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Hairspray Holds Up Well On Opening Night at the TPAC in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Hairspray - Broadway's Tony Award-winning comedy is back on tour which included a stop at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) in Nashville, Tennessee from June 11-16, 2024. The musical follows 16-year-old Tracy Turnblad in 1960s Baltimore as she sets out to dance her way onto a popular TV show and make the world a better place.

Fans arrived early for Hairspay as it opened a week-long run in Nashville.

Hairspray opened on Broadway in NYC on August 15, 2002 and ran through early 2009. It received Tony Award nominations in 13 categories, winning eight, including best musical, book, score and direction. Hairspray has also travelled the world and was made into a film in 2007. The London production was selected for a record-setting eleven Laurence Olivier Awards, earning three plus Best New Musical.

At the TPAC - on opening night - we found ourselves in Baltimore as Tracy wakes up to greet the day. Most of her tale is told through 60's inspired song and dance numbers that are generally upbeat yet are tackling heavier topics. In this case discrimination against race, weight and big hair. The musical also encourages people to pursue their dreams and overcome obstacles. As the story unfolds, even Tracy's normally obstinate mother finds her way to become inspired by her daughter's courage to stand up for what is right.

The beloved score of hit songs including "Welcome to the '60s," "Good Morning Baltimore", "You Can't Stop the Beat" and more had the TPAC cheering throughout the night as Hairspray addressed social issues in a comical and musical way. Yet, it also touched upon relationships with the relatable "Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now" and the sweet "(You're) Timeless to Me".

Perhaps one of the reasons this production is still popular is that people continue to face similar challenges even today. What makes Hairspray great is that it gives people who might be overlooked in the arts an opportunity to star in this story. Thus, Turnblad's victory in the musical is a win for the modern era. Plus, everyone loves a good story when kindness beats mean spiritedness and outdated cultural beliefs.

Thank you to the nonprofit TPAC for hosting Hairspray. Since 1980, the TPAC has presented a wide array of Broadway musicals and live performances. The TPAC gives back to the community with classroom residencies, enrichment programs, teacher resources and more. So come on down to the TPAC for Hairspray and check out their website for upcoming shows.

Related Links: For more information on HAIRSPRAY and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Hairspray Tour | TPAC


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