It is 1962 in Baltimore, Maryland. As the alarm clock rings, and we see a plus-sized teen waking up for school, we are introduced to Tracy Turnblad. This fun-loving, somewhat oversized young woman reflects on how she loves her city and reveals to us her dreams of becoming a star of song and dance ("Good Morning Baltimore"). She sings all the way to school as she introduces us to her hometown, Baltimore.
After school, we see Tracy and her best friend, Penny Pingleton, rushing home to catch their favorite show on television. The Corny Collins Show features teenagers like Tracy and Penny teaching and performing popular 60s dance moves (“The Nicest Kids in Town”). As Tracy and Penny watch, Tracy’s mother, Edna, irons the neighbors' laundry to make extra money. When Penny’s mother arrives to pick up her laundry, she objects to her daughter watching "colored music" performed on television.
The action then shifts from Tracy’s television show, through the TV, to the set of The Corny Collins Show being broadcast. The cast has just gone on commercial break, and we see the heartthrob of the show, Link Larkin, offer his Council Member ring to Amber, the most popular girl in her school and on the show. Of course, Amber also happens to be the daughter of Velma Von Tussle, the show’s producer.
When the show returns from its commercial break, we return to Tracy’s living room. Tracy is devastated to see Amber wearing Link’s ring. Corny announces that they are going to have an upcoming live special where talent scouts will be on hand, and they will be crowning a Miss Teenage Hairspray. They will also be auditioning for a new female dancer, which is Tracy’s dream come true. Tracy begs her mother to let her audition, but Edna is concerned that Tracy will be ridiculed for her weight. When Tracy’s father returns home from work, however, he encourages his daughter to follow her dream. Tracy continues to argue with her mother, as Penny and her mother appear