At 16, Blonsky auditioned for the role of barrier-breaking teen Tracy Turnblad -- a girl who leads the charge for integration in 1960s Baltimore -- in the Broadway production of "Hairspray." She didn't get the part, but a year later she answered an online casting call and landed the role as a virtual unknown in the film version of the musical.
Blonsky's spirited portrayal earned the newcomer a Golden Globe nomination and a Critics Choice Award. She has also appeared in the made-for-TV movie Queen Sized (2008), playing an overweight teen who campaigns to be her high school's homecoming queen.
Devoted small-town English teacher Linda yearns for love. Enter Jason, a former student whose career as a Broadway playwright didn't pan out. When she persuades him to stage his play at the school before giving up, love -- and controversy -- arises.