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Waters it up: Take in some song and dance

By by dianna wray/dwray@vicad.com
June 29, 2011 at 1:29 a.m.


What's better than a musical? Why, a musical based on a John Waters movie, of course.

I love musicals. There, I can finally admit it. Whether it's the boards of Broadway or the froth of a Busby Berkeley Hollywood extravaganza, if there's singing and dancing, I'm there.

So, when I heard Zach Theatre in Austin was putting on a production of "Hairspray," I may have made my patented I'm-going-to-see-a-musical-and-I-love-them-so noise. It's a kind of birdlike shriek.

Filmmaker John Waters is known for his "transgressive cult films." Waters looks at communities and celebrates what people usually try to hide in his films. You know, the kinds of movies that tell the kinds of stories that freak most people out, at least a little bit.

"Hairspray" is his only movie that drifted anywhere near becoming mainstream.

If you don't like the tale of how chubby teen Tracy Turnblad lands a spot on a 1960s dance show in Baltimore, and makes it her mission to get those groovy teens integrated, you should settle down and really enjoy your collection of pet rocks. Maybe do some math or something.

Anyway, "Hairspray," the musical, opened on Broadway in 2002. The show kept the Waters sensibility - the hilarious irreverence masking pointy social commentary - and added some nifty songs. "I Can Hear the Bells" is my favorite.

I know there's a movie out there, and it's a very pleasant movie, but hustle on out and check out the live version.

Musicals are awesome, and not an ounce of pretension is required to enjoy one.

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