Hairspray; A Permanent Wave of Fun

Hairspray; A Permanent Wave of FunCurrently enjoying its 5th year on Broadway, this Tony winning block buster musical comedy is still fresh and irresistibly fun.  The current tour stopped in for a spin at the Academy of Music from May 2 through 4th and the audience was pumped and ready for fun.

Set in 1962, Baltimore's Tracy Turnblad is a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart. She wins a spot on "The Corny Collins Dance Show" and overnight, is transformed into a teen dancing sensation.  Determined to win over teen heartthrob Link Larkin and integrate a television show without denting her 'do.

The characters are well developed with this non Equity touring company as they put their own stamp on the production.  Understudy Sarah Roussos played the role of Tracy Turnblad.  What Roussos lacks in over plumpness is outweighed in talent.  Her characterization of Tracy was delightful from her well delivered vocals to her high energy dancing. It wasn't long before the audience was rooting for her.

Michael Walker, who plays Tracy's mother Edna, is another surprise twist.  A cross dresser of considerable girth, Walker displays a dry sense of humor and worrisome wit but never quite blossoms into the flamboyant Ednas of the past.  However Walker is a perfect compliment for her zany, over amorous husband Wilbur played by Dan Ferretti. The duet "Timeless To Me" has the audience and the actors cracking up.

The company is extremely strong with high energy and tight choreography.  Several "bring down the house" numbers thatHairspray; A Permanent Wave of Fun delight all.  Marsena Euince Bowers (Motormouth Maybelle) nails her solo "I Know Where I've Been", while Jacqueline Grabois (Velma Von Tussel) is wonderfully snobby. The standout character in this production is Sharon Malane's  Penny Pingelton, Tracy's ditsy best friend.  Malane simply captures the crowd with unexpected natural comedy. Taylor Frey plays heartthrob Link Larkin with passion and cuteness.

Sets are minimal with clever use of backdrops and lighting. Costumes are impressively 60's and colorful. The direction of the production is packed with action and flows nicely from scene to scene.  This heartwarming Hairspray tour is a great big fat fun hit. 

Hairspray- Book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, Music by Marc Shaiman, Lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, Choreography recreated by Danny James Austin, Choreography by Jerry Mitchell, Directed by Matt Lenz, original Direction by Jack O'Brien.

Hairspray played at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia from May 2-4

For information about the Broadway Series at the Academy visit www.kimmelcerter.org/broadway or call 1.215.790.5883 or 866.276.2947

Photo Credit Broadway At The Academy Press

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Pati Buehler Pati has been involved with various aspects of the theater from hosting large groups to Broadway shows in the early 90's to supporting various Broadway artists for charities such as the "Make A Wish Foundation", The Leukemia Society, and Gilda's Club, programs supporting fighting ovarian cancer. New York's Jane Ellisa's Shining Star Award for the Leukemia Society. In 2001, she began writing for various theater-based web sites from www.talkinbroadway.com, www.broadwayworld.com, and www.philly2philly.com.

Her passion is Arts and Education and Fundraising for Non Profit Organizations. In 2002 she teamed up with Broadway star Craig Schulman (Les Miserables/Phantom/Jekyll & Hyde) to put together a traveling Broadway in your school Workshop/Master Class program that has thrilled young artists and theater groups across the country.

She began producing live concert events as PB Entertainment in 2003 at various venues. From 2004-2006 she produced two seasons of professional events for Eastern High School Performing Arts Center, Voorhees, NJ including Neil Berg's "100 Years of Broadway", two Rockin' Oldies events, a Broadway cast Jazz Show and the Southern New Jersey Philharmonic Orchestra featuring Australian world class violinist Martin Lass and more. In 2013 Pati produced “Broadway Sings For Newtown” bringing 6 Broadway artists together to perform for the Newtown Conn. Community to benefit the “Healing Arts Foundation” and honoring all the families involved in the Sandy Hook School tragedy.

Venue Affiliations: Theater Reviews: Forrest Theater, Merriam Theater, Walnut Street Theater, The Academy of Music, The Kimmel Center, Peter Nero & the Philly Pops, Media Theater, Lenape Regional PAC, The Arden Theater, The Prince Music Theater, The Paper Mill Playhouse, The Bristol Riverside Theater, Commerce Bank Arts Center, Surflight Theater, Society Hill Playhouse, Philadelphia Theater Company and more.

Events Producer: Ritz Theater Company, Ocean City Music Pier, Collingswood Foundation For the Arts , Stafford Township Performing Arts Center, Mainstage Center for the Performing Arts , Eastern Center For the Performing Arts, Newtown Conn. Arts Festival.

Pati owns and manages PB Entertainment LLC. www.pbentertainment.com and is a director for a private fundraising company Fundagroup. www.fundagroup.com