Hairspray

New York, NY; Seattle, WA

Tapped to turn the 1988 movie Hairspray into a Broadway musical, David Rockwell ’s theater sets aimed to capture the quirky humor of the original John Waters’s film. Set in 1962, the story follows teenager Tracy Turnblad in her quest to land a spot on a dance show at the local TV station in of Baltimore, its row houses represented in the sets by Formstone facades. TV informs the two-dimensional set design of the station, where most of the action takes place, resulting in an array of graphic patterns and abstracted forms. The behind-the-scenes look incorporates a suspended latticework of microphone booms, an LED wall of 610 circular pegs suggesting a Lite Brite toy, and a contoured curtain made of plastic red tubing and blue velour that reads as an enormous hairdo. For the studio’s backdrop of wide vertical stripes, the cool pastels were inspired by Necco wafers.