Characters: Hairspray

Main Characters

Tracy Turnblad

"I'm all for integration! It's the new frontier!"

A chubby girl who's a fan of big hairstyles and The Corny Collins Show. She also loves to dance. Played by Rikki Lake in the 1988 movie, Marissa Jaret Winokur in the musical, and Nikki Blonsky in the 2007 movie.

Edna Turnblad

"Link, your pork is ready!"

Tracy's overweight mother, who can be a bit emotional at times. Played by Divine in 1988 and John Travolta in the 2007 movie.

  • Acrofatic: It has been stated that they wanted Edna to be very light on her feet, which is one reason why John Travolta was casted in the latest movie.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: See revenge below.
  • Big Eater
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: While not clingy, she does get very emotional when she saw Wilbur being seduced by Velma.
    • This was justified though, as she thought that Wilbur was having an affair.
  • Crosscast Role: It is a tradition that Edna is always played by a man.
  • Good Mother
  • Happily Married: To Wilbur.
  • Hidden Depths: When Tracy gets her first endorsement gig from Mr. Pinky's Hefty Hideaway, she asks Edna to be her agent. In the 2007 film, Edna not only agrees, but shows a surprising amount of business savvy—she alters the contract for Tracy's benefit, speaking knowingly about legal proceeds ("I want a non-exclusive contract! Extensions by mutual option."), and even manages to get herself a free bustier.
  • The Makeover: Gets two in "Welcome to the 60's" and "You Can't Stop the Beat".
  • Revenge: In the 2007 film, when Velma Von Tussle tries to trick her into believing she was seducing her husband, she ends up exposing her on TV, getting her fired.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Even moreso that Tracy, it's startling to see what a Jerkass Edna can be in the original movie when she's such a sweetheart in the musical.
  • Weight Woe: Has a very bad case of this.

Wilbur Turnblad

"Honey, it took me five years to figure out you were flirting!"

Tracy's father. A prank shop owner. Played by Christopher Walken.

  • Good Father : He encourages Tracy's dreams and has full faith in her ability to succeed.
  • Nosebleed: Has one when his wife, Edna, shakes her butt while dancing at the end.
  • Nice Guy
  • Oblivious to Love: When Velma tries to pretend to fall in love with him, he has no idea of her plan. Also, see quote above.
  • Only Sane Man
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Even more so then his daughter. He sees the best in people, doesn't suspect Velma's motives and believes people will give Tracy a chance.
    • Although he has a slightly more cynical side to him in the Broadway musical.
    Little Inez: (about the Von Tussles) Are all white people like that?
    Wilbur: No. Just most of 'em!

Penny Pingleton

"Plastic little spastic."

Tracy's best friend. Played by Amanda Bynes.

Link Larkin

"I think knowing you is the start of a pretty big adventure."

Amber's boyfriend and the lead male dancer on The Corny Collins Show, Tracy's love interest. Played by Zac Effron.

Amber Von Tussle

"Right now, as we speak, your daughter has entered a hotbed of moral... turpentine."

An arrogant, snobbish dancer. She is also the daughter of Velma Von Tussle and the lead female dancer on The Corny Collins Show. Played by Brittany Snow

Velma Von Tussle

"They're kids, Corny; That's why we have to steer them in the white direction."

The racist and weightist manager of the WYZT station. The mother of Amber Von Tusle. Her goal is the keep the Corny Collins show segregated. Played by Michelle Pfeiffer.

Supporting Cast

Corny Collins

"Tell me, Velma, how exactly do you fire Corny Collins from the Corny Collins show?"

The host of the Corny Collins Show. Played by James Marsden.

Prudy Pingleton

"You see? You see! If I let you leave the house right now, you'd be in prison, fighting whores for cigarettes."

Penny's overbearing, strict, and racist mother, who is also highly religious. Played by Allyson Janney.

  • Abusive Parents
  • Alliterative Name
  • Control Freak
  • Freak Out: Towards the end of the 2007 film, she loses it when Penny kisses Seaweed. It may have also been a response to her daughter somehow getting out of her room.
  • The Fundamentalist: A rather extreme example, at least by the films' standpoints. She tries raising her daughter in a "Christian" lifestyle, but her methods are forced and she seems more controlling and abusive (as noted before) and less loving and understanding.
  • Jerkass
  • Large Ham: Especially since she's played by Allyson Janney.
  • My Beloved Smother: She actually ties her daughter to her bed with jump rope (on knots that rival the navy's) and sprinkles her with holy water.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: In the stage musical, but not in either of the film versions.

Motormouth Maybelle

"If we get any more white people in here, this is gonna be a suburb."

A Baltimore rhythm and blues radio DJ who hosts "Negro Day" on The Corny Collins Show. Played by Queen Latifah.

Seaweed J. Stubbs

"But these knots might, was your mom in the navy?!"

Motormouth Maybelle's son and Penny's love interest. A skilled dancer on Negro Day. Played by Elijah Kelley.

Inez Stubbs

"Oh I know you! You're Tracy Turnblad! Good for you girl, you got on the show!"

Seaweed's little sister who is a skilled dancer for her age. Played by Taylor Parks.