Monday, August 12, 2013

No Really, Everyone was in HAIRSPRAY on Broadway

Original Hairspray Playbill, 2002
What has crazy bright colors, feel-good upbeat music, and even semi-random lessons about racism that would make Dr. King proud? A recent (ish) Broadway show that is now a beloved favorite, as well as a high school staple.

On this day 11 years ago, Hairspray was in the throws of previews, just days away from celebrating its official opening on Broadway. With music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, Jack O'Brien directed and Jerry Mitchell choreographed. It won 8 out of the 13 Tony Awards for which it was nominated, including Best Musical. (Bonus: this same creative team did Catch Me if You Can in 2011, which did not fare nearly as well as Hairspray)

But looking at the cast lists from Hairspray, I've come to the conclusion that being in this show became like a right of passage (kind of like how you find out every other actor has been in Les Mis at some stage in life).

For instance, before he was the sweet but awkward Glee coach Mr. Schuster, Matthew Morrison was the original heart-throb Link Larkin in Hairspray.

Also in the original cast were: Kerry Butler (Catch Me if You Can) as Penny Pingleton, and Laura Bell Bundy, who hasn't done much since then besides starring in Legally Blonde and unsuccessfully trying to be a country music star, as Amber (remember her before the nose job in the movie Jumanji? I don't think I"ll ever forget).

Other familiar replacements included: Alexa Vega (of Spy Kids movies) and Caissie Levy (Ghost) as Penny, Aaron Tveit and Andrew Rannells as Link, Ashley Spencer (I'm not gonna lie, I primarily know her as Jeremy Jordan's wife) and even Haylie Duff as Amber.

Check out this video of the OBC at the Today Show featuring Tony Award-winner Marissa Janet Winokur as Tracy, and of course Matthew Morrison. Just watching this ridiculously high-energy performance of "You Can't Stop the Beat" makes me want to take a nap.

Hopefully this performance was just what you needed to get an energy boost on this Monday morning. Happy Monday!

Sally Henry // Twitter: // Facebook:


  1. ...that's insane. It's like the Law and Order of Broadway. Great article Sally! Keep it up!

  2. haha oh my goodness you're so right! I really wish I'd thought of that... Check back later this week for more about the cast/replacements through the years!