EVENT REPORT

Hairspray's Kitschy Premiere Party

August 21, 2002, 12:00 AM EDT

At Hairspray's opening night party, event producer Suzanne Tobak and designer Susan Edgar decorated the walls and a DJ booth onstage with pink cloth and 45 records.

Hairspray opening night party Roseland Ballroom Thursday, 08.15.02, 9:45 PM onward
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Kitsch and homestyle comfort food ruled Roseland Ballroom at the opening night party for the Great White Way's hot new musical Hairspray.

The look kept with designer David Rockwell's vision of the stage set for the 60's-themed musical, which is based on cult director John Waters' film about a plump Baltimore teenager's adventures as a bouffant-wearing civil rights advocate and dancer on a TV dance show. Event producer Suzanne Tobak of Tobak-Dantchik Events & Promotions and designer Susan Edgar of Susan Edgar Design created the event's look “using colors from the show, which is based on Necco waferspurples, pinks and gold,” Tobak told us.

Inside Roseland, tables were covered in colored cloths and topped with whimsical wigs and hairpieces, each sporting a different look. Surrounding the wigs were kitschy votive candle holders in the shape of 1960's-era TVs. The walls and a DJ booth onstage were covered with pink cloth and dotted with old 45 records and balloons. Flanking the stage and covering the building's pillars were giant cans of “Ultra Clutch Hairspray” (which looked suspiciously like giant cans of Aqua Net). And multicolored balloons were everywhereon the walls, covering the balcony, even in a giant arch across 52nd Street that linked the show's home at the Neil Simon Theatre to Roseland. “We wanted a sense of movement and color,” Tobak said.

Canard's Stephen Kennard continued the kitschy theme with a menu that was equal parts suburban housewife and Swanson TV dinners. Six buffets, decorated with hair rollers and bobby pins, held comfort food favorites like macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, waffles with Mrs. Butterworth's syrup, Maryland crab cakes and iceberg lettuce salad. Three umbrella-covered carts heated up hot dogs. And for dessert, buffet tables were stocked with a kid's cookie-jar dream: Mallomars, ambrosia salad, Jell-O and Hostess Twinkies, Cupcakes and Snoballs. “Everything is Baltimore, circa 1962,” Kennard said.

Despite the event's high-profile buzzit's been drawing comparisons to last season's movie-cum-offbeat-musical-blockbuster, The Producersthere was no white-glove service. The event's 1,600 guests lined up at buffets manned by waiters in jeans and white T-shirts, and they ate the fare on brightly colored plastic plates. As for beverages, forget about champagne and cosmos: The drinks of choice were cold cans of soda and beer. On a hot night where the air was sticky with humiditynot hair spraynothing seemed more appropriate.

Erika Rasmusson

See the giant gift bag from this event...

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