After five long years of performing on Broadway, Hairspray will finally be exported to London’s Shaftesbury Theatre this fall. Call me skeptical, but could the timing be intended as an insurance policy against the upcoming July 20 release of the new silver screen version starring John Travolta and Queen Latifah?
Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed Hairspray from the moment I first saw it in Seattle tryouts prior to its official debut on Broadway. American audiences have long since enjoyed the touring production crisscrossing the United States.
Inexplicably, according to Broadway.com, casting for a London production began shortly after Hairspray landed successfully on the Great White Way, and even the West End’s Adelphi Theatre was booked. Yet all plans were in limbo until now, the eve of the launch of the movie.
It seems to me that to ensure that the new movie is as universally popular as possible in the English-speaking world, the almighty British audience must first embrace the stage version of the show. But late autumn may prove to be too late, especially if the movie pales in comparison to the stage production.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).