What Critics Are Saying About NBC's "Hairspray Live!"

What Critics Are Saying About NBC's "Hairspray Live!"

The live performance had some strengths and clear weaknesses

Even though I should be studying for finals, I spent my finals week cuddled up in front of the TV, watching NBC's annual live broadcasted musical: Hairspray Live!. NBC has now made it a December tradition to air a live musical every year. First was The Sounds of Music, then Peter Pan and most recently The Wiz. This year's pick was Hairspray, which was based on the John Water's film in 1988. This musical tells the story of racial divides and social outcasts in 1962, a message that is still relevant today.

The cast included stars such as Ariana Grade, Kristin Chenoweth, Rosie O'Donnell, Derek Hough and Jennifer Hudson. Some of the most memorable performances were from Jennifer Hudson, who played Motormouth Maybelle, bringing some major sass to "Big, Blonde and Beautiful" as well as leaving the audience speechless after "I Know Where I've Been".

In addition, famed dancer Derek Hough really brought his skills to the performance. Not only did he play Corny Collins as a sinigng host but also as a dancer. He rocked his moves in "Ladies' Choice". Also, Ephraim Sykes, a Hamilton veteran, who played Seaweed brought new moves in "Run and Tell That". Also, the costumes designed by Emmy-nominated designer Mary E. Vogt popped on the screen. The vibrant colors and fabrics shone, bringing the world of Hairspray to life.

However, there was plenty to criticize about this year's live musical. For starters, the Washington Post writes how newcomer Maddie Baillio as Tracy Turnbald lacked the confidence to pull off the role. Although she gave an "endearing and earnest performance" she did not meet the standard vocally set by others in the cast. Harvey Fierstein who played Tracy's mother, Edna, returned to the role that he previously played on Broadway. Although he may be more energetic in the theater, he did not match up to John Travolta in the 2007 film version of the musical.

The New York Times reported that Hairspray Live! was NBC's lowest-rated live musical. Although the broadcast had nine million viewers on Wednesday, it was the lowest-rated out of NBC's live musicals. Last year's The Wiz Live! had 11.5 million viewers and The Sound of Music had a record of 18.6 million viewers.

Despite the low viewership, live broadcasted musicals are here to stay. NBC has already announced the airing of Bye Bye Birdie in December 2017 and a live version of A Few Good Men. Hopefully NBC will learn from their mistakes and continue to create musicals that amaze audiences across the country.

Cover Image Credit: Deadline

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3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads


I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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Doing Things On Your Own Should Be Celebrated, Not Pitied

Our time with ourselves should be just as treasured as our time with other people.


Despite living in an incredibly individualistic society, it is rare to hear of occasions in which people go to restaurants, sight-see, or head out to a bar… alone.

Humans are naturally sociable creatures. We thrive in groups, and we often reach out to each other in the hopes of making long-lasting connections. This is great! People need people, and completely isolating yourself from everyone can have negative consequences on your mental health.

However, this also means that we tend to latch onto one another in social situations. I'm sure many people would be confused at the thought of going to a bar alone without the prospect of meeting up with friends—but why?

Why is it that people need to be seen in public with other people? Is it because socializing gives us a sense of purpose in being out at all? Is there something inherently shameful about being seen alone?

There certainly shouldn't be.

So much good can come out of spending time in your own company. As much as we love our friends and family, sometimes we need our alone time, and this doesn't always mean that we stay in and binge-watch a new Netflix series. (Although many times it does, and that's totally cool too.)

Sometimes needing our privacy means heading out to get a cup of coffee and sitting in a cafe for hours without waiting for anyone. Sometimes it means visiting that museum you've never been to and soaking up all the art at your own pace. Sometimes it means that you need a break to sit with your thoughts.

So why do we feel such immense pity whenever we see someone standing alone?

If we see someone at the movie theater with their bag of popcorn and no clear sign of expecting anyone, why do we assume that means the person is a loner?

Maybe that person just wanted to enjoy a film they've waited years for, and maybe they couldn't watch it to its fullest extent with their best friend asking questions about it all the time. Maybe they had a rough week and want to sit with their popcorn—no questions asked.

Regardless of the reason, we should not be pitying anyone who stands apart from the crowd in a public space. Rather, we should remember that our time with ourselves should be just as treasured as our time with other people.

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