Pssssst! Hairspray opens

The Baltimore Sun

Sure, the stars turned out for Hairspray at The Charles cinema last night - Amanda Bynes, teen heartthrob Zac Efron, newcomer Nikki Blonsky. John Waters was there, too, along with his family, both real (his mother and sister) and adopted (a few hundred starstruck Baltimoreans).

But no one worked harder to prepare for last night's Baltimore premiere than 10-year-olds Auburn Stephenson and Eleni Sabracos.

On a night rife with Hollywood glamour and Baltimore chutzpah, no one caught the spirit of movie better than these girls. On a night surprisingly free of high hair, these two girls had the spirit.

They came dressed as cans of hairspray.

"Our parents made them," said Auburn, who came wrapped inside a giant purple-and-blue aerosol can, complete with white pushbutton on top. "But we helped."

Take that, L.A. and New York. Here's betting that walking hairspray was noticeably absent at those earlier premieres.

"Baltimore is the mecca of everything," said an overwhelmed Elijah Kelley, who plays Seaweed Stubbs in the movie adaptation of the Broadway musical version of Waters' 1988 film. "Baltimore is where it all started."

Hundreds of movie fans lined the 1700 block of N. Charles St. last night. A red carpet had been placed over the sidewalk leading to the theater, where all five screens would be showing the film. Many had paid $150 for their premiere-night tickets, but all seemed to share the same goal - at least, all those who were teen girls. And judging by the constant shrill din, the crowd must have been predominantly teen girls.

"We love Zac," said Madison Jones, a 14-year-old Maryvale student, one of a group of four friends wearing "We (heart) Zac!" T-shirts.

"A lot," agreed 14 -year-old Caroline Brink. "We're obsessed," chimed in Sarah Brown, who was - not surprisingly - also 14.

The object of their affection, the 19-year-old star of Disney's successful High School Musical, took the adulation in stride.

To the crowd's delight, both he and Bynes took a few minutes to mingle and sign autographs before walking the carpet, where the photographers and interviewers awaited.

"There's no way I'll ever get used to that," said a smiling Efron, his blue eyes betraying not a hint of being jaded by the process. "It's just great that all the fans have turned out like this."

Soaking it all in was Waters, who said he was delighted not only by the turnout, but by the film itself.

"It's better than I expected it to be," he said. "I went to see the movie by myself - I always do, because what if I don't like it? But I think they re-invented it, so that it seems new to me. Isn't that great?"

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