Back in 2007 when Hairspray with John Travolta was out in the movie theater, my friends and I were obsessed with it. I never saw it on Broadway nor have I seen the original movie from the 80s, but I watched the 2007 movie multiple times and loved it. So when NBC announced their live musical this year would be Hairspray I was excited to watch.
If you don’t know what Hairspray is about, it takes place in 1960s Baltimore and follows teen Tracy Turnblad who is a bit of an outsider because she’s not rich and she’s a bigger girl. She dreams of being on The Corny Collins show which is a musical/dance show – think American Bandstand. Amidst the musical numbers and musical dance show, there are race tensions going on in Baltimore at the time and Tracy doesn’t understand why they have to be segregated. The story mixes real life issues with music and comedy.
So what did I think of the live musical last night? I thought the singing and production was great especially considering it was live TV. However, I was a little bit underwhelmed. Perhaps it was because I was really tired, but it didn’t have my undivided attention – and I’m not normally a person who gets easily distracted.
The roles were perfectly cast. Newcomer Maddie Baillio has a stellar voice and portrays the bubbly, upbeat Tracy Turnblad beautifully. Arianna Grande was great as Penny and other stars Kristin Chenoweth, Dove Cameron, Derek Hough and all the others were great too. Link, played by Garrett Clayton did a great job, but I couldn’t help but compare his performance to Zac Efron in the 2007 movie and I really preferred Zac Efron in the role!
Despite a few little flubs in the beginning of the show (sound and lighting issues) I think the cast and production team did an amazing job. But again – I liked it, but I didn’t love it. Anyone else feel the same way?
So far I think the best live TV musical has been Grease, which I raved about here.