In 1991, R.E.M. (and guest vocalist Kate Pierson of the B-52's) scored a top 10 hit with the buoyant "Shiny Happy People.
In 1991, R.E.M. (and guest vocalist Kate Pierson of the B-52's) scored a top 10 hit with the buoyant "Shiny Happy People." Such a song title epitomizes the very essence of Hairspray, the new Broadway smash based on the 1988 film by John Waters, set in 1962 Baltimore. Equal parts Holland-Dozier-Holland, Phil Spector, and Up With People, the musically smart and lyrically clever Hairspray—featuring an original score by Marc Shaiman (who co-wrote the music/lyrics to the film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut) with lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman—is the most festive and fierce musical to arrive on the Great White Way in eons. Just try not smiling and singing along to such shimmy-shake confections as "Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now," "You Can't Stop the Beat," "Run and Tell That!," and the ultimate showstopper, "Welcome to the 60s." Shiny happy musical, indeed.—MP