Celebrate the 17th Anniversary of Hairspray Opening on Broadway

Photo Features   Celebrate the 17th Anniversary of Hairspray Opening on Broadway
Flip through the photo celebration of the Tony Award-winning musical, based on the John Waters film, that opened on Broadway August 15, 2002.

The stage musical adaptation of John Waters’ 1988 film Hairspray opened on Broadway August 15, 2002, at the Neil Simon Theatre.

Songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman collaborated with librettists Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan on the musical adaptation of Waters’ Baltimore-set story of a plus-size girl who breaks social and racial barriers on local TV in the 1960s.

Hairspray won eight 2003 Tony Awards, including Best Book, Best Score, and Best Musical. Jack O’Brien directed (and won a Tony for his work), while Jerry Mitchell was Tony-nominated for his roof-raising choreography.

Waters’ original film starred Ricki Lake as Tracy Turnblad, Divine as Edna Turnblad, and Sonny Bono as Wilbur Turnblad. On Broadway, the roles were originated by Marissa Jaret Winokur, Harvey Fierstein, and the late Dick Latessa. Winokur, Fierstein, and Latessa won Tony Awards for their performances.

The original cast also included such notables as Glee star Matthew Morrison, Kerry Butler, Laura Bell Bundy, Jackie Hoffman, Joshua Bergasse, and Shoshana Bean.

Hairspray arrived on Broadway with a healthy box-office advance and Producers-like word of mouth after earning glowing reviews in its out-of-town tryout at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre. For its final full week of previews, Hairspray garnered $722,688 in ticket sales, playing at 95.8% capacity. The show’s cast album, which was released ahead of its Broadway run, was already placing on major music charts. The production returned its entire $10.5 million investment in under 10 months.

Hairspray ended its Broadway run January 4, 2009, after 31 previews and 2,642 regular performances. The stage musical was later adapted into a successful 2007 film musical, and a live adaptation aired on NBC in December 2016.

Take a look back through some of Hairspray's highlights below.

When we got our first look at Hairspray on Broadway:

When they brought Hairspray to the Hollywood Bowl with members of the original cast:

When the cast reunited at Disaster! on Broadway:

When the film version officially premiered in New York:

When we got the first look at the cast of Hairspray Live!:

When Hairspray Live! went live:

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