A Look Back at Hairspray in Celebration of Its Broadway Anniversary

Photo Features   A Look Back at Hairspray in Celebration of Its Broadway Anniversary
The musical, based on the John Waters film, opened at the Neil Simon Theatre August 15, 2002.
Harvey Fierstein and Marissa Jaret Winokur
Harvey Fierstein and Marissa Jaret Winokur Paul Kolnik

The musical adaptation of John Waters’ 1988 film Hairspray opened on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre August 15, 2002, after beginning performances July 18. The musical played 2,642 performances before closing January 4, 2009, winning eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

Set in 1960s Baltimore, Hairspray tells the story of a girl chasing her dream of performing on a TV dance show—and working to integrate the show in the process. The musical features music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman, and a book by Thomas Meehan.

The original Broadway cast of Hairspray starred Harvey Fierstein as Edna Turnblad, Marissa Jaret Winokur as Tracy Turnblad, Laura Bell Bundy as Amber Von Tussle, Mary Bond Davis as Motormouth Maybelle, Kerry Butler as Penny Pingleton, Linda Hart as Velma Von Tussle, Dick Latessa as Wilbur Turnblad, Matthew Morrison as Link Larkin, Corey Reynolds as Seaweed J. Stubbs, Clarke Thorell as Corny Collins, and Danelle Eugenia Wilson as Little Inez.

Rounding out the company were Eric Anthony, Shoshana Bean, Eric Dysart, Adam Fleming, Jenn Gambatese, Danielle Lee Greaves, John Hill, Jackie Hoffman, Hollie Howard, Katharine Leonard, Kamilah Martin, Rashad Naylor, Judine Rich, Peter Matthew Smith, Todd Michel Smith, Shayna Steele, and Joel Vig with Joshua Bergasse, Greg Graham, and Brooke Tansley as swings and Katy Grenfell, David Greenspan, and Hollie Howard as understudies.

Directed by Jack O’Brien with choreography by Jerry Mitchell, the production featured scenic design by David Rockwell, costume design by William Ivey Long, lighting design by Kenneth Posner, and sound design by Steve C. Kennedy with stage management by Steven Beckler, J. Philip Passett, and Marisha Ploski. Visit the Playbill Vault for the complete cast and creative team.

The musical was later adapted into a film in 2007 and then returned to the screen in 2016 in a live telecast on NBC. A limited run of the musical is currently playing the London Palladium.

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