Good Morning, Baltimore! This Is Your HAIRSPRAY LIVE! LIVEBLOG!

It’s today! John Waters’ musical theatre classic Hairspray is coming LIVE to our television and computer screens on NBC tonight right now at 8/7 Central! This is Alaina, and I’m so freaking excited about this musical! I was so happy with The Wiz and I bet Hairspray will be just as good??? Hopefully?? I love Ariana Grande, so I have high hopes. A friend I met on tinder said that she got into a performing arts high school the same year that Ariana got denied from it, so there’s a nice tidbit.

This is Cecelia, and that’s super weird Alaina because one time I went to a summer camp where someone was best friends with Ariana Grande and they said that she didn’t go to a performing arts high school because she was already on Broadway when she was probably twelve or something? Wow, what a small and petty world! This liveblog is already starting off exactly how John Waters would want it to start, which is with gossip and drama and glitter and lies.

Here’s a bit of our pre-blog chit chat to get you started:

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alaina [7:01 PM]
god i love this like “It’s a play!” style of set design
and the video of jfk ok set that scene!

cecelia
the attention to DETAIL omg yes camera crane do that work

alaina
WHY IS THERE A HOMELESS BLACK WOMAN EATING OUT OF THE TRASH????
SHE’S NOT IN THE ORIGINAL IS SHE I HATE THAT???

cecelia
is she double cast as the homeless woman from Rent I wonder
because if so that makes her the realest

alaina
LOLOLOLOL
they have already put every single dance move in hairspray into this opening number

cecelia_
its so extra so fast
those rats are great actors

alaina
those rats lmao
i forgot how much happens in this single song

cecelia_
unsung hero of Hairspray: the flasher

alaina
true true true
DID SHE JUST FORGET THE WORDS

cecelia_
okay so I will say that by this amount of time into Rocky Horror recently, I hated it already, and I am not currently feeling that
I am currently feeling pretty great

alaina
no i think it’s super earnest
i’m enjoying it

cecelia_
they’re just like “loud! big! colorful! distractions! rats!”


alaina [7:05 PM]
do you think they’re gonna say negro???

cecelia_
maybe? omg ariana grande MY GIRLLLLLLLLL

alaina
omg
harvey is killing it

cecelia_
ALSO HARVEY
my heart sings, my heart soars that harvey is in this version
that’s the only reason it’s real
look they said it

alaina
they did say it
good
lolololol wait i HATE Link!!
wait i don’t hate him he’s a twink
write that on the post:
Link is a twink!
but like, the least straight of all the male actors. except that red head

cecelia_
i like how they’re like “these kids are dumb”
omg kristin
it’s all happening so fast my heart has zero time to adjust

alaina
yeah i need a commercial break so much is happening

cecelia_
see this is how you do it, you put LIFELONG PROFESSIONALS in the live version

alaina
Link’s BROWS like DAMN

cecelia_
Ariana is genuinely too cute in this role
it is unfair how cute she is


alaina [7:11 PM]
also, the trope of this dad with the wild colored shirts who just loves his baby girl is a great trope

cecelia_
i’m already impatient to see “you’re timeless tom me”
harvey and martin short are everything in these casting decisions

alaina
martin short really is great. he also looks like he could be a warlock. they are the perfect little family
i’m gonna start saying “ooh, that’s a skill you can take right to the bank”
this really does fall just a touch flat without the audience laughs after these great one liners

cecelia_
YES
they are adding this song
they’re doing the real actual version — “I’m a big girl now” is amazing

alaina
kristen chenoweth is completely acting for the camera
like she has no interaction with her daughter
i’m dying

cecelia_
overall this is great so far

alaina
yeah overall 10/10 would recommend

cecelia_
really clever use of making it actually live but good for television

alaina
i think this is a really strong choice a musical to that to bc it works so well with television/film and really is just like a revue in that the main important thing is just staging really awesome/fun dance #s which they’re totes doing!

cecelia_
okay so I will say? and I know this is petty but like, I’m not super buying Ariana’s acting? I’m sorry I’m petty I love you Ariana

alaina
no ariana is definitely the weakest link
she’s doing that quiet voice thing?
that i hate?

cecelia_
It’s okay she’s been on Broadway before she’s just warming up it’ll get better


alaina [7:25 PM]
alright we’re back
this tracy has a really great voice

cecelia_
okay wait ariana just got a genuine laugh from me in her “i can hear the bells” confusion

alaina
she plays confused SO WELL
but sometimes i want a more nuanced performance? like gimme some new beats

cecelia_
hahahahaha Link is so so so gay
he looks genuinely like a Ken doll come to life
that is the only thing suspending my disbelief of them falling in love

alaina
i’m also super happy, just a side note, that this tracy isn’t like size 14 fat? like but is actually a fat girl and is fucking killing it?? yeah i’m super excited

cecelia_
yes yes yes so true

alaina
wait
is link like ACTUALLY
supposed to be a ken doll come to life?

cecelia_
oh wait
yeah why is he actually walking around like a ken doll
ohhhhh it’s like cuz she’s daydreaming
listen everyone I have a degree in theatre
an ENTIRE DEGREE
I understand metaphor

alaina
BUT BAD STAGE METAPHORS ARE BAD
oh look, K Cheno sings an operatic line!

cecelia_
I really love Kristin singing Miss Baltimore Crabs
surprise did you know she can sing operatic notes
she’s like “listen Idina, you got Frozen, but can you do THIS?”

alaina
honestly though, her boobs look great in this dress?

cecelia_
great job makeup team for that boob contour

alaina
is this reddiwhip thing a commercial or part of hairspray
are you seeing this?
i can’t tell is this an ad?

cecelia_
oh yeah the reddiwhip character, classic
can you imagine the casting call for that commerical
the dude’s like “can you sing and dance with a can in your hand? SURE CAN”

alaina
we’re looking for That Guy


alaina [7:38 PM]
also rosie as the lesbian gym teacher
amazing casting

cecelia_
OH MY GOD yes rosie!!! she is *such* a lesbian gym teacher

alaina
tracy: “i’ve never heard you complain”

cecelia_
finally, black people
this musical is about to actually start

alaina
truly the musical doesn’t start until the black people come in you’re so right

cecelia_
allies! take notes from tracy! don’t be afraid to ask questions but LEARN from your mistakes
and also, be good at dancing
being good at dancing really, really helps

alaina
OMG i didn’t realize they put the black kids in special ed????
also “I’m a bad bad girl who needs to be punished” me too Tracy me too

cecelia_
omg what the WHAT the black kids are in SPECIAL ED?
hahahaha Tracy is canonical bratty bottom
okay John waters, re: special ed, that’s fucked up

alaina
but i think that happened! which is why it’s so wild
also, lil inez is not in high school why is she at this high school dance

cecelia_
Lil Inez is too cool for everything including elementary school

alaina
it’s so easy to be a cool/good dancer in this musical?? just thrust those hips

cecelia_
omfg ariana grande is killing. me. she’s confused but in a way that’s like she just took on human form and landed to earth, it’s so funny, i’m dying laughing
she’s always gonna be my #1 pop princess tho

alaina
like all her acting is the embodiment of :alien:

cecelia_
I love this dance fight
let’s all settle our disputes via dancing please
people of color will win

alaina [7:45 PM]
true
happened in west side story too


alaina [7:50 PM]
“they’ll never get to college but they sure look cool” is a dream i have for my children

cecelia_
same, I honestly should have taken that advice to heart earlier for myself

alaina
true
omg
ariana
i’m crying

cecelia_
hahahaahahahaha wait okay I think ariana is catfishing us or whatever that acting of equivalent of “you think im bad but actually im brilliant” is

alaina
ok lemme tell you about this actor playing Link: he is the star of his BFA musical theatre program, used to have really bad acne and then got cute-ish but is still figuring out his sexuality

cecelia_
omg you are spot on
everyone at his high school is watching this in an auditorium even though it’s 9pm

alaina
wait but tracy’s like weird moaning almost orgasming sound oh my

cecelia_
honestly i’m into how weirdly sexual this musical is, i forgot

alaina
yeah it’s SO sexual! they took this out of the movie i love that they put it in for prime time television

cecelia_
but it actually feels sexy unlike the Rocky Horror reboot where they managed to sterilize it

alaina
so wild how that happens!


cecelia_ [8:05 PM]
Harvey Feinstein is making me feel reborn as Edna again
“Mr. Pinky’s Hefty Hideaway” needs to exist as an actual plus-size only store NOW
there need to be more mother-daughter broadway showstoppers
“Welcome to the 60’s” is like, the only one

alaina
omg
i love their relationship
i was just thinking how pure
also seth macfarlane as mr pinky is also everything we needed

cecelia_
wait Pinky is that dude from Will and Grace

alaina
in these trying times this is what we need

cecelia_
wait no not seth macfarlane who is he

alaina
oh shit wait
right
who is he!
sean hayes!

cecelia_
Sean Hayes
hahaha
bless google
also how the actual fuck does Harvey Feinstein look so good after all these years like, there she is, Edna, in all her full glory

alaina
better than ever
like this performance is so new and fresh and perfect i love the two of them

cecelia_
I just have…so much love for this cast?

alaina
also loving the greek chorus girls

cecelia_
great job NBC for figuring out we’ll love it if we love the people in it

alaina
this is just so good

cecelia_
I wonder if Darren Criss feels upset that he’s the commercial narrator and not Link
alaina
i would be


cecelia_ [8:18 PM]
my new fave insult:”you have acne of the soul”
but like, anyone actually struggling with acne, i’ve been there, shout out to you

alaina
mine is “is slow and fast at the same time”
also “you’re beautiful when you’re unconscious”
GOD this musical is such a READ!
this is my fa vorite song
i wanna play seaweed

cecelia_
I. LOVE. HOW. CONFIDENT. TRACY. IS. IN. HER. SEXUALITY.
ALL OF THEM ACTUALLY
theyre like confidently sexually active teens
with no shame
yes “run and tell that” is also my fave

alaina
this is so good. this twerking in the alley scene is everything i have ever wanted from a musical in my life

cecelia_
agreed, the dancing in this musical rivals maybe only west side story

alaina
lil inez is the best character in all of hairspray like LOOK AT THIS TALENTED LITTLE DARK BROWN GIRL WITH NATURAL HAIR

cecelia_
Lil Inez singing in this song is my favorite part

alaina
i’m litterally sobbing

cecelia_
my absolute favorite part

alaina
this song has too many musical bangers
it’s not fair

cecelia_
this musical was so fucking ahead of its time
a big girl who gets the guy, black people celebrating their vibrancy, white people in power losing
why is this not my favorite musical
i think it is now

alaina
like
ME TOO
they GOT ME


alaina [8:30 PM]
omg

cecelia_
jesus just when you think it couldnt get better

alaina
this is just so afro-tastic

cecelia_ [8:31 PM]
Jennifer god damn Hudson

alaina
ok even if jennifer hudson was my mom i don’t think i would dance that sexy

cecelia_
seaweed is trying to make moves on ariana grande and like, great job
“what are you doing in this huge group of minorities?” is like, everyone who knew me in high school is saying to me right now

alaina
lololololol
wait this mom fight i love it

cecelia_
I’m Tracy realizing like — um? it’s more fun here also I’m one of them?

alaina
BUT THEN DAD COMES IN

cecelia_
roll THRU daddy-o, “HOLD MOMMY’S WAFFLES” OMG THESE QUOTES like “what happened to the spineless boy I fell in love with?” jesus this scene is FILLED with one liners
“are all white people like that?” “No, just most.”

alaina
oops when tracy realizes link is actually a racist

cecelia_
yikes the way Link says “these people”

alaina
is “i’m not throwing away my shot” actually in hairspray or did they put it in here for the hamilton points?

cecelia_
omg how dare he use Hamilton’s “I’m not throwing away my shot” line in vain
I think Lin Manuel Miranda must have stolen it
he must have done something bad in his life once
I don’t know why Edna is so worried about looking bad on television she looks GREAT

alaina
PRIME REAL ESTATE
she looks amazing

cecelia_
can we talk about how “big, blonde and beautiful” is literally just about one big blonde and beautiful and black lady talking about how much she loves her body to another
i never realized how grateful I am for this musical until now

alaina
we have needed Hairspray our whole lives and we thought it was a cheesy seat filler
how dare we

cecelia_
it’s like: yeah, just make really big musical numbers about what you love, even if it’s EATING FOOD
HOW DARE WE

alaina
this is a musical celebrating fat women and black people and having them all be sexual and there is a trans woman as a mother and it’s…wow. this is just wow

cecelia_
I’m re-thinking my whole career, like: how cleverly can I disguise my political messages in the trick of jazz hands?
it’s so wow

alaina
wow this protest scene is amazing
wow this is so timely right now
i’m gonna never stop saying wow

cecelia_
I was looking for a “Black Lives Matter” protest sign

alaina
jenneifer riffing “tracyyyyyyyyy oh tracy!”
at the end

cecelia_
YES GIRLS FIGHT EVERY DAY IS NEGRO DAY
oh poor darren chris he looks so jealous of everyone on stage


alaina [8:50 PM]
ugh “timeless to me,” he loves her so much

cecelia_
can we change “plus-sized” to “queen-sized” please
this is true love
this might actually make me believe in True Love again

alaina
like i wanna be in a housedress with a cutie in a wild shirt dancing together
imagine if you had edna and wilbur as parents

cecelia_
I love how they didn’t go for *~*~*star power*~*~* and focused on the best people for the roles

alaina
imagine how little therapy you’d have to go to?

cecelia_
I would be so much better if edna and wilbur were my parents
zero therapy

alaina
i would be full of light
well adjusted

cecelia_
like they’re weirdo outcasts and so am i and we all love each other and we’re gonna celebrate it with grand broadway songs
that’s why tracy is so confident and vibrant
cus they’re like “yeah obviously you’re perfect and need nothing else”
literally nothing can get in your way if you have self-love that stands in the face of institutionalized systems of power

alaina
amen

cecelia_
that’s what conclusion i’ve drawn from that loving ballad


cecelia_ [9:04 PM]
“I’ll eat some breakfast then change the world” is my new Tinder bio

alaina
yes yes yes, also fuck link tracy deserves better

cecelia_
right but can you imagine any white teen being like “oh wait, something matters more than me” in a matter of hours

alaina
look at those pouty lips

cecelia_
tracy said it: “I have a wonderful life, great parents”

alaina
honestly, like every successful person i know is like “yeah i had a really loving home environment with both my parents who still love each other” so like that’s the key to success // also this song isn’t one of my favs, but i love tracy being sexual

cecelia_
this musical provides a model for all of us to study and follow
agreed, tracy being sexual is great

alaina
wait penny’s mom tying her to the bed this is so kinky

cecelia_
she was the original Tina Belcher
hahahaha yikes

alaina
SHE WAS // i just want ariana to belt a little bit on the higher notes, like just one time with no whisper head voice, just once

cecelia_
seaweed cant untie these knots did he not go to shibari rope bondage class?

alaina
he’s not a safe rope top

cecelia_
he’s not // i agree i’m surprised by the whisper, because she can belt

alaina
wait that mom flipping over the bed is me

cecelia_ [9:10 PM]
hahahahahaha

alaina
like that as a gif

cecelia_
SOMEONE MAKE A GIF
do you hear us, Twitter
I think Ariana is just so used to pop singing
i’ve heard the Thirteen the Musical soundtrack, she can belt

alaina
yeah i believe it she even sometimes does it in her deep cuts


cecelia_ [9:19 PM]
honestly Lil Inez saying “she’ll kill him, not the white girl” about seaweed is the realest line of musical theatre ever

alaina
jennifer is about to WAIL i can feel it in my spirit

cecelia_
i’m not ready or deserving

alaina
oooh wow the woman singing the cry just kinda became the star

cecelia_
glad the candles on my altar are lit because she’s sending me powerful healing energy with her voice
yes
yeah who is SHE
wow
most of my actual religious experiences havent been half as powerful as jennifer hudson singing this song

alaina
HOLY WOW
that was

cecelia_
wow fucking wow

alaina
an experience


9:28]
THIS DUDE
what’s his name, billy???

cecelia_
billy i love him

alaina
yeah the casting is top notch on this one

cecelia_
BILLY EICHNER
wow
he just SCREAMS
that’s his method of acting
it’s actually funny tho

alaina
amazing intro
and finally a live live audience

cecelia_
finally we get to see them
hahah what is wilbur doing
what’s he getting at here

alaina
so homegirl has a crush on tracy and is jealous of link for acting on it

cecelia_
like knows the actor who plays tracy
or just tracy the character

alaina
just tracy the character

cecelia_
amber von tussel is the most boring mean girl character of all time

alaina
but i ship them as an irl couple

cecelia_
i ship tracy with basically everyone over link

alaina
wait
penny coming in being held above men’s heads
is everything i want
ariana give it to us
thank you!

cecelia_
she’s perfect
this costume is what we needed all along for her

alaina
she’s not built for a live 3 hour musical and preserved herself for the best part
wouldn’t this be amazing if this was how integration worked?

cecelia_
ugh big musical numbers with dancing fill my heart with the purest of joys
i know right
can you imagine if we broke the fourth wall and told these hopeful characters from the 60’s what 2016 looks like

alaina
yikes
i don’t wanna do it
YES GRADUATE DEGREE IN MUSICOLOGY WITH MINOR IN ETHNIC STUDIES

cecelia_
HAHAHAHAH
yesssssss
was that in the original? love that line
she’s going to college

alaina
i have NO clue
but i love it
i am so uncomfortable with penny’s mom

cecelia_
okay so penny is gonna have mommy issues forver

alaina
yikesssssssss

cecelia_
it’s very yikes
SHES FLIRTING W/ SEAWEED?
super yikes
omg Edna looks better than anyone i’ve ever seen
once again, shout out to whoever is doing the boob contour

alaina
all of them in these sequinned dresses in each of the primary colors

cecelia_
alright then Jennifer Hudson came along in that gold suit

alaina
this is beautiful
and wilbur’s floral blazer

cecelia_
I haven’t felt this hopeful in months for the American spirit

alaina
NBC puts these musicals on air right when we need them
god that was so good
i feel RENEWED!

cecelia_
can you imagine if trump supporters were just one “yes you can” “no you cant” “yes you can” away from changing their minds about being terrible humans

alaina
hahahahha

cecelia_
that was great

alaina
also wow that was almost 3 full hours
like damn
musical theatre was like WE TAKING OVER

cecelia_
omg and now Jennifer Hudson and Ariana Grande are performing??? wow
yeah, we needed this at this exact moment
we need Hairspray now more than ever

Cecelia is a playwright and student living in Houston. She is most passionate about writing and watching the honest queer experience in film, television or theatre. She also finds herself to be very moved emotionally by zines, squirrels and emojis. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @zo0mbini.

Cecelia has written 24 articles for us.

20 Comments

  1. cecelia “omfg ariana grande is killing. me. she’s confused but in a way that’s like she just took on human form and landed to earth, it’s so funny, i’m dying laughing
    she’s always gonna be my #1 pop princess tho” THIS IS TOOOO TRUEEEE

  2. Totally agree that this Tracy is perfect and is killing it, but having seen the stage show and performed some if it for a showcase the pacing for some of the songs is wrong-wrong-wrong.
    Have some critique and suggestions on the blocking of several scenes too. >_>

    However that’s not the point of this play to me.
    Love and justice are.

    Which from the original John Waters to that film of the stage was present, snuck in there maybe but there.

    And the lines.

  3. I AM LOVING THIS ADAPTATION SO FAR, BY FAR ONE OF THE TOP “LIVE TV” MUSICALS. And my viewing experience, as always, is made one billion times better because of Autostraddle!!!

    I want Alaina and Cecelia to be like, The New Official Cultural Commentary Team for all major televised events. The Olympics? Alaina and Cecelia tell NBC’s faithful viewers what the heck is up with rhythmic gymnastics. Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows? Alaina and Cecelia figure out a way to make the show less oppressively cisheteropatriarchical-and-based-in-white-standards-of-beauty. The Super Bowl? Alaina and Cecelia are here to take us through each and every gay minute of Lady Gaga’s halftime performance. How can we make this happen???!!!

  4. Oh yeah almost forgot say putting the black kids in special ed and “vocational track” is not just a thing that happened, it’s still happening just not only as a lazy ass attempt at segregation.
    Or at least not when I was a special education student in the 90’s. However the face of “the learning disabled” ebbs and flows due to different factors.
    Some of the testing batteries made by affluent white men in the 20th Century haven’t changed, but at times that doesn’t matter as being tested or considered for testing is a privilege because of racial bias in regards to intelligence and academic performance.

  5. Thank you for making this live blog a thing!!! It has made my Hairspray viewing experience EVEN BETTER! I did want more Jennifer Hudson though. I’m gonna go watch her carpool karaoke episode because clearly it’s the best one BY FAR.

  6. I liked it, I just felt it was missing some energy (is probably the best word I can use). I loved the cameo from Ricki Lake and Marissa Jaret Winoker but where was John Waters cameo or did he have one and I missed it. That’s okay, I DVR’s and will re-watch this weekend.

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