Hairspray is the name of three different productions of a single—though adapted—story: a 1988 film, a 2002 musical, and a 2007 film. The original film, which began life with the title White Lipstick, was based on actual events involving The Buddy Deane Show during the summer of 1963. A sequel is said to be in the works for summer 2010.
The original movie of Hairspray is set in Baltimore in 1962. It tells the story of a plump teenage girl named Tracy Turnblad who has two goals: to win a dance competition on a local television show and to protest racial discrimination and segregation. Stars of the original film included Ricki Lake as Tracy Turnblad, Divine as her mother Edna Turnblad and Jerry Stiller as her father Wilbur Turnblad. The screenplay was written by John Waters, who also directed. Although it had a modest box office return, it became a cult classic in its home video release in the 1990s. The 1988 Hairspray was nominated for six Independent Spirit Awards, as well as the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
The 2002 musical Hairspray is based on the 1988 film. The idea for transforming the film into a musical started with Margo Lion a theater producer, in 1998 when she saw the original film broadcast on television. Receiving approval from Waters and acquiring the rights from New Line Cinema, Lion began to assemble a team and a cast. The musical opened at the Neil Simon Theatre on Broadway in August, 2002 and ran until January, 2009. The original cast included Marissa Jaret Winokur as Tracy Turnblad, Harvey Fierstein as Edna Turnblad, and Dick Latessa as Wilbur Turnblad. The musical version of Hairspray was nominated for 13 Tony Awards and received eight, and it also won nine of the 14 Drama Desk Awards that it was nominated for, as well as the Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best Musical in 2007.
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The 2007 film version of Hairspray was an adaptation of the musical rather than the original film, and had the same core plot, but a number of changes in presentation, as well as character and plot developments. New Line Cinema began development of the film in 2004. The film starred newcomer Nikki Blonsky as Tracy Turnblad, John Travolta as Edna Turnblad, and Christopher Walken as Wilbur Turnblad. The production was nominated for a number of awards and won a number, including the Teen Choice Award as the Choice Summer Movie- Comedy/Musical of 2007 and Young Hollywood Awards for Nikki Blonsky and Zac Efron.