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Kills the Ozone, Saves the Country

Hairspray is necessary for life


John Waters' bouffant juggernaut, Hairspray, is a balm to the souls of world-weary audiences everywhere. The core of the story is simple: Tracy Turnblad, a slightly more-than-zaftig Baltimore teen, is like that girl in the Don Henley song — all she wants to do is dance. And make romance, maybe. But in the segregated '60s, whites dance with whites only, especially on The Corny Collins Show. Tracy has other ideas, and thanks to her sass, chutzpah, moxie and a bulletproof hairdo, she makes her all-dancers-are-equal-regardless-of-skin-color fantasy a reality. So, burning around that core of simplicity is an incandescent corona of idealism and optimism, and the white-hot lyrics and music of Marc Shaiman. Where else but in an American musical could racism, weightism and moralism be vanquished by the power of the hully-gully? And where else but in an American musical based on a John Waters film could America's original "It Guy" Jim J. Bullock return to prominence? OK, Bullock's only playing Wilbur Turnblad instead of Edna Turnblad, but we still love him for his goofy charm and are just glad to see him working. Hairspray drops its badonkadonk on the Fox Theatre (527 North Grand Boulevard) at 8 p.m. tonight; tickets are $26 to $70, and shows continue through Sunday, May 7. Call 314-534-1111 or visit for more information.
May 3-7