Known as a harbor city plagued by gang violence and urban decay, Baltimore is hoping for a Broadway-style makeover—courtesy of John Waters, native son and creator of Hairspray and Cry-Baby. His gleefully trashy films are the inspiration for two cleaned-up musicals now on Broadway, and Baltimore hopes their sparkle can boost local tourism, the New Yorker reports.
Local officials are putting an ad in Playbill—“You’ve seen the musical, now visit the set.” And the Cry-Baby campaign includes a microsite on Baltimore.org pointing visitors to Waters' favorite Baltimore spots. It might seem odd that a master of outrageous camp—think drag queen eating dog feces, notes Michael Schulman—would be the city's poster boy. "We’re a city that likes to poke fun at itself,” a local tourism honcho says.