film became a Broadway musical and enjoyed a Tony-winning run. Now, much to my delight, the musical version was adapted into a feature film.

Hairspray was fabulous for several reasons. First, the story is fun and yet incredibly poignant. It takes place in Baltimore in the 1960’s. Main character Tracy Turnblad pines to dance on the “Corny Collins Show” and isn’t dissuaded by her plus-size physique. However, Tracy soon learns to use her talents to not only help herself but her friends in light of brewing racial tensions in Baltimore.

Also, the cast is perfect as it incorporates several big names and new talents. Queen Latifah, John Travolta and Michelle Pfeiffer are all old hats in musicals and do a great job, especially Travolta who plays Tracy’s larger than life mother. Zac Efron, hottie from High School Musical, perfectly plays the singing, dancing hunk that all the girls love. Newcomer Nikki Blonsky portrays Tracy with a mix of sweetness and sassiness that makes her wonderfully endearing.

Another major reason I loved Hairspray was due to its amazing energy. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a theatre where people more clearly enjoyed a movie. Viewers guffawed, clapped, snapped their fingers, tapped their toes and in many cases were pretty darn close to getting up and dancing. The music was so powerful that simply being in the theatre was a pleasure for all of us.

I know I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed Hairspray. After I saw the movie the first time, I tried to buy the soundtrack at Wal-Mart. It took me three weeks before I could snag a copy of the constantly sold-out CD, and I haven’t stop singing since. Rush out and grab your own copy soon. Or better yet, head to the theatre and see Hairspray. If you have a funny bone or a heart, you won’t be disappointed.