Tracy Turnblad - A pleasantly plump teenager with a big heart who has dreams of being a dancing star. A lovable personality. Mezzo-Belt.
Edna Turnblad - Tracy’s kind, plus-sized mother; runs a laundry business out of her home but hasn't been out in a while.
Wilbur Turnblad - Tracy’s goofy father, who owns the Har-De-Har Hut joke shop and is still madly in love with his wife, Edna. He encourages Tracy to follow her dreams.
Corny Collins - the exciting, confident dancing and singing host of his own TV dance show (think American Bandstand at its inception!)
Penny Pingleton - Tracy's slightly dorky, but lovable best friend who is often by her side (when not grounded for life by her mother, Prudy
Amber von Tussle - bratty, selfish resident princess of The Corny Collins Show. Her mother's daughter through and through, she is willing to do anything to win the Miss Teenage Hairspray pageant.
Velma von Tussle – Amber's slim and attractive but overbearing mother who pushes her daughter to seek stardom. The scheming producer of The Corny Collins Show.
Link Larkin - Teenage heartthrob, aspiring young Elvis, and male lead dancer on The Corny Collins Show. Falls in love with Tracy (Amber is soooo jealous!)
Seaweed J. Stubbs - Motormouth Maybelle’s son and a talented dancer. Ends up in detention with Tracy and falls in love with Penny.
Motormouth Maybelle - the sassy Owner of a record store and mother to Seaweed and Little Inez. Plus-sized, she helps Edna find pride in herself.
Little Inez – Seaweed's little sister and just as talented a dancer.
The Dynamites - Talented vocal trio a la The Supremes. Featured in many numbers together and usually in tight harmony. May double for other ensemble roles.
Council Members – All named dancers and singers on The Corny Collins Show. Perform in 5+ numbers including “Nicest Kids In Town” and “You Can’t Stop The Beat.”
Other Students - Gilbert, Duane, Lorraine, Stooie, Thad – Kids we find in detention, and most in Motormouth Maybelle's record shop. Perform in 4+ numbers including “Welcome to the 60’s” and “You Can’t Stop The Beat.”
Female Authority Figure – The roles of Prudy Pingleton (Penny's uptight mother), the sadistic gym teacher, and the prison matron.
Male Authority Figure – The roles of Harriman F. Spritzer (President of Ultra Clutch cosmetics, Corny Collins show sponsor), the high-blood pressure principal, and Mr. Pinky (owner of a plus-sized dress shop).