Hairspray Character Descriptions
(Vocal Part: Mezzo. Age Range: 16-19) Tracy Turnblad, a pleasantly plump teenager with a big heart who has dreams of being a dancing star … as soon as she’s out of detention for her big hair! Against her mother’s will, Tracy skips school one day and wins a spot on the local TV dance program, The Corny Collins Show and is quickly transformed into a teen icon. She then sets out to vanquish the program’s reigning princess (Amber Von Tussle), win the heart of the super-handsome Link Larkin, and racially integrate the television show.
(Vocal Part: Tenor. Age Range: 35-50) Edna is Tracy’s plus-sized mother who owns and operates her own laundry business from home, but who hasn’t been out in awhile. She tends to be down on herself and life in general, so she eats to soothe her troubles. Edna is a loving mother and wife and only wants what’s best for her family. She won’t let anyone hurt her beloved daughter.
(Vocal Part: Baritone. Age Range: 40-55) As Tracy’s goofy father, Wilbur wants nothing more than for his daughter to pursue her dreams. As proud owner and operator of the Har-De-Har Hut, he knows what it means to follow your dreams, and dream big. He tries to balance Edna’s discouragement with his good humor, but sometimes it can be difficult. Wilbur is willing to do anything for his family and friends – including bailing all of the women out of jail!
(Vocal Part: Baritone. Age Range: 18-22) Link is the teen heartthrob. He stars on The Corny Collins Show, and attends high school with Tracy in Baltimore. Link is that special lady’s man who excels in athletics, is charismatic, and brightens the room with his smile. Amber is his girlfriend at the beginning of the show, but as the show progresses Tracey wins his heart and teaches him to be more open to diversity.
(Vocal Part: Belt. Age Range: 16-19) Penny is Tracy’s perky best friend and biggest supporter who is often by her side – unless her overprotective mother, Prudy, has grounded her. Penny encourages Tracy to fight for her dreams, even though she initially lacks the bravery to follow her own passions. Penny is all for integration – as long as her mother doesn’t find out – and falls head over heals for Seaweed.
(Vocal Part: Tenor. Age Range: 25-45) Corny is the exciting and confident host of his own hit show, which is an upbeat TV series featuring the “nicest kids in town.” He and Velma (the show’s producer) don’t always see eye to eye on things, but he makes sure to remind her that he’s in charge. Corny is all for Tracy Turnblad and racial integration!
Seaweed J. Stubbs
(Vocal Part: Tenor. Age Range: 16-20) Seaweed is Motormouth Maybelle’s son and the leading man for The Corny Collins Show on Negro Day. His stylish dance moves and attractive personality help to inspire Tracy’s desire for integration. Seaweed is the light-hearted guy that everyone likes and is never quick to judge anyone else. He’s smooth and very popular within his group. Seaweed attends high school with Link, Tracy, and Penny and falls in love with Penny.
Velma von Tussle
(Vocal Part: Belt. Age Range: 35-50) Velma is the scheming producer of The Corny Collins Show who tries to steer it away from integration. She is a firm believer that thin is beautiful and can’t stand the sight of pleasantly plump Tracy. Velma is the proud mother of Amber Von Tussle and she’ll do whatever it takes to make sure her daughter attains stardom. Velma is a fame-driven woman and wants everyone to know that she’s the boss.
Amber von Tussle
(Vocal Part: Belt. Age Range: 15-19) Amber is Velma’s bratty daughter and in spite of her lack of talent has achieved success on The Corny Collins Show thanks to her mom being the producer. Amber and Link are “an item” and she wants to make sure that the other girls stay far away. Amber is the same age as Tracy and Link, but acts as if she is superior to all the rest of the “nicest kids in town.” Her mother’s daughter, she is willing to do anything to win the Miss Teenage Hairspray pageant.
(Vocal Part: Alto. Age Range: 38-52) Maybelle is all soul! She is the mother of Seaweed and Lil’ Inez and hosts Negro Day on The Corny Collins Show. She also owns a record shop downtown. As the ultimate party-throwing hostess for the black community, she wants to make everyone around her feel welcome and comfortable. You can be sure that wherever Motormouth is, there will be good food, too! Maybelle is also an advocate for integration and helps Tracy get things started in the right direction for change.
(Vocal Part: Belt. Age Range: 14-19) Lil’ Inez is Seaweed’s sister and Motormouth Maybelle’s daughter. She is small in stature, but has big dreams to one day be a part of The Corny Collins Show and to someday win the Miss Teenage Hairspray Competition – if she could just get noticed. With Tracy’s help, Lil’ Inez has her turn to shine in the spotlight!
(Vocal Part: Various. Age Range: 20+) Judine, Kamilah, and Shayna – The Dynamites are a talented and sassy group of women singers. Without them there wouldn’t be much of a Negro Day on The Corny Collins Show. They appear throughout the show at different times and slowly help to transform the world of closed-mindedness to a world of open-mindedness, and welcome us all to the 60’s!
(Vocal Part: Various. Age Range: 16‐19) Tammy, Brad, Fender, Brenda, Sketch, Shelley, IQ, Lou Ann – Dancers and singers on The Corny Collins Show.
(Vocal Part: Various. Age Range: 16‐19) Gilbert, Duane, Lorraine, Stooie, Thad – Kids we find in detention, and most in Motormouth Maybelle’s record shop.
Female Authority Figure(s)
(Age Range: 40+) The roles of Prudy Pingleton (Penny’s uptight mother), the sadistic gym teacher, and the prison matron. Can be played by one cameo performer.
Male Authority Figure
(Age Range: 40+) The roles of Harriman F. Spritzer (President of Ultra Clutch cosmetics, Corny Collins Show sponsor), the high‐blood pressure principal, and Mr. Pinky (owner of a plus‐sized dress shop). Can be played by one cameo performer.