BWW Reviews: GCT Rocks & Rolls with HAIRSPRAY
Hairspray/book by Mark O'Donnell & Thomas Meehan/music by Marc Shaiman; lyrics by Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman/choreographed by Orlando Alexander/directed by Martin Lang/Glendale Centre Theatre (GCT)/through October 12.
Hairspray, can't get enough of that Hairspray! 60s girls lacquered up their dos - hair, that is, with oodles and oodles of it until their hair was a sticky, gooey mess; well, the musical of the same name has been seen close to a half dozen times in the last couple of years, and very few folks seem to tire of it...why? It's a stroll down memory lane, it's nostalgia... that is pleasant - even when it's about serious issues ... like segregation, it's a far cry from the unpleasantness in today's world, so it goes down easier... and, it has all those crazy song and dance tunes of the era...well, an original score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, but one that sounds exactly like the hit tunes of the 60s. Glendale Centre Theatre's (GCT) current production of the now classic Hairspray is without a doubt doing the show justice. With an evenly wonderful cast, slick direction by Martin Lang and fast/furious choreographic moves from Orlando Alexander, it becomes a great end of summer treat for one and all, regardless of whether you were part of or remember the 60s.
With next to no flaws, Kimmy Zolozabal (Tracy), Sam Zeller (her mother Edna), Scott Strauss (her father Wilbur) and the rest of the cast move and groove divinely to Hairspray's beat. Zolozabal's role is a hefty one to be sure, no pun intended, and she is definitely up to the tremendous amount of dancing and singing - is she ever off the stage? - that she is called upon to perform. She is adorable and sings beautifully. Zeller is a hoot, physically busting out all over yet letting all his genuine warmth seize control as the supportive mother. In his first long dark wig, he reminds one of Kaye Ballard with all of her loud and sarcastically funny remarks. His is a big, somewhat over.the.top performance that suits his aura, the piece and our enjoyment! Strauss makes Wilbur stand out by just sort of being quiet, direct and unobtrusive. Nick Echols comes through just fine as handsome ego-driven Link Larkin. Regan Carrington is smooth as Motormouth Maybelle; Julia Marie Rodriguez brings out all the villainous nastiness of Thelma Von Tussle. Praise as well to Frank Authello Andrus Jr., a truly slick and smokin' Seaweed; Shaelan O'Connor is cute and sassy as Penny; and Holly Childers is appropriately uber obnoxious as Amber. Lisa Dyson makes the most of three roles as Prudy, Penny's mom, the girls' gym coach and the warden in the women's prison. Last but not least is Michael Liles who brings a suave and sophisticated good nature to Corny Collins. Kudos also to Shawn Cahill in many male roles, Adia Joelle, Kymberly Stewart, and the terrific dance ensemble.
Angela Wood is responsible for the colorful costumes, Byron J. Batista for the beehive wigs and Steven Applegate for fine musical direction. The whole show, an ode to the 60s and to those who stood up to make a difference in the way we think and live, is an exuberant, joyous dessert. GCT's Hairspray is ultra clutch, providing a glossy veneer and musical staying power. Great entertainment!