Behind the scenes of Hairspray The Broadway Musical

  • Arts
  • Monday, 16 Sep 2013

Reprints of actual 1960s newspaper articles

Find out just how much work is put into setting up the popular musical in Malaysia.

HAIRSPRAY The Broadway Musical is set in 1960s Baltimore where young Tracy Turnblad dreams of becoming a cast member on popular dance programme The Corny Collins Show.

However, Tracy is told by producer Velma Von Tussle that she does not have the “right size” for TV. Later, Tracy proves she has all the right moves to be on the show and becomes an overnight sensation.

Before the curtains rise for Hairspray The Broadway Musical tonight, get to know the miracle workers behind the scenes.

All that hair

They don’t call it Hairspray The Broadway Musical for nothing! Head of hair and makeup Jenny Maiquez said there are 54 wigs used in the show and each female cast member will go through at least four of them. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes for cast members to get fitted with their custom-made wigs.

The tallest wig belongs to Velma Von Tussle’s (The Legend Of) Miss Baltimore Crabs look.

Maiquez said the cast members do their own makeup and she’ll be around to supervise them.

“One thing I have to do is remind most of the girls that the musical is not set in 2013. So keep the look retro!”

Costumes galore

What do you do when you have more than 100 costumes for a musical with 26 actors? You go to Chrissy Maddison of course!

The costume supervisor for Hairspray explained: “Most of the costumes were brought in from the original US production. We spent at least six weeks doing the fittings and alterations. It’s a lot of hard work, after all, we have 26 actors.”

It is estimated that the cost of all the costumes comes up to US$125,000 (RM411,250)!

One of the dresses worn by Damian Williams, who plays Tracy’s mum, Edna, weighs close to 8kg. And the actor has to wear padding underneath the dress. Now, that’s a drag.

Blinding lights

It takes a village to raise a child, they say. Same goes in staging a Broadway musical. Production manager Gary Beestone and his team spent two days getting the set and 140 light units up before technical rehearsals began on Sunday.

“For Hairspray, we have 18 scenes and close to 400 light changes!” said Beestone.

Old is gold

Company manager Nick Bromley proudly claimed that some of the props are actual vintage items. “This television set is from the 1960s and one of the saxophones we used is actually from the 1940s.”

Bromley shared that even the newspapers – though reprints – were meticulously researched to feature actual articles from the 1960s.

Hairspray The Broadway Musical premieres tonight at the Plenary Hall, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and will run until Sept 22. It is presented by Yvents! with Star Publications (M) Bhd as the media partner.

HSBC Cards is the official credit card. HSBC credit card holders enjoy exclusive discounts on tickets.

Tickets, priced at RM190, RM290, RM390, RM490 and RM590 (excluding a RM3 ticketing fee), are available from TicketsPeople.

For details, call 03-2287 2727 or visit

Related stories:

Hairspray The Broadway Musical cast arrives

Positvely uplifting playing Tracy Turnblad

Tracy Turnblad through the years

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