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Hairspray
a Musical
CATEGORY : COMEDY MUSICAL
by Mark O'Donnell, Thomas Meehan, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman

COMPANY : Center Theatre of the MJCCA
VENUE : Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta [WEBSITE]
ID# 3899

SHOWING : December 09, 2010 - December 19, 2010

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

"You Can’t Stop the Beat!"

Winner of multiple awards, including the 2003 Tony for Best Musical and the Lawrence Olivier Award for Best New Musical, HAIRSPRAY sweeps us away to 1960's Baltimore, where the 50's are out – and change is in the air. Loveable plus-sized heroine, Tracy Turnblad, has a passion for dancing, and wins a spot on the local TV dance program, "The Corny Collins Show." Overnight she finds herself transformed from outsider to teen celebrity. Can a larger-than-life adolescent manage to vanquish the program's reigning princess, integrate the television show, and find true love (singing and dancing all the while, of course!) without mussing her hair?

Songs include 1960s-style dance music and "downtown" rhythm and blues. You’ll doo-wop your way out of the theater, because “You Can’t Stop the Beat!”

Based on the New Line Cinema film written and directed by John Waters, with book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, music by Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman.

Directed by Dina Shadwell.


CAST & CREW LIST
Musical Director Annie Cook
Director Dina Shadwell
Scenic Design Noah Aronson
Lighting Design Harley Gould
Sound Design Jason Loar
Props Design Kathy Manning
Technical Director Alan Patton
Choreographer Krystle Simmons
Wig Design Tony Smithey
Stage Manager Charles Swint
Costume Design Neal Vipperman
Keyboard Jennifer Blaske
Percussion Levi Cull
Trumpet Pete Hall
Bass Nico Hueso
Cello Christian Serrano
Trumpet Andy Stevens
Violin Jonathan Urizar
Lou Ann Rachel All
Duane Orran Allen
IQ Joe Arnotti
Lorraine Kandice Arrington
Corny Collins David Azzarello
Dynamites - Kamilah Rosemary Blankson
Tammy Meredith Campbell
Shelley Karen Cassady
Velma Von Tussle Annie Cook
Sketch Cameron Frostbaum
Prudy Pingleton Glenda Tibbals Gray
Penny Pingleton Kristin Hall
Stooie Devon Harper
Gilbert Jamie Hicks
Fender Thaddeus H. Kolwicz III
Mom, Ensemble Courtney Loner
Cindy Watkins Sonya Madison
Amber Von Tussle Carrie Manuel
Brad Jason Melin
Mom, Ensemble Mary Beth Morrison
Brenda Katie O'Neill
Kathy Elisabeth Parrish
Janet Rebecca Pino
Seaweed Stubbs Quintez Rashad
Dynamites - Shayna Quentin Reynolds
Harriman F. Spritzer, Mr. Pinky, Princip Joel Rose
Edna Turnblad Tony Smithey
Wilbur Turnblad John Stanier
Dennis Ryan Talley
Link Larkin J.D. Touchton
Betty Lindsay Via
Tracy Turnblad Stephanie N Ward
Little Inez Kiarra West
Dynamites - Judine Krystal Camille White
Motormouth Maybelle Kameeka Williams
Matron, Mom, Ensemble Dawn Zachariah
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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Some Good Things, and Some Not So Good
by Stages4me
Sunday, December 19, 2010
3.5
Tonight's performance of Hairspray played to a sold out crowd. And don't bother trying to get tickets for the final performance tomorrow as it is sold out as well. This says a lot about the fun energy of this show. The best thing about this production is the space. The theater at the MJCC is really nice. A lot of local theaters are crammed into spaces that were designed to be something else. This is a true theater and instantly raises the production value. Overall the show was good and well received by the audience. I do feel that the good was peppered by some not so good but the overall performance was commendable.

GOOD THINGS:
- The Set – Simple and effective. I really liked the three sided moving columns and the Hefty Hideaway.
- The Costumes – Lots of costumes! Very bright, fun, vintage, well suited for the 60’s. Nice Job.
- The choreography – high energy, interesting, fun. Good Job.
- Some Very Good Performances – Wilbur, Penny, Amber. While not the necessarily starring roles, they were fully committed even when not the focus. Also the Dynamite trio was great!
- Some Good Performances – Velma, Edna, Corny. Nice work, nice character choices.
- Overall energy of the cast as a whole. You could tell they were all having a lot of fun up there.

NOT SO GOOD THINGS:
- Volume – I had trouble hearing some actor’s dialogue. Some actors rushed lines and others were just too quiet. There were also times that I could not hear the lyrics over the band.
- Some Not So Good Performances – In my meager opinion, there were some actors that were not up to the material. I do not want to get into specifics, but a couple of actors did not seem to fully embrace or understand the well written characters they were playing. There were others who strained their vocals (maybe to try and be heard over the band).
- Pacing (in some scenes) – The show is mostly music and short scenes, but there were a couple of scenes that were very slow. Combine the slow pace with the volume issues and you have a deadly combination.
- Edna’s physique – So, how do I put this? I’ve already said I thought the performance was pretty good, but to be blunt ... she was not fat enough or frumpy enough. When you start with an Edna that is curvy and well dressed, you do not get to see the character transform from timid and afraid to leave the house to confident and proud enough to strut her stuff on national TV.

So there you have it ... the good and the not so good. While I did have issues, I really enjoyed myself tonight and so did the sold out crowd (an enthusiastic standing ovation during the curtain call). I applaud Ms. Shadwell and the entire team for their hard work and boundless energy.
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Something to Like
by theatreislove
Sunday, December 19, 2010
3.5
Hairspray is one of those iconic theatre pieces that appeals to community theatres and their patrons. It offers a good story, a period piece that the audience can relate to, and multiple character opportunities to actors. The Center Theatre production at the Marcus JCC did a fine job of entertaining the sold-out crowd I was part of, and produced some stand-out performances.

Most notable of the performances was that of the ensemble. While some performances tend to have a “black” ensemble and a “white” ensemble, this one just had an ensemble. They worked beautifully together in all combinations, but best when they were all together, just as our heroin, Tracy Turnblad (Stephanie Ward) envisioned that it would. The group dance numbers were all very well executed, and the costuming was very well conceived and helped provide a unified front.

Ms. Ward in the role of Tracy was physically spot-on, and while the dancing could have been better executed at times, overall she won over the audience. JD Touchton as Link Larkin wasn’t my favorite in the cast, but he was charming and overall the characterization was good. Kristin Hall as Penny Pingleton, Tracy’s best friend, was engaging throughout the performance, and I looked forward to her every word, song, and move on stage. The same is true of Kiarra West as Little Inez, young daughter of Motormouth Maybelle. Both of these young ladies made me want to see the show again.

Tracy’s parents, Edna and Wilbur (Tony Smithey and John Stanier) completely stole my heart, and that of the audience. Mr. Smithey’s Edna was a delight to watch, and Mr. Stanier was a perfect complement to the over-the-top character that Edna is.

Carrie Anne Manuel as Amber Von Tussle clearly had a great time playing the bad girl, and she was delightful in her performance. It was both easy and hard to hate her. And Kameeka Williams (Motormouth Maybelle), while perhaps a little out of her vocal range at times, was an excellent voice of Tracy’s protest to only one “Negro Day” each month. And she was a real audience favorite.

Notable performances in the ensemble came from Joe Arnotti and Lindsay Via, who danced beautifully, and could always be seen singing and smiling, and beautifully in character, while on stage. And The Dynamites (Krystal Camille White, Rosemary Blankson, and Quentin Reynolds) were a treat at every opportunity. Vocally and in character, the three were a real team. And hats off to whoever cast Mr. Reynolds – he was a lovely addition.

Overall, I enjoyed the choreography, and I especially enjoyed the execution of the choreography. The show is, at its heart, a 50’s dance piece, and this naturally limits the choreographer. Krystle Simmons appears to have provided her cast with complex dances that they seemed quite capable of presenting well to the audience. In the performance I saw, the cast was nearly flawless in the big dance numbers.

Technically, the set was simple but effective. And the opening of the second act was a perfect example of how a set can enhance the acting, singing, and dancing, and really complete a director’s vision. Lighting was well done, and never distracting. I would have appreciated better execution in the sound department, given that you had actors who where giving their all, only to not be heard at times. Some transitions were a little labored, but none were distracting. The technical misses affected my rating of the show overall.

In every community there are hits and misses. And all of them bring out our inner director. But I was entertained by this show, I didn't look at my watch, and I found something to like here.

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