BY CASSIDY NOWOSAD
Hairspray Live aired Thursday, December 8th making it the fourth live musical NBC has aired. I watched eagerly as Hairspray is one of my favorite broadway plays. Maddie Baillio really fit the look of the main character Tracy I always had come to love, but her voice was lackluster in tone. Regarding Ariana Grande, her performance as Penny was not as fitting. Though her amazing singing skills her looks, attitude, and accent she used didn’t really suit the image Peggy has held in the Broadway show and Movie. Garrett Clayton’s performance as Link, and Jennifer Hudson’s performance as Maybelle, however, were nicely renditioned; the choices in performers were well fitting, they really suited the image and attitude the characters held and captivated the audience. Seaweed performed by Ephraim Sykes made the audience so entertained with the enthusiasm he portrayed with the character. The most controversial of performances was Edna by Harvey Fierstein, the director chose to make her character more resemble the actress rather than the character herself. I feel as though the attitude was very much like Edna’s in that she was very stubborn and worrisome but some of the humor was changed to suit the performer and as a result made the show different from the movie.
As for the show as a whole, I feel the harmonies were not as well coordinated as they could have been but the effects and costumes for the songs were stunning. The choreography and set really strung together the singing numbers making the live show feel very much like a movie. I also feel as though look wise every character really matched the image of the broadway plays and movie, and the acting portions were staged and perfected to a tee.
Kristin Chenoweth playing Velma Von Tussle had an attitude that would add so much energy to each scene he was in. She was also very captivating as a singer, performing in one of her other famous roles as Glinda from the Wizard of Oz. She has always been a favorite of mine because of the way she takes on the identity of the character she would play. The scene overall that stood out the most is the part where Velma teases Tracy’s Mom. In the movie Tracy’s Mom gets sad, and goes to return her clothes, but in the live one, she tells Tracy to “hold mommy’s waffles.” It was nice to see her react differently and stand up for herself (even if it was just added for comedic effect). Changing the attitude and giving the characters a more lively feel really made Hairspray an amazing show.
I would give Hairspray Live a 2.5/5 and would recommend it to any theatre fans and anyone who likes musicals. It’s also an amazing show to watch with friends and to have a good laugh at.