Tracy Edna Turnblad is a self-described "pleasantly plump" teenager with a big heart, and the main protagonist of Hairspray. She dreams of being a dancing star on her favorite program, The Corny Collins Show, leading to conflict with her agoraphobic mother, Edna.
Tracy is kind-hearted and eternally optimistic. She sees that her hometown of Baltimore and society as a whole is flawed. At various points, she notes Balitmore's issues with flashers, alcoholics, homelessness, racism, bigotry, and discrimination. Despite all of this, she holds onto the hope that the future can be changed and that she can work to make her dreams a reality.
Tracy dreams of becoming a dancer on The Corny Collins Show, a teen dance show starring several of the popular students from her school. She deals with bullying and discrimination at school because of her weight and her fashion sense, in particular her hair. During her journey, she befriends black classmates who share her dream, but are only allowed to dance in segregated spaces, such as on The Corny Collins Show's monthly "Negro Day" special.
Seeing the injustice in their plight, Tracy makes it her mission to desegregate The Corny Collins Show.
Tracy performs the following songs or participates in the scene in some way.
- Good Morning Baltimore
- The Nicest Kids in Town *
- Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now
- I Can Hear The Bells
- (The Legend of) Miss Baltimore Crabs *
- The Madison ‡
- Ladies' Choice **
- The Nicest Kids in Town (reprise)
- The New Girl in Town **
- Welcome to the '60s
- Run and Tell That *
- Big, Blonde, and Beautiful
- The Big Dollhouse ‡
- Good Morning Baltimore (reprise)
- Without Love
- I Know Where I've Been *
- (It's) Hairspray
- You Can't Stop the Beat
- Come So Far (Got So Far to Go) **
‡ "The Madison" and "The Dig Dollhouse" only appear in the stage musical version of Hairspray.
** "Ladies' Choice", "The New Girl in Town", and "Come So Far (Got So Far to Go" were created for Hairspray (2007), and do not appear in the original musical. However, Hairspray Live! chose to include Ladies' Choice in their televised special.
- Tracy was played by actress Ricki Lake in the 1988 film, Ricki Lake later made an appearance in the 2007 remake as a talent agent.