Wednesday, April 05, 2017
At Princeton, A New Layer for “Hairspray”
Arts Integrity Initiative: Despite its origin in a 1988 film from John Waters, the underground master of camp, shock and transgression, the story of Tracy Turnblad, as told in multiple iterations, has become wholly mainstream. Thanks in large part to the 2002 stage musical version, Tracy’s story of leading an effort to integrate a local TV music program in Baltimore has had America singing and dancing along for years now. Beyond its more conventional musical numbers, it offers up a craven TV producer who laments her salad days as “Miss Baltimore Crabs” and teens miming the crushing bugs as part of a dance craze. Indeed, the mildly subversive tone of the musical, while significantly less spiky than the original film, is set by Tracy’s buoyant paean to her home city, which includes shout outs to the rats on the street and the local flasher.