Marc Shaiman Reveals Which Came First, the Words or the Music, in Developing Hairspray

News   Marc Shaiman Reveals Which Came First, the Words or the Music, in Developing Hairspray Composer Marc Shaiman and lyricist Scott Wittman, collaborators professionally and romantically, didn't argue over the songwriting in Hairspray, Shaiman told Playbill On Line in the weekly Brief Encounter interview.

Composer Marc Shaiman and lyricist Scott Wittman, collaborators professionally and romantically, didn't argue over the songwriting in Hairspray, Shaiman told Playbill On Line in the weekly Brief Encounter interview.

They've known each other too long to miscommunicate: They practically finish each other's sentences, the composer of the new Broadway musical said.

"First we talk about what the song needs to be, the title or hook," Shaiman explained. "Then I go to the piano — 'Play, monkey, play!' — and make a dummy lyric. Scott has been responsible for all of the titles on Hairspray. For example, he said the first song has to be 'Good Morning, Baltimore.' Then we carve away. I'm the nuts and bolts, the professor, the "we-need-two-syllables-here.' Scott's good at sprinkling it all with hipper words."

Hairspray, based on the John Waters film, opens at the Neil Simon Theatre Aug. 15. To view the entire Shaiman Brief Encounter interview, seen on Playbill On-Line's front page, click here.

— By Kenneth Jones