He still keeps in touch with dancers who became local celebrities by appearing regularly on "The Buddy Dean Show," the WJZ program that inspired "The Corny Collins Show" in "Hairspray." The policy was whites-only on the dance floor, except for a periodic day reserved solely for African-Americans. That policy never changed before the program was canceled in 1964.
Waters hasn't lost his fascination with the era of TV dance shows.
"WJZ tried one again in the '80s — 'Shake Down.' I even went to the studio for it," Waters said. "The problem was no else did. I'd like to see a new, totally integrated show with rap music. I love rap music."
That may not materialize any time soon, but "Hairspray"-era music has not disappeared here.
"The coolest club in Baltimore today is Lithuanian Hall when they have Soul Night," Waters said, "with all these hipsters in their 20s dancing to what would be their grandparents' soul music. That kind of music never really goes away."
The score for the Broadway "Hairspray" — music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman — easily succeeds in evoking time and place. The concert format will add a layer to that sonic atmosphere.
On the Great White Way, 15 or so musicians were in the pit using a mix of regular instruments and three synthesizers to play Harold Wheeler's orchestrations.
"I reversed that process," Everly said. "We will have 45 musicians up there performing onstage. And instead of synthesizers, I've got three trumpets and three trombones."
Even allowing for that enhanced orchestration and the missing dialogue, the concert version remains at heart the same musical that audiences have embraced in several countries. That the work is what Waters calls "the most subversive thing I ever done" makes the success sweeter.
Most subversive? From the guy who brought us "Pink Flamingos" with the literally potty-mouthed Divine?
For Waters, the subversion in "Hairspray" comes from the fact that "a family audience can go and not be offended," he said, even while seeing such things as interracial dating and two men singing a love song to each other.
Vogt, who performed in several regional "Hairspray" productions after Broadway, said he has always encountered some nervousness from presenters over that love song for Edna and Wilbur, "(You're) Timeless to Me."
"It's a little sassy and a little sexy," Vogt said. "They wanted us to downplay it a little bit in Indiana. But we won them over, even at an 11 a.m. show, when we were told they would all be elderly and there would be a lot of walkers. That audience cheered as loud as the others. That's the magic of the show."
"Hairspray" is not always performed straight, so to speak, these days.
"I thought, great, when this gets done in schools, finally the fat girl and the drag queen can get a part," Waters said. "But it's not true. What's so funny now is that it's politically correct. Now the skinny black girl plays Tracy. I love it. It's so post-modern."
Though perhaps not post-modern enough.
"The ultimate in a politically correct version would be to cast the opposite race and sex for every single person in the cast," Waters added. "It would be so confusing that it would be normal. And on ice, too — it should be performed on ice."
Waters has a title ready should a porn sequel be made some day (as he predicted, it can't be printed here), but he also has worked on more traditional sequels. One, called "White Lipstick," would have been a follow-up to the movie musical, using the same songwriters of the Broadway show and carrying the action into the Vietnam era.