Want to discover little known facts about one of the most popular musicals of all time?
1. The Corny Collins Show is based on The Buddy Deane Show, which was a knock off show of American Bandstand. The show also featured teenagers showing off the most recent popular dance moves.
2. Unfortunately, The Buddy Deane Show, didn’t have as happy of an ending as Hairspray's The Corny Collins Show. While both shows struggle with the concept of integration, The Buddy Deane Show went off the air instead of integrating its two casts. But when asked about the happy ending, writer John Walters said, “This is musical comedy. Who needs the ugly truth? I gave Hairspray the happy ending it deserved.”
3. Many famous men, including drag icon Divine (the roles’ muse, 1988 Film), have played Edna Turnblad. These men include: Harvey Fierstein (2002 Broadway), George Wendt (2008 Broadway), Bruce Vilanch (2007 Tour), and John Travolta (2007 Film). Our very own Jon Kilpatrick gets to add his name to this list as he portrays Edna Turnblad in GLT’s production of Hairspray: The Broadway Musical in June.
4. The original Broadway production had 15 musicians, 11 in the orchestra pit and 4 in other rooms. However, when it originally was performed in the Neil Simon Theatre, there was a requirement to have 18 musicians, so the play added four onstage musicians: Link on guitar, Penny on harmonica, Velma on the keyboard, and Spritzer on the glockenspiel.
5. The original Broadway production used over 150 wigs, but Tracy only wore three wigs throughout the show- one at the beginning, one with a blonde streak that she wears after she joins The Corny Collins Show, and the finale wig that she wears during “You Can’t Stop The Beat.”
6. In the original play and movie, some costumes were actual vintage outfits that the costume designers purchased from flea markets, antique shops, and other second-hand shops. This was done to create a more authentic feel of the 1960’s.
7. In Maryland in 1962, interracial relationships were illegal, meaning Penny’s concerns are justified when she sings, “And if they try to stop us, Seaweed/We’ll call the NAACP.” This was so until the 1967 Supreme Court decision to legalize all heterosexual relationships.
8. The original script for the Broadway musical included several songs that were later dropped from the score. These songs included, “The Status Quo,” “Step On Up,” “It Ain’t Over Til The Fat Lady Sings,” “Velma’s Cha Cha,” “Rage,” and “Take A Spin.”
9. Did you know that Amber Von Tussle is often the only blonde among the “Nicest Kids In Town"? This was done to make her character stand out more against the other teenagers. Therefore, Amber's appearance is the starkest contrast to the African-American teenagers because of her hair.
10. The 2007 film version of Hairspray grossed $27.5 million for the first weekend of production and $118.8 million lifetime grossing, making it one of the 10 highest grossing musicals of all time. When it debuted, it had the highest opening of any musical until Mamma Mia! in 2008.
And now you know! Come and see Hairspray: The Broadway Musical at the Greenville Little Theatre June 2-25, 2017. Call the Box Office at 864-233-6238 or purchase your tickets online today!