I think that ‘Hairspray’ is a great musical. At the beginning it looks like a funny story, trivial, about a chubby teenager who likes to dance and sing, but then you realise that is a lot more than that. I’m sure that it’s one of the main reasons of the success of the show. It’s beautiful to see, nice, enjoyable and you spend a good time. The songs are catchy and the story is quite agile.
You can see that Tracy Turnblad is a wonderful character, self-confident, with a lot of personality and talent. And you see her fighting for respect, for equality in society, something vulnerable and important at the same time. Racism is an important part of American history, but very understandable in the rest of the world.
Today, most of the people don’t see any difference between black and white people, but of course it’s important to make them think about racism, about why is useless to judge people just because of the colour of the skin. ‘Hairspray’ is also a movie about love and respect to the difference. It’s a universal message that can last forever.
I remember watching ‘Memphis’ at the Shaftesbury Theatre, in London. It was a fantastic show and it reminded me a lot about ‘Hairspray’ but more in an adult way, just because the characters were adults, not teenagers. But the meaning of the show was the same, which makes me think that it’s a very recurrent subject on Broadway and very useful as well.
For me, one of the best scenes of the musical is ‘I Know Where I’ve Been’. All the black people are marching on the street because the ‘Negro Day’ has been cancelled from the Corny Collins Show and Tracy is on the front row supporting them with her mother. I find this song really moving and inspiring, a wish of hope of a brighter future that we believe also today.
What do you think about ‘I Know Where I’ve Been’?