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The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Hairspray Live! Review

Hairspray Live! aired on December 7, on NBC.

On December 7th, millions of people across the country turned on their televisions, iPads, tablets, and phones to watch this once a year television special. Every December, a live musical is presented on NBC, but this year it was even more highly anticipated than usual. They would be performing one of the most famous musicals ever created… Hairspray!

Hairspray is a tale set in 1960s Baltimore. Dance-loving, big hearted and big bodied teen Tracy Turnblad defies the stereotypes by auditioning for a spot on “The Corny Collins Show” and wins. She becomes a celebrity and trendsetter in dance, fun, and fashion. Perhaps Tracy’s new status is enough to topple Corny’s reigning dance queen, Amber Von Tussle (and her equally awful mother Velma Von Tussle); find true love, and bring racial integration to the show.

Many people thought that the live television special was amazing, but there were several errors that some think should have been prevented. First off, in the opening number “Good Morning Baltimore”, Maddie Baillio (Tracy) dropped a few lyrics. Slightly later on, in “Mama I’m a Big Girl Now” the lighting went completely dark while the camera had a close-up on Tracy. Afterwards, behind-the-scenes-host Darren Criss mispronounced his own name; there were various mic problems during “Miss Baltimore Crabs” and “Welcome to the ‘60s”; and at the end of Martin Short and Harvey Fierstein’s duet you could hear the director say “30 seconds”.

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As you can probably imagine, many people were disappointed in the careless errors and other things in the show. The New York Times stated that “For ‘Hairspray Live!’ on Wednesday night, NBC lassoed some talented performers with fine singing voices but sacrificed cohesion by cramming the evening with too much interstitial fluff.”

However, there was some positive feedback as well. Many people thought that “Hairspray Live seemed to have more gaffes than any of the network’s previous live musicals. Not that they in any way disappointed us or hindered our enjoyment of the production—in fact, they reminded us just how much work goes into making live television look seamless.” (E News).

Personally, I still have not decided on whether I agree with NY Times or E News. The show was slightly disappointing, but NBC has lifted our spirits. They announced what next year’s musical television special will be: Bye Bye Birdie, starring Jennifer Lopez as Rose “Rosie” Alvarez!

By Maia Nehme

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