Hairspray is the latest show to grace the stage at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre. The show, which takes place in Baltimore in 1962, is not only dynamic, but the show also reminds the audience about the events of the 60s, especially the Civil Rights Movement. Hairspray is a lot of fun, and takes audiences back to the optimism and cultural change of the 60s. Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre magnificently brings this charming musical to life on their stage.
Hairspray is based on the 1988 John Waters’s film of the same name. Marc Shaiman wrote the music for the musical, and Scott Wittman and Shaiman wrote the lyrics. Hairspray takes place in the 1960s, and revolves around one teenager, Tracy Turnblad, whose dream is to dance on a local TV dance program, The Corny Collins Show. Once Tracy earns a role on the Corny Collins Show, she meets a variety of characters, and launches a campaign to integrate the dance show. Hairspray opened on Broadway in 2002, and won eight Tony Awards including Best Musical.
The production of Hairspray at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre is everything a summer musical should be: big, bright and lively with a strong and energetic cast. In the role of Tracy Turnblad is Megan Power. Power is immediately likable in her first song, “Good Morning Baltimore,” and ends strong with “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” Playing Tracy’s mother, Edna, is Chuck Caruso. Caruso is over the top and funny in the role, and he is remarkable in the song, “Welcome to the 60s.” In addition, his duet with Tracy’s father, Wilbur (Jim Johnson), “Timeless to Me,” is an unexpected delight in this production. Playing Tracy’s sidekick Penny, is Sheria Feuerstein. Penny begins the show as a quiet and awkward teen, and by the end of the show she finds her stride and self-confidence. Feuerstein gives a fine performance showing Penny’s transformation. The antagonist characters of this production are Lisa Carter who plays Amber Von Tussle, and her mother Velma played by Erin Fish. These two actors successfully portray the spoiled child and her mother (who also is the producer of the Corny Collins Show) who tries to get everything she wants. In addition, Fish shines in her song, “Miss Baltimore Crabs.” Other standouts in this production are Adam Clough as Corny Collins, the eccentric host of the Corny Collins Show; Chris Kane as Link Larkin, a teenage heartthrob who Tracy has a crush on; Jos N. Banks is charming as Seaweed, who is Penny’s love interest and Tracy’s dance muse; and his spitfire little sister, Inez is played by Errión Haywood. Rounding out this powerful cast is Debra Thaïs Evans who plays Motormouth Maybelle, the mother of Seaweed and Inez, and owner of the Motormouth Maybelle’s Record Shop. Evans stops the show with her number “I Know Where I’ve Been.” Her vocals are astounding, and this song is emotionally moving. This entire cast of this show is strong, and they will have members of the audience clapping and tapping their feet, especially with the song, “You Can’t Stop the Beat.”
The creative team also need recognized for this delightful production. The director and choreographer of this magnificent production is Amy McCleary. Robert Andrew Kovach serves as the Scenic Designer, John P. White is the Costume Designer, Lighting Design was done by Russell A. Thompson, and Shawn Kreider is the Sound Designer. Additionally, Danielle Barnes is the Musical Director.
Hairspray runs at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre through September 2, 2014. For more information and tickets visit their website at www.dutchapple.com or call the box office at 717-898-1900.
Final Thought: Dutch Apple’s Hairspray is a show where the audience will be swept up in the enthusiasm, energy, humor and music of the show. The show is full of pizazz and fun, and it is definitely worth a trip to Dutch Apple to experience the production.
Kelli Curtin is editor and writer for theatresensation.com. In addition, she is a contributor for the online sites broadwayworld.com and figlancaster.com and is a freelance writer. Kelli is excited to share her passion about theatre and the arts with her readers. Kelli can be found on twitter @theatrescribe and on Facebook/theatresensation.
Photos courtesy of Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre