'Waitress' success bittersweet for composer


I love "Hairspray." I loved John Waters' 1988 film. I loved the Broadway show.

So I couldn't be happier that the first movie, which inspired the musical, has inspired another movie. The stage play and the upcoming film musical are award-winning composer Marc Shaiman's babies. And he says he could care less about what inspired what as long as it is inspired.

Waters is happy too -- so happy that he has a cameo in the new film, which opens July 20 in the U.S. via New Line Cinema. And this "Hairspray" will introduce a new star: Nikki Blonsky, who plays the heroine, Tracy Turnblad. It is her first film since being discovered on MySpace, snapped away from scooping ice cream at a Cold Stone Creamery on Long Island and whisked to Hollywood. It's the story for Tinseltown lore, Shaiman says, like popular legend that Lana Turner was discovered sitting on a fountain stool at Schwab's drugstore.

Shaiman says Blonsky's voice has blossomed since being discovered and working on the film. "Just the other day I was playing back a vocal of hers that had such color and variety," he says.

Shaiman also has written a few new songs for the film, including an end-title that is likely to get Oscar consideration.

The film also stars John Travolta in drag as Tracy's mom, Christopher Walken, Queen Latifah, Michelle Pfeiffer and "High School Musical" heartthrob Zac Efron.


The success of the indie comedy "Waitress" is bittersweet for the film's composer, Andrew Hollander. It was the brainchild of writer-director-actor Adrienne Shelly, who was killed Nov. 1 in New York before the film became a smash at Sundance.

Hollander composed the score and co-wrote with Shelly "Baby Don't You Cry (The Pie Song)," a lullaby sung by Keri Russell's character in the film. The song, performed by indie artist Quincy Coleman, appears over the end credits.

Shelly and Hollander began working together about 10 years ago on the indie circuit.

"Adrienne and I wrote a few songs together over the years," he recalls. "She would always write these great lyrics and pass it off to me. I'd write the song. She also always liked to have a certain nostalgic feeling, like the song had been around forever."

Hollander, who also is a songwriter and music producer, has a lot on his plate. Later this year he'll be scoring "Jack & Addie," directed by Jeremy Stein. He's writing with recording artist Shanna Crooks for her upcoming Atlantic Records album as well as Universal Republic artist Your Vegas and Tayla Lynn, granddaughter of legendary singer-songwriter Loretta Lynn.

Meanwhile, his commercial production company, Sugarbox, churns out tunes for 20 spots a year for such brands as Verizon and Dasani. Hollander is a man for all musical seasons.