2007 rendition of Hairspray remains empowering and timeless

Rory Wainwright, Associate Editor

The original 1988 musical Hairspray, written by Thomas Meehan, has been remade multiple times but never loses its classic touch. In 2007, they remade the film with actors Zac Efron, Nikki Blonsky, John Travolta and Queen Latifah. It was produced by Ingenious Media and Zadan/Merton Productions. Adam Shankman directed and choreographed the film. The music written for the newer-version of this musical is composed by Marc Shaiman. This version was nominated for several awards in the arts department, as well as earning $203.5 million at the box office. 

Hairspray offers an array of obstacles that high-schooler and dance enthusiast Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) must overcome in order to be able to live her dream of equality. Every day after school, Tracy and her best friend Penny (Amanda Bynes), gather around the television to dance along to “The Corny Collins Show. The show is a musical in itself, featuring singing and dance numbers. Although there is one rule for this 1960s show, they must stay segregated. A spot opens on the show and Tracy takes the opportunity to audition. After landing the position, her beehive hairstyle and two-toned hair become an iconic symbol of Baltimore’s media. While venturing through the harsh words of her critics, Tracy learns to love herself as well as everyone in the world around her, no matter what the color of their skin is. Rebellion for a cause turns into Tracy’s downfall, but soon rebuilds confidence in herself. The Corny Collins Show” hosts a Miss Teenage Hairspray Pageant in order to crown the next lead dancer. During this pageant, host Corny Collins decides to make the biggest decision in Baltimore television history. 

This timeless feel-good movie is a must-see, especially for those who love musicals. The soundtracks, paired with the incredible dance numbers lighten the situation while also taking the historical aspect into consideration. The 60s were a transformative time with culture and what is deemed appropriate. Plus size women were rarely seen on TV and they are still not equally portrayed in shows that are set in such a time period. Tracy Turnblad bends the standards of what the average female should look like, and she embraces it with every two-step, twirl and twist. This movie helps children understand that there is no standard to love, everyone is equal; it also dedicates its fun, upbeat music to teaching its viewers that the world is whatever they want to mold it into. Where there is hope, there is value. 

The film is empowering and timeless. In a time like today’s society and what is expected, children are taught to act and look a certain way, but with Hairspray, they are shown that everyone is accepted as they are. It is rated appropriately and has no gore or suggestive language. While educational, it is also entertaining and informative.