Marc Shaiman scores his own musical, Hairspray, at Todd AO

Posted on June 12, 2007 by Dan Goldwasser

This spring, award-winning composer Marc Shaiman recorded music for the big-screen adaptation of his Tony-winning Broadway smash musical based on John Water’s cult film, Hairspray. A knee-slapping, toe tapping show, the film is about teenagers, dancing and integration in Baltimore in the 1960s. The all-star cast features John Travolta, Christopher Walken, Michelle Pfeiffer, James Marsden, Zac Efron, Amanda Bynes and newcomer Nikki Blonsky in the lead role of Tracy Turnblad.

Pete Anthony conducts the Hollywood Studio Symphony

The biggest ensemble used in the scoring sessions was an 83-piece orchestra, taking place at Todd AO, where the music for the energetic musical numbers was recorded. Conducted by Pete Anthony, Shaiman would hang out right next to the podium to give instant feedback to the musicians.

Marc Shaiman and Pete Anthony at the podium

French Horns!




Pre-records included drum-kit, bass, guitars and (of course) the vocals, but an upright bass, harp and piano were separated from the rest of the orchestra for a little more control during the sessions.

Piano, upright bass and harp were off to the side

Broadway orchestrator Bruce Coughlin assisted a bit at the session, with more orchestration handled by Dan Higgins and Jeff Atmajian. In the booth – where no talking was allowed – director Adam Shankman, music supervisor Matt Sullivan, and score mixer Frank Wolf.

Marc Shaiman calls to a musician as orchestrator Bruce Coughlin watches, and Pete Anthony approves

No talking in the booth – at all!

Every sound’s like a symphony!

The soundtrack, which will be released by New Line Records on July 10th, and features a new song, “Ladies’ Choice” performed by Zac Efron, a special “Cooties” remix performed by Aimee Allen (produced by Shaiman’s assistant, Lucian Piane), and a new recording of “Mama, I’m A Big Girl Now” sung by the three actresses who have portrayed Tracy: Ricki Lake, Marissa Jaret Winokur, and Nikki Blonsky.

Music supervisor Matt Sullivan, assistant Lucian Piane, score mixer Frank Wolfe, and composer Marc Shaiman

Hairspray will be released by New Line Cinema on July 20th.

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