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BWW Review: HAIRSPRAY at Hershey Theatre

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BWW Review: HAIRSPRAY at Hershey Theatre

Dance the night away with Hairspray at Hershey. The musical adaption of the John Waters' film is a celebration of acceptance and individuality. Niki Metcalf stars as vibrant teen, Tracy Turnblad. Metcalf is a joyful performer who exudes confidence. Metcalf has a good voice and uses it to great effect. One minor critique is that while she is a competent dancer, her moves don't really pop like I have seen in other productions. Tracy usually sticks out (in a good way) compared to the other teens, but that just wasn't coming across. Perhaps the flaw lies the choreography, not the dancer?

Andrew Levitt plays Tracy's mom, Edna with humor and poise. Levitt does some quirky things with his voice that helps accentuate the character. Edna comes across as vulnerable, yet supportive of her daughter.

Kaelee Albritton and Addison Garner play daughter and mother villainesses, Amber and Velma Van Tussel. Both actresses were spot on with their snobbiness and vanity. Other highlights of the cast include the flashy Jamonte D, Bruten as Seaweed and the loving Christopher Swan as Tracy's dad, Wilbur.

I would be remiss if I did not give credit to Emmanuelle Zeesman who did triple duty as Mrs. Pingleton, the gym teacher, and the matron. Zeesman has a gift for playing hilarious weirdos. While none of the three parts were leading characters, they all hijacked the stage for the few minutes that they appeared.

The plot moves at a good pace and the songs are both catchy and appropriate for the show's early 1960's setting. This production makes significant use of video projection which enhances the story, but never overpowers it. Like adding a drop of ginger to a recipe, a little bit goes a long way.

Music provided by a nine piece orchestra added a lot to the authenticity and energy of the show. Choreography was solid, but I would have liked some more complexity in a show that has such a high focus on dance.

Overall, this touring show is very enjoyable and has something in it for just about everyone. The show runs now through May 8th. Tickets and more info can be found at the theater web site.

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From This Author - Rich Mehrenberg