• U.S.

Big Hair…Big Hit?

2 minute read
Richard Zoglin

August is usually the dreariest month for Broadway openings, a time for boring Shaw revivals and quirky little musicals that want to sneak in and out of town before the real blockbusters arrive in the fall. But the buzz over a quirky little musical called Hairspray is providing a rare lift for Broadway’s dog days. Based on John Waters’ 1988 cult film about an overweight, twist-era teenager who fights for racial integration on the dance floor, the show got ecstatic reviews during its pre-Broadway run in Seattle. Now, as its Aug. 15 opening approaches, theater insiders are touting it as the hottest show since The Producers. Advance ticket sales have topped $6 million–approaching the $13 million The Producers racked up before its opening. Celebs like Danny DeVito and Mel Brooks have shown up at previews; newspaper columnists are virtually ordering readers to get tickets before it’s too late; and Bloomingdale’s is getting set to open Hairspray-inspired boutiques in five of its stores nationwide. The shops will sell ’60s-era clothes (including plus sizes), cosmetics, wigs and even (natch) hair spray. They’ll almost certainly do better than Bloomie’s last Broadway tie-in: a boutique featuring clothes from the flop musical Sweet Smell of Success.

–By Richard Zoglin

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