Link and Tracy's love story in Hairspray may be only part of the musical's plot, but their big love song is still pretty catchy. "Without Love" in Hairspray Live! featured Garret Clayton as Link in the spotlight along with Tracy, Seaweed, and Penny. The quartet is funny, sweet, and gets the four teens back on track.
I'm happy that Hairspray Live! decided to put Link in that jail cell. In the 2007 movie, Zac Efron sings alone to Tracy's picture in her bedroom — and it's real weird. This staging allowed the two of them to duet together and have a real, genuine moment. "Without Love" is where Link drops the showmanship and steps up in both his love for Tracy and his commitment to her cause.
Link was originally played on Broadway by Matthew Morrison from Glee, and in the movie by Zac Efron. So Clayton is stepping into some pretty big shoes. Younger fans will recognize the triple threat from his role as Tanner in Teen Beach Movie and Teen Beach Movie 2, musical DCOMs that poke fun at '60s beach musicals. He played a cartoonish leading man in that as well, and is therefore a natural choice for the role in Hairspray. He also played Chase on The Fosters.
He also starred in King Cobra with James Franco, Molly Ringwald, Alicia Silverstone, Christian Slater, and James Franco. It's not exactly family friendly. Hairspray Live! is definitely a step back to his campy song and dance roots. Though "Without Love" wasn't his solo, it was definitely one of his highlights.