National Youth Arts - ArtsDig - Resource for youth arts
 
Review

 
The Show: 

Big hair, big dreams, and big belly laughs collide in Hairspray – an outrageously funny and at times powerful musical that won a whopping eight Tony Awards last year including Best Musical. One of the few musicals that truly succeeds at all levels from great music, dancing, both a fun and inspiring story. A story set in Baltimore during the early 1960s and centered on Tracy Turnblad, a teenage girl who dreams of dancing on The Corny Collins Show, Baltimore’s own television dance show. But she’s meeting some resistance from a mom-and-daughter prima donna pair who poke fun at Tracy’s weight. And she’s getting even stiffer resistance when she wants to integrate the television show, eliminating the one-day-a-month “Negro Day” and making every day “Negro Day.” 

The Production: 

San Diego Junior Theatre’s summer production is as big as the hair (Francia Cohen on hair) featuring fancy and splashy sets (Jay Heiserman) and costumes (Lynn Choplin), serving up a feast for the eyes. While the ears get wowed by an all-star cast of local talents, many of whom making their swan song Junior Theatre performance in Director Desha Crownover’s terrific production. 

Kate Jamison is our lovable heroine Tracy Turnblad, knocking out the big opening love letter to Baltimore (which wraps up in a flourish that includes the flasher next door flashing the backstage), and bubbling with unrelentingly positive determination to get the boy (the likable Fred Strack as Link) and drag her mom and the entire city into an enlightened new decade of the 60s. Jordan Bunshaft is her amusing mom-in-drag Edna who is horrified (but can’t stop listening) to creepy fashion crank calls, and whose lack of self-confidence and abysmal self-image get a hefty boost by her bold daughter and doting, joking husband Wilbur (played with creative physical comedy by Morgan Hollingsworth), with the two delivering a charming duet of Timeless to Me. And as her best friend Penny Pingleton, the hilarious Nicki Elledge always has Tracy’s back even if she seems a little touched (like saying “hi” to Tracy on her TV set with sweet, genuine, mentally unbalanced affection) or a little distracted (ogling at Seaweed as she becomes a “checkerboard chick.”) 

Stanley Gambucci is the cool Seaweed who can lead a mean Run and Tell That but can’t figure out the knots Penny’s mom (quirky Paige Pendarvis) used to tie up her daughter, while Nicole Athill is Seaweed’s mom Motormouth who leads the big, powerful I Know Where I’ve Been. Their carbon copies are Casey Jaquez as a spoiled and vain Amber growing increasingly frustrated with her love life, and her mom-from-hell Velma featuring a very venomous and vindictive and racist Maddie Shea Baldwin trying to keep those checkerboards in check.  

Keeping things hip and lively is Johnny Martin as charismatic Corny Collins, the dance show emcee of a show that’s a sure hit with its ensemble of top-notch dancers, actors, and singers who pay attention to every moment and opportunity for fun as they nail scene after scene including the Steve Anthony-choreographed numbers The Nicest Kids in Town, Welcome to the Sixties, The Big Doll House, Without Love, and the exhilarating finale leaving no doubt that You Can’t Stop the Beat.

Performed July 29 - August 14, 2011

Photos by Ken Jacques

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~ 
 

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Tracy Turnblad: Kate Jamison
Edna Turnblad: Jordan Bunshaft
Wilbur Turnblad: Morgan Hollingsworth
Velma Von Tussle: Maddie Shea Baldwin
Amber Von Tussle: Casey Jaquez
Penny Pingleton: Nicki Elledge
Link Larkin: Fred Strack
Corny Collins: Johnny Martin
Seaweed J. Stubbs: Stanley Gambucci
Motormouty Maybelle: Nicole Athill
Little Inez: Brittany Williams
Prudy Pingleton: Paige Pendarvis
Jail Matron: Jake Fineman
Council Kids:
Truly Bailey
Nick Brammer
Zach Bunshaft
Brooke Collins
Alana Fineman
Jake Fineman
Corey Hable
Austin Klich
Lizzie Morse
Julia Nardi-Loving
Taryn O'Connor
Ben Shaffer
Kayla Solsbak
Ben Sutton
Ensemble:
Brandon Banda
Michael Barahura
Haley Batzer
Alexa Bitsko
Samantha Canela
Jacob Davis
Betsy Dunbar
Serey Geller
Amanda Ghosh
Irish Giron
Lauren Green
Evelyn Hall
Ciara Hernandez
Chris Huber
Maurisa Johnson
Lily King-Smithson
Joseph Magno
Julie Meram
Jessica Merghart
Michelle Pace
Hannah Prater
Dakota Ringer
Jazmine Ruiz
Claire Sparr
Anna Strickland
Ashlyn Thomas
Mashun Tucker
Spencer Williams
Dariane Wood
Hannah Zickel

Director: Desha Crownover
Choreographer: Steve Anthony
Musical Director: Richard Morrison
Assistant Director/Choreographer: Marianne Zumberge
Assistant Choreographer: Mitzi Michaels
Set Design: Jay Heiserman
Lighting Design: Matt Novotny
Costume Design: Lynn Choplin
Hair and Make-up Design: Francia Cohen
Sound Design: Robin Whitehouse
Properties: Karen Bohrer

   

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