“Hairspray” is a musical with history, social context, historical context, musical context and meaning.  This work can be analyzed by doing research on it and by viewing the musical itself.  You can do that by, listening to the songs, watching videos of the musical, even going to see the musical, and compare events in your life to events in the musical.  The creators tend to say with this work that, it originally was a good movie, but has become a great musical.  The work says that the time in which it was created still dealt with the main issues that it focuses on, but not as much as in the time that it takes place.  It also shows how times had changed between the 1960’s and 2002.

Hairspray is a musical based on a film that was written and directed by John Waters and book written by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan. “Hairspray,” became a successful stage musical d in 2002, through the hard work and determination of its creators, a book of the musical, and has been remade into a musical movie. It is the story of high school student Tracy Turnblad in Baltimore, 1962.  Tracy is a normal high school student who is not popular, loves to dance until she gets a spot on a famous teen dance show called “The Corny Collins Show.”  That is when her life begins to change.  Margo Lion did a great job turning this film into a musical.

Margo Lion decided to make “Hairspray” into a musical when watching the film.  In fall 1998, he “began negotiating for the rights.”  In the spring of 1999, the negotiations were finally made.  He then met with John Waters, the writer.  Then they agreed that Waters would not “adapt the material” but would be involved.

The musical has been written in a “book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan.”  The music was composed by Marc Shaiman.  The lyrics were written by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, two men who were famous in the Broadway world.” Hairspray,” the musical “started performances, in a May tryout run in Seattle in June,” 2002 at the “5th Avenue Theatre.”  There it was produced by “David Armstrong as Producing Artistic Director and Marilynn Sheldon as Managing Director.  Then it opened on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theater on August 15 2002.

To get more people to come to the performances, the marketers had to do some work before the tryout run.  They offered free tickets, had a “’hair dresser night.”  They spread the news by “word of mouth.”  Other ways were giving people “booklet of coupons with tickets, and promo CDs.  Last, they got Bloomingdale’s to put up “window displays and sell a line of clothing, plus-sized sportswear, pink and black striped T-shirts and MAC cosmetics based on the musical.” They even had the cast make appearances on television, including at the “Vogue/VH1 Fashion Awards, NBC’s Today Show, and at the Rockefeller Center.  The music was sent to radio stations, so people could hear the sons before going to the theatre.  A billboard “framed in neon lights” was put up in Times Square.  They are spending less money on advertisement and spend most of the money “closer to openings,” due to the “lousy economy and the aftermath of 9/11.” 

People are not just different in race.  They are different in other ways, in shape, size, gender, sexual orientation, and more. All were where people treated others badly because of these differences.

There are events in both the 1980’s, 1990’s and the first two years of the 21st century they influenced the musical “Hairspray.”  They include, “The Cosby Show” premiered, first year that American celebrates “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” the “Berlin Wall” fell, South Africa Repeals the Apartheid Laws, Tiger Woods wins the Masters, September 11, 2001, and The 2002 D.C. Sniper.

“Hairspray” is a musical full of different styles of music.  The different styles of music are comedy, dancing, feel good, classic Broadway, old-fashioned, high-octane show dancing, high jinks, emotion, rocking Motown, electric blues, 60’s sock Hop, blues, pop, doo-wap, and lover’s duet.

Two songs that are important to the musical are “Run and Tell That,” and “You Can’t Stop the Beat.”  I listened to them both and described in great detail, the music and the texture.  I watched some of the videos on youtube.  I saw the musical, but years ago, so I could not accurately analyze it that way.  I talked about events in my life, how I was treated and how I was feeling to show comparison to similar events that might have happened to characters.

“Run and Tell That” has memorable melody. This song starts with a dialogue.  The backs up voices use a Call and Response during the chorus A few phrases repeat throughout the song.  They include, “Run and Tell That,” and “I Can’t See.”  It also has rhythmic motives, repeated patterns in music.

You Can’t Stop the Beat” has a memorable melody.  There are multiple layers, both voices and instruments.  The function of the layers are to keep rhythm to the characters stories, to give the characters music to dance to music that will make the audience want to dance, to show how the characters feelings, and to tell the characters stories and feelings.  In both the text and music, at some times multiple instruments and voices are being played and sung at the same time.  The separate song at the end is high pitched.  It has a good melody.  It is fast.  It has multiple voices.

“Hairspray” is a great musical.  It has history, different productions of it including a 1988 film and a new musical film 2007.  It can be analyzed in multiple ways, research, listening to music, watch youtube, see production of it, and compare it to other events in the world, yours or history.  The songs have meanings through the text and the music.  The entire show has meanings.  It was made and done by lots of hard work, mostly the market team.

Work Cited

Other Pages


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: