Book Vs. Movie: Hairspray
The 1988 John Waters Movie Vs. the 2007 Adaptation
“Musicals in March”
The Margos continue their look at “Musicals in March” with the John Waters classic Hairspray, which started with the 1988 movie starring Rikki Lake, Divine, and Debby Harry. Based on his experiences of being a fan of the 1957-1964 Baltimore teen dance TV program–The Buddy Deane Show, Waters was a huge fan of R&B music. On the Buddy Deane show, the dancers were integrated, unlike Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, which was based out of Philadelphia at the same time.
Baltimore Magazine April 1985 by John Waters “Ladies & Gentleman: The Nicest Kids in Town!”
Being a self-described “Super Fan” of the show, the director has a well-known career as an avant-garde-loving and bizarre artist who loves things that are in bad taste. His interest in something as wholesome as Buddy Deane made him think about writing a more accessible film about a group of teen dancers/local TV stars who fight racism and oppression with their love of music and dance.
Given a modest budget of $2.8 million, the film was a box office hit, and the critics loved this new era of John Waters with even bigger hits in the 90s Cry-Baby & Serial Mom. Waters continues to write and direct his work and is very popular as an actor who appears in everything from Law & Order to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisles.
In 2002, the musical version premiered in Seattle with music and lyrics from Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and the book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan. Hit is not a big enough word for this adaptation’s success in the 2000s. It won eight Tony Awards (including Best Musical) in 2003 and broke all box office records in London’s West End in 2008.
The 2007 movie was directed by Adam Shankman and stars John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Christopher Walken and continues the big box office that started with the original 1988 film.
What are the differences between the original and the latest version of the story of the AMAZING Tracy Turnblad? Which do we like best? Have a listen!
In this ep the Margos discuss:
- John Waters, Divine, and Baltimore
- Waters ventures into more “family-friendly material.”
- The music used in both films
- 1988 cast: Ricki Lake (Tracy Turnblad,) Divine (Edna Turnblad,) Debbie Harry (Velma Von Tussle,) Sonny Bono (Franklin Von Tussle,) Jerry Stiller (Wilbur Turbland,) Leslie Ann Powers (Penny Pingleton,) Colleen Fitzpatrick (Amber Von Tussle,) Michael St. Gerard (Link Larkin,) Clayton Prince (Seaweed Stubbs,) Cyrkle Millbourne (L’il Inez,) Ruth Brown (Motormouth Maybelle,) Shawn Thompson (Corny Collins,) Mink Stole (Tammy Turner,) and Josh Charles as Iggy
- The 2007 cast: Nikki Blonsky (Tracy Turnblad,) John Travolta (Edna Turnblad,) Michelle Pfeiffer (Velma Von Tussle,) Amanda Bynes (Penny Pngleton,) Christopher Walken (Wilbur Turnblad,) Queen Latifah (Motormouth Maybelle,) James Marsden (Conry Collins,) Brittany Snow (Amber Von Tussle,) Zac Efron (Link Larkin,) Elijah Kelley (Seaweed,) Allison Janney (Prudence Pingleton,) and Jerry Stiller as Mr. Pinky.
- Hairspray (1988) “Corny Collins auditions.”
- Hairspray (1988) trailer
- The Von Tussle house (1988)
- John Waters as Dr. Fredrickson
- The kids meet “Beatnicks” (1988)
- Hairspray (2007) trailer
- John Travolta’s Baltimore accent
- Edna & Wilbur “You’re Timeless to Me”
- “You Can’t Stop the Beat” (2007)
- Music: Hairspray by Rachel Sweet
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