HAIRSPRAY! WOW!Published: Friday, May 11, 2012 7:00 am By: Camille Kaiser Source: THE CUE
CUE REVIEW ***WestchesterBroadway Theatre’s “Hairspray” -- WOW!
John Waters provided the foundation for “Hairspray” on which Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan have constructed a clever and entertaining book which tells its story with effectiveness, much laughter, and a lot of heart. Marc Shaiman, who wrote the music and lyrics with Scott Wittman, has created a series of bouncy, tuneful numbers that will make both those who savored the 1960s and those born too late wish they could go back in time. Plain and simple, this is a feel good show!
It tells the story of a teenage dance show on local Baltimore TV, The Corny Collins Show (Pat McRoberts is delightful in his role as the Baltimore “Dick Clark”). Tracy Turnblad (Erin McCracken who just oozes vivacity and amazing talent -- she can sing, dance and act!) is a pleasantly plump high school student, whose dream is to appear on The Corny Collins Show and dance with Link Larkin (well played with an appropriate hint of “Elvis” by Tripp Hampton).
We watch Tracy overcome numerous obstacles while attempting to make her dream come true. The audience finds itself rooting for her, her mother, Edna (played to the hilt of campiness by Tad Wilson), a large woman who spent her life just being a mother and laundress instead of being a dress designer and her father, Wilbur (the hysterical Bruce Rebold), who owns a trick and magic shop. Through music, merriment and dance we watch Tracy and her best friend, Penny Pingleton (adorably played by Stacy Gogo), get past the tryouts, meet and dance with the African Americans from “the other side of the tracks”, dethrone the dance queen, Amber, and integrate the TV show upsetting Amber’s mother, Velma (portrayed to the extreme by Ann Van Cleave) who manages the TV station and makes sure that her daughter, Amber, is featured and that The Corny Collins Show remains a racially segregated program.
This show is great fun, with songs like “Good Morning Baltimore”, “Welcome to the Sixties”, “Hairspray”, “The Nicest Kid In Town” and “Mama, I’m A Big Girl Now”. But more significant, it is the story about people just being people and that black or white, all teens just want to be teens and dance to the music. It was a delight to watch Seaweed J. Stubbs (smoothly portrayed by Elgin Giles) teach the white