CanÂ't Stop the Beat: SMTÂ's HAIRSPRAY Rehearsal Blog – Part 4

October 27
9:10 AM 2011


Hey there kids, so it's been a crazy busy time.  Desperately trying to get all the dances, songs and lines down.  So owning to that and in an effort to let you hear from someone other than me, I've enlisted our very own Christine Riippi to share her views on her time with the show.  Plus, I thought I would share with you the first few promo shots from the other day's photo shoot as well as a few silly ones that just aren't quite right to put on the poster.  But first, without further ado, here's ...

Velma's View

Greetings, my little crab cakes, and welcome to Velma's View. That's right. Mother Von Tussle is taking over this week's blog entry. I'll be keeping you informed on all the backstage madness and merriment as we continue to piece this lovely show together.

Now for those of you who may not know me - and that's probably most of you - my name is Christine Riippi and I have the honor of strutting around the stage as the one and only Velma 'Miss Baltimore Crabs' Von Tussle, the resident villainess of "Hairspray". Being a part of this show has been an absolute blast so far and I know it is only going to get better as we get closer to performances.

This week over at "Hairspray" headquarters we dove into one of my favorite parts of the 'putting on a show' process: we get to be onstage! For the past few weeks we have been rehearsing music and learning choreography. But now it is finally time to get up onstage and see if all of our hard work has paid off. From the moment Kate hit the first notes of 'Good Morning, Baltimore' I had that wonderful, old familiar feeling of, "Here we go! We're putting on a show!"

I love the first time I get to see my castmates perform. Fortunately, this cast is full of talent so there is a lot to watch and soak in. At this point, I have decided that my favorite scene is in Motormouth's record shop when the kids squeal with delight and perform the 'Dirty Boogie'. I'm pretty jealous that I do not get to be onstage in that number, but you better believe Velma will be dirty-boogying along in the wings.

During the time that I am onstage, I have been stomping around like Godzilla. Take Thursday, for example: the petite, adorable Camille - who is perfection as our Lil' Inez - runs onstage to audition for the "Corny Collins Show". She kindly asks to audition and in return I back her down as if I am a vicious dinosaur: Velmasaurus Rex, if you will. It helps that I stand over a foot taller than her (and almost the entire rest of the cast). Just be prepared that when you come see the show, you will see a massive, terrifying figure appear from out of The Shadows, destroying everything in her path. No, you are not suddenly being transported into a scene from 'Jurassic Park'. It's just Velma taking center stage.

This week we also had our promotional photoshoot! I'm a sucker for a camera, so I was exceptionally excited to participate. Several members of our cast got all gussied up and demonstrated our fiercest poses - Tyra would have been proud. The real icing on the cake: we got our first glimpse at the costumes and hair that will be taking over this show. I have always thought that one of the main reasons why people love acting and theater is that it is an excuse to play dress-up as an adult. Really, who doesn't love dressing up in sequin-covered gowns and giant hair pieces? I've already named my wig 'Marilyn' - she's big, blonde and beautiful. Many thanks to our fantastic costume designer, Jon Allbie, for making all of us so pretty.

Well, kiddos, that is all I have for now. Tune in next week as we continue high-kickin' and belting our faces off. I think we are even running the show this week . . . I should really check that rehearsal schedule. Whoops. Thank you for reading and if you have not already bought your tickets to "Hairspray" then go immediately to Seattle Musical Theatre's website and purchase them. Preferably, purchase tickets for more than one night because I can guarantee that I will find a way to make each performance different and you will not want to miss a moment to compare and contrast. Until next time, stay crabby and enjoy "Velma's View"!

"Hairspray" runs at Seattle Musical Theatre from November 11th through December 11th.  For tickets or information contact the Seattle Musical Theatre box office at 206-363-2809 or visit them online at

Photo credits: Jennifer El Fattal

Can’t Stop the Beat: SMT’s HAIRSPRAY Rehearsal Blog – Part 4

Can’t Stop the Beat: SMT’s HAIRSPRAY Rehearsal Blog – Part 4

Kate Moyer as Tracy

Can’t Stop the Beat: SMT’s HAIRSPRAY Rehearsal Blog – Part 4

Jay Irwin as Edna

Can’t Stop the Beat: SMT’s HAIRSPRAY Rehearsal Blog – Part 4

Kody Bringman as Link

Can’t Stop the Beat: SMT’s HAIRSPRAY Rehearsal Blog – Part 4

Mindy Beal as Penny and Brian Schaefer as Seaweed

Can’t Stop the Beat: SMT’s HAIRSPRAY Rehearsal Blog – Part 4

Stacie Calkins as Motormouth Maybelle

Can’t Stop the Beat: SMT’s HAIRSPRAY Rehearsal Blog – Part 4

Christine Riippi as Velma and Carly Hodgson as Amber

Can’t Stop the Beat: SMT’s HAIRSPRAY Rehearsal Blog – Part 4

Link and Tracy doing the "Dirty Boogie"

Can’t Stop the Beat: SMT’s HAIRSPRAY Rehearsal Blog – Part 4

Penny and Seaweed can boogie too!

Can’t Stop the Beat: SMT’s HAIRSPRAY Rehearsal Blog – Part 4

Maybelle, Velma and Edna or "Charlie's Angels".  You decide!


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Jay Irwin Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Jay has been a theater geek for years. He attends as many shows as he can around the country and loves taking in new exciting works.

Instituting a new three letter rating system for my reviews for 2014. They'll range from best to worst as WOW (A can’t miss), YAY (Too damn good), MEH+ (Good, with some great things going for it), MEH (Just OK), NAH (You can miss this one) and WTF (I think you can figure out my complex code there).

Jay is also an actor in the local Seattle scene. Follow me on Twitter @SeattleBdwyGeek


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