skip to Main Content
Is Hairspray the Musical Kid Friendly

Is Hairspray the Musical Kid Friendly? Content Warnings & Age Recommendations

Is Hairspray the Musical a show that kids can enjoy? This is a question many parents might ask themselves. After all, the musical, with its vibrant characters like Tracy Turnblad and catchy hit songs like Good Morning Baltimore, seems like it could be a great fit for a family outing. But it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you hit the dance floor.

The musical, directed by Jack O’Brien, is a lively and energetic production that has won the hearts of many since its debut. It tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger dream: to dance on the Corny Collins Show. Despite the obstacles in her way, including the snooty Amber Von Tussle and her Miss Baltimore Crabs mother, Tracy is determined to make her dream come true.

But Hairspray the Musical is more than just a tale of a girl’s dream. It’s a snapshot of the 60s, a time of change and growth. It’s about the fight for equality, represented by characters like Little Inez, Motormouth Maybelle, and Seaweed J. It’s about breaking free from societal norms, represented by Edna Turnblad, Tracy’s mother, who learns to embrace her size and step out into the world.

So, is Hairspray the Musical kid-friendly? In this guide we cover the plot, content warnings, differences between the musical and the film, age recommendations, and how to prepare your child for the show.

Key Takeaways

  • A Tale of Dreams and Equality: Hairspray the Musical tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, a girl with a dream to dance and fight for equality. It’s a vibrant show that combines catchy songs, energetic dance numbers, and a powerful message of acceptance and equality.
  • Content Warnings The musical addresses serious themes such as racial segregation and body shaming. Parents should consider their child’s maturity level and understanding of these issues before deciding to watch the show.
  • Preparing Children for the Show: To help children better understand and enjoy the show, parents can discuss the themes of the musical, introduce the characters, and listen to the music before attending the show.

Is Hairspray the Musical Kid Friendly

The Plot

The story of Hairspray the Musical is set in the 1960s in Baltimore. Our protagonist, Tracy Turnblad, is a big girl with an even bigger dream: to dance on the popular Corny Collins Show. Despite not fitting the conventional beauty standards of the time, Tracy’s infectious energy and love for dance win her a spot on the show.

However, Tracy’s dream doesn’t stop at dancing on TV. She wants to use her newfound fame to fight for equality and integrate the Corny Collins Show, which is segregated. With the help of her friends Penny Pingleton and Seaweed J, and the guidance of Motormouth Maybelle, Tracy sets out to shake up the town and make a difference.

Meanwhile, Tracy’s parents, Edna and Wilbur Turnblad, provide comic relief and heartfelt moments. Edna, a plus-sized woman who initially hesitates to step into the limelight, eventually joins Tracy in her fight for equality, reminding us that it’s never too late to stand up for what’s right.

The plot of Hairspray the Musical is a mix of catchy hit songs, energetic dance numbers, and a powerful message of acceptance and equality. It’s a story of a girl who dared to dream big and used her voice to effect change. It’s about standing up against injustice, embracing who you are, and, of course, the transformative power of dance.

Is Hairspray the Musical Kid Friendly

Content Warnings

While Hairspray the Musical is a fun and energetic show, it does tackle some serious themes that parents should be aware of. The musical addresses issues of racial segregation and body shaming, which are integral to the plot.

The show features a character, Amber Von Tussle, who is often mean-spirited and ridicules Tracy Turnblad for her size. This could be a good opportunity to talk to your child about body positivity and the importance of treating everyone with kindness and respect.

The theme of racial segregation is also prominent in the musical. Motormouth Maybelle and her daughter Little Inez face discrimination because of their race. This could be a starting point for a discussion about history, equality, and the importance of standing up against injustice.

While these themes are handled in a way that’s appropriate for most audiences, it’s important for parents to consider their child’s maturity level and understanding of these issues. It might be helpful to discuss these themes with your child before and after the show to help them process what they’ve seen.

Differences Between the Musical and the Film

While both the film and the musical versions of Hairspray share the same core story of Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with an even bigger dream, there are some key differences that are worth noting.

One of the main differences lies in the portrayal of racism. The stage musical version of Hairspray places a greater emphasis on the theme of racial segregation, presenting it in a more direct and harsher manner compared to the film. Characters like Motormouth Maybelle and Little Inez play a more prominent role in the musical, highlighting the struggle for equality and integration during the 1960s in a more intense way.

Another difference is the character development and relationships. In the musical, the relationship between Tracy and her parents, Edna and Wilbur Turnblad, is explored in more depth. The musical also delves deeper into the relationship between Penny Pingleton and Seaweed J, offering a more nuanced portrayal of their interracial romance.

Is Hairspray the Musical Kid Friendly

Age Recommendations

When it comes to age recommendations for Hairspray the Musical, it’s important to consider the themes and content of the show. While the musical is full of catchy songs and energetic dance numbers, it also tackles serious issues such as racial segregation and body shaming.

Given these themes, Hairspray the Musical may be more suitable for older children and teenagers who can understand and process these issues. It might be a good idea for parents to watch the show first or read up on its content to decide if it’s appropriate for their child.

Remember, every child is different and what’s suitable for one might not be for another. It’s always best for parents to make the final decision based on their knowledge of their child’s maturity and understanding. After all, a trip to the theatre should be an enjoyable and enriching experience for all.

hairspray the musical

Preparing Your Child for the Show

Preparing your child for Hairspray the Musical can help them better understand and enjoy the show. Here are some tips:

  • Discuss the Themes: Talk about the themes of the musical such as acceptance, equality, and the fight against racial segregation and body shaming. This can help your child understand the context of the story.
  • Introduce the Characters: Familiarise your child with the characters like Tracy Turnblad, Edna Turnblad, Motormouth Maybelle, and others. Knowing who the characters are can make the show more engaging for your child.
  • Listen to the Music: The musical features catchy hit songs like Good Morning Baltimore and Welcome to the 60s. Listening to these songs before the show can make the experience more enjoyable for your child.
  • Set Expectations: Let your child know what to expect in terms of the length of the show, the intermission, and the etiquette expected in a theatre.

Remember, the goal is to make the experience enjoyable and enriching for your child. With a little preparation, Hairspray the Musical can be a great introduction to the world of theatre for your child.

hairspray the musical

Final Thoughts

Hairspray the Musical is a vibrant and energetic show that tells the story of a big girl with an even bigger dream. It’s a tale of acceptance, equality, and the power of dance. However, it’s important to note that the musical does tackle serious themes such as racial segregation and body shaming, which are presented in a more direct and harsher manner in the stage version compared to the film.

The musical is suitable for older children and teenagers who can understand and process these issues. However, every child is different, and what’s suitable for one might not be for another. It’s always best for parents to make the final decision based on their knowledge of their child’s maturity and understanding.

Preparing your child for the show can help them better understand and enjoy it. Discussing the themes, introducing the characters, listening to the music, and setting expectations can all contribute to a more enjoyable and enriching theatre experience.

Hairspray the Musical is more than just a show; it’s a conversation starter about important issues. It’s a reminder of the power of dreams, the importance of acceptance, and the ongoing fight for equality. It’s a show that entertains, educates, and inspires, making it a worthwhile experience for those who watch it.

Further Reading: Hairspray the Musical UK Tour (Dates, Venue & What to Expect) 

Holly Smith

I Love Musical Theatre and made the Theatre Queen Blog To Share My Experiences, Reviews & Theatre News.