For many years, I considered myself a "Hairspray" purist. I was
a snob completely devoted to the original John Waters' version
starring Ricki Lake and Debbie Harry. I could hardly be bothered
with the 2007 remake. John Travolta replacing the irreplaceable
Divine? Sinful. And then there was that kid from the "High School
Musical" franchise - Zac Efron.
Seriously. Zac Efron? This was a story intended to shine a light
on the glorious counter-culture of John Waters' Baltimore youth.
And they injected a Disney star? I was appalled.
But then again, perhaps I was being too militant. So when the
nice folks at Drury Lane Theatre sent me free tickets to the
musical version of the movie, I decided to give it a whirl. My
willingness to reconsider a strongly held belief usually rests
entirely on how much it's going to cost me.
And free is always good.
So I packed up my oldest friend and we headed to Oak Brook.
Unfortunately, my buddy's GPS couldn't quite find the street
("Recalculating…RECALCULATING…TURN NOW!!"). We raced into the
theatre with only seconds to spare, and I was suddenly overcome
with a strong sense of déjà vu as we ran through the lobby.
"Hey. Didn't we have prom here?"
Still panting from the scramble to our seats, the curtain pulled
up and I sat mesmerized through the opening number, "Good morning
Baltimore." The familiar story of a chubby high schooler working to
integrate a local dance show blended in beautifully with the upbeat
musical numbers and whimsical dance routines. There was a host of
non-PC jokes that left me in hysterics. Oddly enough, I often
seemed to be the only one laughing. I almost peed myself when one
"If one more white person walks in, this will become a
I would put "Hairspray" in the same category of enjoyment as
"Wicked" and "The Producers." Even the more serious social
significance of the musical is overshadowed by the kitsch costumes,
over-the-top hair, and playful irreverence.
It may not be Shakespeare, but I definitely walked out with a
lighter heart and less of an inclination to bash my friend's GPS
into the cement. It was the perfect way to spend a Thursday
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.
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