Broadway's Hairspray Has Its Final Spritz Jan. 4
By Kenneth Jones
Apparently, you can stop the beat. The hit Broadway run of the Tony Award-winning musical Hairspray ends after the matinee performance Jan. 4 at the Neil Simon Theatre.
The colorful '60s-set musical based on the 1988 John Waters film comedy will have played 31 previews and 2,641 regular performances by its close. In late 2008 original Tony-winning stars Harvey Fierstein (Best Actor in a Musical) and Marissa Jaret Winokur (Best Actress in a Musical) returned to play zaftig Baltimore mother and daughter Edna and Tracy Turnblad, respectively.
On hand at the closing performance will be many former Hairspray cast members, including Laura Bell Bundy, Kerry Butler, Mary Bond Davis, Shannon Durig, Linda Hart, Jackie Hoffman, Aubrey O'Day and George Wendt, plus the show's creators, including librettists Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, composer and co-lyricist Marc Shaiman, lyricist Scott Wittman, choreographer Jerry Mitchell and director Jack O'Brien.
The winner of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Hairspray is currently the 19th longest-running show in Broadway history. Hairspray has grossed over $265 million during its Broadway run. Equity and later non-Equity tours traveled North America.
The beat goes on via the hot-selling home video release of the 2007 movie version of the stage show, and through licensing of the stage property to professional and amateur groups around the world. The critically acclaimed London production, which was named Best New Musical in the Olivier Awards, continues. The Broadway cast album and a movie soundtrack are in stores.
Additionally, Waters, film director Adam Shankman and songwriters Shaiman and Wittman are working on an original movie-musical sequel to the musical, which has a 2010 target date. Waters has reportedly come up with a treatment that references the 1964 British invasion of pop music and addresses prejudice against overweight people.
In Hairspray, "it's 1962 — the '50s are out and change is in the air. Baltimore's Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, has only one passion — to dance. She wins a spot on the local TV dance program, 'The Corny Collins Show' and, overnight, is transformed from outsider to irrepressible teen celebrity. But can a trendsetter in dance and fashion vanquish the program's reigning princess, win the heart of heartthrob Link Larkin, and integrate a television show without denting her 'do?"
Hairspray had its world premiere at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre on June 12, 2002, before beginning Broadway performances in summer 2002. Hairspray, which opened Aug. 15, 2002, got great reviews and was a hot-seller, flying high for seven months before earning eight Tonys in spring 2003. Hairspray also won the Best Musical awards given by New York Drama Critics Circle Award, Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle.
Hairspray's principal cast currently features Karen Mason as Velma Von Tussle, Tevin Campbell as Seaweed J. Stubbs, Charlotte Crossley as Motormouth Maybelle, Kate Loprest as Amber Von Tussle, Ken Marks as Wilbur Turnblad, Kevin Meaney as Male Authority Figure, Susan Mosher as Female Authority Figure, Constantine Rousouli as Link Larkin, Niki Scalera as Penny Pingleton, (original cast member) Clarke Thorell as Corny Collins and Melissa VanPelt as Inez.
Winokur enjoyed recent acclaim as a contestant on TV's hit show "Dancing With the Stars." For her turn as Tracy, the young newcomer won the 2003 Tony for Best Actress in a Musical.
Winokur also won the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theater World awards for Hairspray. She is known for her portrayal of Janine in "American Beauty." Other films include "Fever Pitch," "Scary Movie," "Teaching Mrs. Tingle," "Never Been Kissed" and "Beautiful Girl" (for ABC Family). She started her career as Jan in the Broadway revival of Grease!
Four-time Tony Award winner Fierstein reprises his 2003 Tony-winning performance as "the dangerously devoted stage mother Edna Turnblad," for which he slipped into a drab housecoat — only to transform into a butterfly by Act Two. He won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his turn as Turnblad. His mantel already includes Tonys for Best Play (Torch Song Trilogy), Best Actor in a Play (Torch Song Trilogy) and Best Book of a Musical (La Cage aux Folles).
Hairspray's eight Tony Awards were for Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book of a Musical, Best Direction, Best Actor in a Musical, Best Actress in a Musical, Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Dick Latessa) and Best Costume Design (William Ivey Long).
For Hairspray ticket information, phone Ticketmaster at (212) 307-4100, or for group sales, phone (212) 302-7000 or (800) 677-1164.
For more information about Hairspray, visit www.hairsprayonbroadway.com.
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