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'Hairspray' Set For Tonys

President Barack Obama speaks during the 100th anniversary convention of the NAACP, Thursday, July 16, 2009, in New York.
AP
The Broadway cast of "Hairspray" is pinning up its hopes on some Tony award magic.

The Early Show continued its "Road To The Tony Awards" series with performances from "Hairspray."

The musical is based on the John Waters film, set in racially-charged 1960s Baltimore. Many critics believe "Hairspray" stands to shine the brightest at this year's Tony Award Sunday with its 13 nominations, including best musical, best score and best direction.

The only show that came close to matching the number of Tony nominations this year was "Movin' Out" — a musical based on songs of Billy Joel. It had 10 nominations.

Marissa Jaret Winokur (Tracy Turnblad) and Corey Reynolds (Seaweed J. Stubb) have both been nominated in Tony's actor categories, and they performed "Without Love" with Kerry Butler (Penny Pingleton) and Matthew Morrison (Link Larkin) and others for Thursday's The Early Show.

A year ago, Jaret Winokur could not even pay off her credit card debt. Now she's going up against Bernadette Peters for the Tonys. She says, "I definitely wake up and I'm, like, 'Wait, what?' Then I'm, like, 'OK.' It's very surreal. I paid off my credit-card debt. Everything's all paid off, college loans and everything."

Life also changed for Reynolds with his breakout role. He credits "Hairspray's" success to it music and message. He says, "I think the engine that drives the show is the music. I think the music is contagious. I think the message behind it, which is acceptance, is pretty universal and something everybody can relate to."

In the musical, Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair, has only one passion: to dance. She wins a spot on the local TV dance program, "The Corny Collins Show," and overnight she is transformed from an outsider into an irrepressible teen celebrity.

But she soon finds that with her newfound celebrity comes responsibility, which includes integrating the television show.

Jaret Winokur says it is great to fall into being a role model for curvaceous women. She says, "I'm glad that I'm old enough to know that, wow, this is great. I'm a role model. I'm old enough to accept that and deal with it."

The Tony Awards will be presented on Sunday night on CBS.