Its 1962. JFK is fighting the Cuban Missile Crisis. Americas archetype of beauty, Marilyn Monroe, is found dead. Racial integration is on the minds of students and parents everywhere, and changes to stale cultural standards are fast-approaching. It is in this political climate that even a simple act of trying out for a quirky, homespun dance show becomes a major political statement. Or so it goes, if you are pleasantly plump Baltimore teenager, Tracy Turnblad in the Broadway hit Hairspray.
Covered under a thick, dizzying blanket of aerosol haze, Hairspray operates superficially as a nostalgic nod to 1960s dances like the Twist and the Hully Gully. But beyond the saccharine-sweet sing-a-longs lays a subversive tale against fat oppression and social injustice. The Tony Award-winning musical, based on the cult John Waters film, shows Miss Turnblad winning a spot on the Corny Collins Show. With that victory comes others: snagging heartthrob Link Larkin, fighting racism on local TV, and blending the lines between outsiders and squares.
Performances begin tonight at 8 at Broward Center for the Performing Arts Au-Rene Theater (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale). Tickets cost $25 to $65. Call 954-462-0222, or visit browardcenter.org.
Fri., Oct. 17, 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 18, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 19, 8 p.m., 2008