Broadway Utica Invites You to Dive Into the World Behind Hairspray

April 26, 2022

Broadway Utica Invites You to Dive Into the World Behind Hairspray

It’s almost time to tease up your hair, loosen your hips, and let the aerosol fly as Broadway Utica’s Hairspray arrives at the Stanley Theatre for its two-night premiere on April 26th & 27th. With a big cast and even bigger hair, Hairspray’s musical resurgence is prepared to welcome audience members head-on. But, before they drop the beat, Broadway Utica invites you to dive into a few hair-raising facts behind the musical comedy.  

It’s a Show-Stopper:

Hairspray swept the 57 annual Tony Awards as it brought home eight Tony awards, which included Best Musical.

A Musical of the Times:

Hairspray dives deep into the world of politics, discrimination, and other social issues that were ongoing in Baltimore during the 1960’s civil rights movement.

Corny Collins was Real-ish:

Hairspray’s “Corny Collins Show” is based on the real-life The Buddy Deane Show, which aired from 1957 to 1964.  This popular dance variety show, which was compared to American Bandstand, was ultimately canceled when it refused to integrate white and black dancers. 

Waters Was Removed from The Buddy Dean Show:

Waters, the original writer for Hairspray, dreamed of appearing on The Buddy Dean Show. But, unlike Turnblad, he was removed from the show when he performed an inappropriate dance, called the booty green, on air. 

Background Check:

In order to dance on The Buddy Dean Show teenagers were required to bring a character reference from a priest, minister, or rabbi to show that they were in good faith and standing within their community. 

Choreography Reflects the 1960 Dance Craze Seen on the Buddy Dean Show: 

Waters wrote Hairspray with the intention of shining a light on the real dances of the times, which included popular dances, like the Mashed Potato and Twist, but also dances people had never heard of, like The Stupidity, and The Bug. 

Edna’s 2007 Choreography was Inspired by Disney:

Director and choreographer Adam Shankman designed Edna’s dance debut, in the 2007 remake of Hairspray, to reflect “Dance of the Hours,” which was the hippo ballet in Disney’s Fantasia

The Music Didn’t Stop:

The original script for the Broadway musical included several scores that failed to make it to the stage. These songs included,  “It Ain’t Over Til The Fat Lady Sings,” “Rage,” “Velma’s Cha Cha,” and “Take A Spin.”  

Speaking of Music:

Hairspray’s original Broadway performance included 15 musicians, with 11 in the orchestra pit and 4 in other areas surrounding the stage. When Hairspray performed at the Neil Simon Theatre, they were required to have 18 musicians, so they added Link on guitar, Penny on harmonica, Velma on the keyboard, and Spritzer on the glockenspiel to make the cut.

Don’t Forget The Hair:

150 wigs were used in Hairspray’s original Broadway production. However, Tracy only wears three wings in the tour production. 

Bring on the Thrift Store:

Costume designers poured through thrift stores and flea markets in search of original outfits to give Hairspray an authentic feel. Second-hand apparel can be seen in both movies and throughout this week’s musical performance.  

Hairspray the Sequel:

While Waters wanted to give another writer the opportunity to recreate Hairspray as a musical, it ultimately inspired him to write the sequel Hairspray 2: White Lipstick. In this version, the original characters return to the screen in the midst of the 1960s psychedelic times. A production date has yet to be determined. 


Looking for last-minute tickets? Log on to, call 315-624-9444, or visit Broadway Utica’s box office at 258 Genesee Street. 



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