You Can’t Stop the Beat

A “Hairspray Live!” Review

Emily Fojon, Entertainment Writer

John Waters created the 1988 film “Hairspray” that addressed issues of segregation and prejudice in 1960s America. Set in 1962, the adapted musical follows a “pleasantly plump” white teenage girl, Tracy Turnblad, and her pursuit of starring on the popular dance show, the Corny Collins Show. With all the fame Tracy Turnblad attained, she was able to publicly support integration, a taboo topic at the time. In becoming a dance queen and  trendsetter of social justice, Tracy brought racial integration to the show.

With a modern twist, directors Kenny Leon and Alex Rudzinski assembled a dynamic cast, to perform in “Hairspray Live” including stars such as Ariana Grande as Penny Pingleton, Jennifer Hudson as  Motormouth Maybelle, Derek Hough as Corny Collins, and Dove Cameron as Amber Von Tussel

The live show introduced Maddie Baillio whose first appearance ever was on “Hairspray Live” as the leading role of Tracy Turnblad. Baillio’s skill and authenticity was questioned by some viewers. Her energy on the set shined throughout the musical but she was still outshined by power voices such as Jennifer Hudson.  “I feel like she did not truly display how Tracy was supposed to be and she added her own twist to her role, but besides that, she did a great job considering it was her first performance,” said senior Gabriela Guerrero.

“Hairspray Live” had powerful voices but still lacked power. “They added new parts to the songs and I did not like it,” said sophomore Sydney Like. “It changed the songs around completely.”

“I definitely prefer the movie over the live show because it was more intimate making it to modernized compared to the original movie,” Guerrero said.

Tony-Award winning performances and set outshines the plot of the musical. “The live show did portray the hardships of integration and I really enjoyed how it was shown throughout the musical,” said junior William Abreu. Throwing it back to the 1960s, “Hairspray Live!” offered a glimpse of a better future, but nothing compares to the original movie created by John Water.