All tagged Hairspray Live
Well, Hairspray Live!, the eagerly anticipated live-television event of this December has come and gone and I am thrilled to report that this one was better than most. It hit many of its marks and remained true to the beloved stage production on which it is based, yet I still feel like there were too many missteps to claim joyous rapture.
This week we will finally get to see the next live musical on television: Hairspray. Since its announcement earlier this year, I have been eager with anticipation for three reasons. First, I think it is a good choice for the live television treatment since it is a vibrant, energetic and family-friendly piece with a lot of messages that are particularly pertinent right now. Second, the film version starring John Travolta left me feeling unsatisfied, as if the fun had been drained from the piece. Finally, and perhaps foremost, I think Harvey Fierstein's indelible performance as the blossoming Edna Turnblad needs to be preserved for posterity.
Generally, I am a proponent of the trend in producing musicals “live” on television, with the proviso that they are done well and that they don’t besmirch the reputation of musical theatre. The renaissance of live musicals started a few years ago with The Sound of Music starring Carrie Underwood. It was an underwhelming effort to say the least, but it was popular enough with audiences for NBC to turn live musicals into a perennial event. Peter Pan came next and that was even more painful than The Sound of Music, especially with an under-rehearsed Christopher Walken wending his way through the role of Captain Hook. Then something miraculous happened: Musicals Live! suddenly came up with a great idea and chose a musical that didn’t already have a beloved film version and then cast it with powerhouse talent. The Wiz Live! was a exciting, bursting with energy and heart, and was also just plain good.