Aired on KSDS-FM on 8/17/18
RUN DATES: 8/3/18 – 9/2/18
VENUE: San Diego Musical Theatre
Well, butter my bouffant and call it a biscuit! Even off-the-wall filmmaker John Waters, who wrote the original, would get a kick out the San Diego Musical Theatre production of his slyly subversive comedy-with-a-message – about acceptance, regardless or color or girth.
This “Hairspray” is a hoot – with side-splitting humor and a bit of an edge. Director J. Scott Lapp has cast a marvelous ensemble of 25, and he gives them ingenious interactions and moves. Every character is superbly inhabited.
The singing is terrific, and the dancing is divine. Choreographer Jill Gorrie has the cast constantly in motion, imaginatively incorporating every wacky dance craze of the era. “Welcome to the Sixties, indeed!”
The melodies of Marc Shaiman are infectious, and the lyrics, by Shaiman and Scott Wittmann, make for a delectable score, which ranges from dance-happy to love-ballad to moving racial anthem. The 15-piece orchestra makes it all sound great. The book, by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, is juiced up with some funny bits. And the costumes are outrageous.
This is a third run at Plus-sized Tracy Turnblad for Bethany Slomka, who fits the role like a well-worn saddle-shoe. This Tracy is surprisingly, comically horny, but she remains an indomitable force for integration of The Corny Collins TV dance show, with Zackary Scot Wolfe as the host, played with perfect energy, grin and charisma. John Massey makes Tracy’s Mom, Edna, a force of humor and hilarious ad libs.
Nick Eiter is talented and handsome as Tracy’s heartthrob and sex god, Link Larkin. Eboni Muse and Kenneth Mosley are magnetic and warm-hearted as big belter Motormouth Maybelle and her affable son, Seaweed, who takes up with Tracy’s ditsy bestie, Penny, delightfully portrayed by Emma Nossal.
Eileen Bowman and Lauren King Thompson kick butt as the scheming Von Tussle mother and daughter. And Steve Gunderson and Debra Wanger are endlessly amusing as they quick-change into a bevy of boffo personas.
There’s so much humor and heart here. I can’t think of a better cast or production, or a more entertaining and thematically timeless way to spend a summer evening.
©2018 PAT LAUNER, San Diego Theater Reviews