With NBC‘s live production of Hairspray drawing closer, we can’t help but think of all the incredible women who’ve starred in the lead role over the years.
As you may recall, Ricki Lake made the character Tracy Turnblad famous in John Waters‘ 1988 hit film Hairspray. Marissa Jaret Winokur would then go onto win a Tony for the same role in the Broadway adaptation of flick. Now Maddie Baillio is taking the reigns as the plus-size optimist for the highly anticipated televised production. So it’s safe to say the pressure is on — especially since so many young girls look up to Tracy!
However, prior to her Hairspray fame, Miz Lake didn’t ever think she’d get the chance to play a show stopping lead. In a sitdown with the others (named above), the 48-year-old recalled to People:
“I remember telling my mom I wanted to be in Annie, and she told me, ├óΓé¼╦£You’re not the starving orphan type.'”
But who wants to be Annie when you could be Tracy? Or at least, that’s what Marissa Jaret thought when she saw the ’80s film. The Fever Pitch actress added:
“I remember seeing the movie for the first time and thinking, ├óΓé¼╦£She’s doing it. I can do it too!’
Talk about being an inspiration! She continued:
├óΓé¼ΓÇ╣”Hairspray dealt with weight issues, but, Ricki, you went on to roles that had nothing to do with that. I remember seeing Mrs. Winterbourne, and I was like, ├óΓé¼╦£Okay, now she’s just the lead.’ It had nothing to do with [your body type].”
Although, Ricki was quick to remind her that Hollywood is still working on accepting bodies of all sizes as she quipped:
“I was on a diet for that entire film, though. Still, I love the fact that I’ve been able to reinvent myself. Being an actress is difficult enough, and being able to play the ingenue when you don’t look like the typical ingenue is incredible.”
Hear! Hear! Not to mention, Baillio highlighted how the musical’s themes about race and body image are pretty relevant to today’s society. She explained:
“I think Hairspray is just as relevant today as it would have been in the ’60s, with segregation and body positivity. That’s a huge thing now. I think this is a really great time for the show to come back.”
Nonetheless, the three women are definitely proud of the impact Hairspray has had on the younger generation. MJW put it best as she concluded:
“It’s amazing that there are young girls everywhere who have had to play Jan in Grease or the old lady, and now they get to be Tracy Turnblad. In reality, there are more Tracys in every high school than there are Rizzos. And now there’s Melissa McCarthy ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ there are people who we can look to. It’s inspiring.”
Preach! Be sure to catch Hairspray Live! when it airs on December 7 on NBC!
[Image via FayesVision/Nicky Nelson/WENN.]