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University of Iowa News Release


March 30, 2007

Tony Award-Winning 'Hairspray' Comes To Hancher April 17-22

"Hairspray," the John Waters musical comedy that won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2003, will come to the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium for eight performances: at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, April 17-20, and at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 21 and 22.

A reception for UI students will take place before the Thursday, April 19, performance, featuring free food and drink provided by IMU catering with support from the Stepping Up Project. The pre-show party for UI students holding tickets to the Thursday performance will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Best Musical was one of just eight Tony Awards won by this comedy set in 1962 Baltimore -- the "Hairdo Capital of the World" -- and based on the Waters cult classic film of the same name. Sixteen-year-old Tracy Turnblad sets out to dance her way onto TV's most popular show. Can a big girl with big dreams -- and even bigger hair! -- change the world and still have time to win the boy she loves?

When she wins a spot on "The Corny Collins Show," Tracy is instantly transformed from an outsider into a teen celebrity. But can she vanquish the reigning dance-party queen, win over heartthrob Link Larson and integrate the show without denting her 'do?

The Broadway review in the New York Times concluded, "If life were everything it should be, it would be more like Hairspray. It's irresistible!"

Playwrights Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan (who co-wrote "The Producers" and won a Tony for "Annie" in 1977), lyricist Scott Wittman and five-time Oscar-nominated composer/lyricist Marc Shaiman (who co-wrote the music and lyrics for the "South Park" movie) based their work on the film by Waters, who served as creative consultant for the show. The touring show's direction and choreography are based on the Broadway originals.

Waters created "Hairspray" to celebrate boyhood memories of "The Buddy Deane Show," a TV dance party that aired in Baltimore from 1957-64. It was the top-rated local TV show in the country for several years, but eventually was scuttled in controversy about integration.

The director of the notorious "Pink Flamingos," he set most of his movies in his hometown using local talent, including Divine and Mink Stole. His other films include "Polyester," which introduced "Odorama" through the magic of scratch-and-sniff; "Lust in the Dust" with Tab Hunter; "Serial Mom" starring Kathleen Turner and Sam Waterston; "Mondo Trasho"; and "Female Trouble."

The "Hairspray" film was released in 1988 starring Ricki Lake, Deborah Harry, Sonny Bono, Jerry Stiller, Pia Zadora and Ric Ocasek. Its success led directly to the next Waters feature, "Cry-Baby" starring Johnny Depp.

"Hairspray" in Hancher is sponsored by Oaknoll Retirement Residence; McComas-Lacina Construction, L.C.; Meardon, Sueppel and Downer P.L.C.; and Shive-Hattery, Inc., through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Tickets for the Tuesday through Thursday performances are $48/40/30; UI student and youth $43.20/36/27; senior citizen $48/40/30. Tickets for the Friday through Sunday performances are $55/47/37.

Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's Web site:

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail:

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073; cell: 310-430-1013;

PHOTOS are available at