CanÂ't Stop the Beat: SMTÂ's HAIRSPRAY rehearsal blog Â– Part 1
In June of 2002 I had an experience that would alter my perception on how good musical theater could be. That was when I saw "Hairspray" for the first time. It was the pre-Broadway run at the 5th Avenue Theatre. I had heard a bit of "Welcome to the 60's" on the radio commercial and thought to myself, "This sounds pretty good." Little did I know what I was in for the night I saw it. Little did I know that I would be introduced to one of my favorite shows of all time and to a character that I would long to play for years to come. Not just because it's a plum role for a plus sized actor but also because it's a wonderful part of what has become a long and glorious history. From the 1988 John Waters movie to the 2002 Tony Winning run to the 2007 big screen adaptation of the musical "Hairspray", its timeless message of inclusion and acceptance has endured.
Skip ahead almost a decade and the dream is coming true thanks to the folks at Seattle Musical Theatre. Yes, dear readers, I am stepping out of the audience and onto to the stage to perform the role of Edna Turnblad, a role that has been calling to me for so long now. And I am so excited for this that I wanted to take my readers along with me on this journey with this rehearsal blog. Over coming weeks I'll be posting thoughts, experiences, photos and maybe even a video or two showcasing my time with one of my favorite shows of all time.
We began last night with our first meet and greet and read through of the show that will take over my life for the next 3 months and I am so excited with the group I'm going to be working with. Director Vincent Orduna, Assistant Director Colin Madison, Music Director Josh Zimmerman and Choreographer Phil Lacey and Stage Manager Heather Bernadette have assembled a dream team of talent to put up this wonderful show. And without further ado, let me introduce my fellow cast mates to you now. Roll Call! We have Kate Moyer as my lovely daughter Tracy and Jon Thumim as my wonderful husband Wilbur, Carly Hodgson as Amber Von Tussel with Christine Riippi as her Mother Velma Von Tussel, Mindy Beal as Tracy's best friend Penny Pingleton and Colleen Gillon as her Mother Prudy, Kody Bringman as the swoon-worthy Link Larkin and Jeff Orton as the equally swoon-able Corny Collins, Stacie Calkins as the irrepressible Motormouth Maybelle and Brian Schaefer as her son Seaweed J. Stubbs and Camille Collaco as her daughter Lil Inez. And let's not forget the nicest and hardest working kids in town Michael Giles, Sarah Russell, Anjelica Wolf, Rashawn N. Scott, DeSean Halley, Tsige Tafesse, Matthew Dela Cruz, Krista Gibbon, Emily Cappel, Heather McQuarrie, Ted Adams, Brad Walker and Mike Bowers. This, along with the amazing crew will be my family for the next several weeks and if last night's read through was any indication; it's going to be one hell of a ride.
Not much to report right now, we met, we laughed, we read and we all got super excited hearing those wonderful words for the first time. We also got to see hints at the gorgeous set from our set designer Scott Shaver and the fabulous costumes from our costume designer John Allbritton (and I must say this part excited me more than it should have). I don't want to give anything away but the designs look amazing!!! Oh and of course like any good Mama I brought in chocolate chip cookies for everyone. We have to keep our strength up.
So keep an eye out over the upcoming weeks for more tales from this crazy group and of course, come out and see us (and me) when we open on November 11th. It's sure to be a hair stiffening good time. And you look like you could use a stiff one!
"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 www.seattlemusicaltheatre.org.
Emily Cappel and Jay Irwin
Kody Bringman and Christine Riippi
Rashawn N. Scott, Kate Moyer and DeSean Halley