Hollywood may be spending less on some movie premieres, but cautious spending was not in evidence at the July 16 celebration for Hairspray, the movie musical starring John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Queen Latifah. Planning began six months ago, and production was in the hands of the Los Angeles-based J. Ben Bourgeouis, who re-created the set of The Corny Collins Show, the movie's TV dance party. Actual hairspray cans were also prominently featured, both in the form of smoke-blowing 20-foot installations and in 2,000 Sebastian International pumps.
The party was held at Roseland Ballroom—the same venue that housed the opening-night party for the Broadway musical that inspired the movie (after the musical was adapted from a John Waters film). But Roseland won this party because of its proximity to the Zeigfield Theater; its stage, which was the perfect spot to re-create the Collins show; and its capacity to hold 1,200 people, said producer Maria Ruiz of MAR Events, who worked with New Line's Clare Anne Conlon to produce the event.
New Line wanted to create an electrified, light-filled environment with the bright colors of the movie and the early '60s, the era in which the movie takes place. White midcentury furniture created lounge areas where people could eat and rest after dancing. Toph, a Parisian DJ, was flown in for the night. He started with '60s favorites and transitioned through the decades as the hours wore on.
Food was another focal point, with a mashed-potato station and a double-sided buffet of American favorites like fried chicken, mac 'n' cheese, and corn bread. Diners grabbed plates in the form of Swanson TV trays to hold their bounty. “We wanted to bring the era alive,” Ruiz said.