Tracy Turnblad: Our story's unsuspecting protagonist, she is large and in charge. Confident, talented, and incredibly determined. A romantic with a good heart and desire to cut up the dance floor. Always on top of the latest trends.
Corny Collins: The charismatic host of the Corny Collins' Show. Good looking and smooth talking, he is a genuinely nice guy both on and off camera.
Edna Turnblad: Tracy's big and blonde mother. She is a working housewife who has lost her confidence and dream to be a plus-size clothing designer. Boisterous and commanding. Played by a male in drag.
Penny Pingleton: Tracy's best friend and dorky sidekick. Not the brightest girl, but she has good intentions. Bursting to get free of her mother's dominating control, she falls for Seaweed with childlike curiosity.
Velma Von Tussle: Amber's mother and the director of Corny Collin's show. She is a devious taskmaster and snobby racist. The former Miss Baltimore Crabs will go to any length to ensure her daughter is the next big thing.
Amber Von Tussle: Link's girlfriend and Tracy's nemesis. She is pretty, thin, shallow, snobby, and racist. Can't dance but is expected to win Miss Baltimore Hairspray. Always feels the need to be the center of attention.
Link Larkin: The star heartthrob on Corny Collins' show. He is extremely attractive and talented. Hoping to get his big break with a recording contract, he unexpectedly falls for Tracy.
Seaweed J. Stubbs: Tracy's classmate and friend, who is discriminated against due to his skin color. He is cocky but surprisingly lovable. Talented in song and dance. He falls for Penny.
Little Inez: The younger sister of Seaweed and daughter of Motormouth Maybelle.
Motormouth Maybelle: Seaweed and Little Inez's mother, she also appears as the Guest DJ on the Corny Collin's Negro Day show. Big, blonde, beautiful and proud of it. She is sassy and confident.
Wilbur Turnblad: Tracy's simpleminded and kind father. He owns a joke shop and supports his daughter in spite of everything else. He also loves his wife, Edna, very much.
Prudy Pingleton: Penny's strict mother. Very conservative, controlling, and closed minded.
Ensemble: Corny Collins' Kids: Tammy, Brad, Brenda, Sketch, Shelley, more...; Students; Protestors