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The Indiana Daily Student

arts iu auditorium

'Hairspray' musical comes to IU Auditorium


Broadway’s eight-time Tony Award-winning musical comedy “Hairspray” will have a two-night stay in Bloomington, showing at 7:30 p.m, Feb. 6-7 in the IU Auditorium.  

The theatrical adaptation of the 1988 film, “Hairspray" takes place in 1960s Baltimore and follows along the story of 16-year-old Tracy Turnblad as she sets her sights on dancing her way onto her favorite TV show, "The Corny Collins Show.” Once earning her spot, Turnblad works to integrate the show. 

“The Corny Collins Show” was inspired by the very real “The Buddy Deane Show,” a teen dance series on Baltimore’s WJZ-TV. “The Buddy Deane Show” was canceled in 1964 due to disagreements on segregation policies. WJZ-TV was in favor of integration, but Baltimore was still a “Southern-oriented city” which didn’t favor the station’s efforts. “Hairspray” was written to showcase an alternative ending.  

The musical premiered in Seattle in 2002, making its way to Broadway later that year where it had a nearly six-year run, ending Jan. 4, 2009. The show was nominated for 13 Tony Awards in 2003 and won eight, including Best Original Score and Musical. "Hairspray” also won accolades from the Drama League, New York Drama Critics’ Circle, Outer Critics Circle, Theatre World Awards and Drama Desk Awards.  

The current cast includes actresses Caroline Eiseman playing Tracy Turnblad, and Deidre Lang as Motormouth Maybelle. Motormouth Maybelle is an R&B record producer and host of the segregated Rhythm and Blues day of “The Corny Collins Show.” The musical is directed by Jack O’Brien and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell.  O’Brien has been working on Broadway since the ‘60s and has won three Tony Awards and five Drama Desk Awards. He is also known for his work on shows “Shucked” and “The Invention of Love.”  

Tickets start at $17 for students and $29 for the general public. They can be purchased on the IU Auditorium website.

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