Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BWW Reviews: Raleigh Little Theatre's HAIRSPRAY

Based on the 1988 John Waters film of the same name, the story of Hairspray takes place in Baltimore, Maryland in the year 1962, where we meet plump teenager Tracy Turnblad, whose lifelong dream is to dance on The Corny Collins Show, a local TV dance program based on the real-life Buddy Deane Show. When Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight, and meets a colorful array of characters. She then launches a campaign to integrate the show.

The musical adaptation first premiered on Broadway in the summer of 2002 which would then go on to not only win 8 Tony Awards (including Best Musical), but a run of 2,642 performances after concluding it on January 4th, 2009 after a total of more than six years on Broadway. It also spawned many more productions around the world as well as a hit 2007 film adaptation of the same name.

In this production currently playing at Raleigh Little Theatre through September 12th, while the sets do appear to be minimal, they are actually put to good use thanks to some very interesting (and realistic) staging ideas by director/choreographer, L.D. Burris.

Emma Wyatt leads the company as the sweetly charming Tracy Turnblad, she has the audience hooked from the moment she first enters onstage as she takes you on her journey through the show. We meet a wonderful cast of characters played by a very talented cast of actors. The two standouts of the supporting cast include Kevin Ferguson as Tracy's eccentric, yet loving father, Wilbur Turnblad, and Tina Morris-Anderson whose gospel voice perfectly matches the big, blonde, and beautiful character known as Motormouth Maybelle. Other members of the ensemble include Tony Hefner as Tracy's plus-sized mother, Edna Turnblad; Elin Waring as Tracy's slightly dorky, yet devoted best friend, Penny Pingleton; Tim Malboeuf as the teen heartthrob, Link Larkin; DaRay Graham as the hip negro dancer, Seaweed J. Stubbs; as well as Gretchen Bruesehoff and Natalie Turgeon as the villainous duo, Amber and Velma Von Tussle.

With the additions of some exquisite lighting designs by Elizabeth Grimes Droessler, some colorful costume designs by Vicki Olson, some very real sound effects, and a very effective orchestra conducted by musical director, Julie Florin, RLT's production of 'Hairspray' will most certainly leave you dancing in your seats all night long.


From This Author - Jeffrey Karasarides

Jeffrey Kare currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina. Having been born and raised in Northeast Ohio, Jeffrey took interest in live theater at age 11. He also had the great pleasure of seeing s... (read more about this author)

Review: FROZEN National Tour at Durham Performing Arts CenterReview: FROZEN National Tour at Durham Performing Arts Center
September 16, 2022

Based on Disney's 2013 Academy Award-winning animated movie musical of the same name as well as Hans Christian Andersen's 1844 fairy tale, The Snow Queen, Frozen follows two royal sisters named Anna and Elsa. At a young age, they were pulled apart by a mysterious secret. As Elsa struggles to find her voice and harness her powers within, Anna embarks on an epic adventure to bring her family together once and for all. When the film first came out, it was an enormous blockbuster, eventually becoming the highest-grossing animated movie of all time at the worldwide box office (before it was eventually dethroned by Frozen II six years later).

Review: Theatre Raleigh's YELLOW FACEReview: Theatre Raleigh's YELLOW FACE
July 1, 2022

What did our critic think? Yellow Face follows Asian-American playwright DHH. Fresh off his Tony Award win for M. Butterfly, he leads a protest against the casting of Jonathan Pryce as the Eurasian pimp in the original Broadway production of Miss Saigon, condemning the practice as 'yellowface.' His position soon comes back to haunt him when he mistakes a Caucasian actor, Marcus G. Dahlman, for mixed-race, and casts him as the lead Asian role of his own Broadway-bound comedy, Face Value. When DHH discovers the truth of Marcus' ethnicity, he tries to conceal his blunder to protect his reputation as an Asian-American role model by passing the actor off as a 'Siberian Jew.'

BWW Review: MY FAIR LADY National Tour at Durham Performing Arts CenterBWW Review: MY FAIR LADY National Tour at Durham Performing Arts Center
May 4, 2022

Based on George Bernard Shaw's 1913 play, Pygmalion, My Fair Lady is set in London in the year 1912. Read what our critic has to say.

BWW Review: North Carolina Theatre's RING OF FIREBWW Review: North Carolina Theatre's RING OF FIRE
April 30, 2022

Ring of Fire is a musical presented as a concert by a group of five performers playing the songs of legendary country music artist Johnny Cash. The show, which was conceived by William Meade and created by Richard Maltby, Jr., opened on March 12th, 2006 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway. Sadly, it only ran for 57 performances after closing on April 30th of that year. This production presented by North Carolina Theatre happens to be directed by Randy Redd, who was a member of the original Broadway cast.

BWW Review: RENT National Tour at Durham Performing Arts CenterBWW Review: RENT National Tour at Durham Performing Arts Center
January 29, 2022

Loosely based on Giacomo Puccini's 1896 opera, La bohème, Rent follows a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive and create a life in New York City's East Village in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.