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BWW Review: HAIRSPRAY at San Diego Civic Theatre

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Playing through Sunday, November 21st

BWW Review: HAIRSPRAY at San Diego Civic Theatre

Broadway San Diego could not have opened with a show that had more energy, such amazing vocals, or felt more timely than with HAIRSPRAY. The musical sparkles with talent, humor, and of course a lot of sequins to bring an incredibly entertaining show to the San Diego Civic Theatre through November 21st that you don't want to miss!

It's 1962 and Tracy Turnblad (Niki Metcalf) dreams of dancing on her favorite program," The Corny Collins Show" and winning the heart of the teen heartthrob Link (Will Savarse). While her best friend Penny (Emery Henderson) cheers her one, Tracy's loving mother Edna (Andrew Levitt) frets about her daughter's plans.

No one could have guessed Tracy would cause a revolution when suggesting the show be integrated. With the support from Motormouth Maybelle (Toneisha Harris) the DJ of the shows once a month "Negro Day", and her kid's Seaweed (Brandon G. Stalling), and Little Inz (Kalea Leverette) they try to defeat the producer Velma (Addison Garner) and her daughter Amber (Kaelee Albritton) in their plans for the show.

HAIRSPRAY the musical provides some of the camp in ode to its source material, the 1988 John Waters' movie of the same name, while also touching on many themes that are still relevant today. From Black Lives Matter to prejudice based on someone's weight, and even to reclaiming and working towards new and old goals, the show doesn't shy away from the more serious moments in the fun musical.

Metcalf has a clear and lovely voice that stayed strong and distinct throughout the show and seems to never stop dancing from the moment the show starts. Levitt, you may better recognize as drag star Nina West brings a very sweet, and vulnerable Edna with an inner core of steel to life on stage. The relationship between Edna and her husband Wilbur (Christopher Swan) is very playful, entertaining, and relationship goal worthy of their undying support and love for one another; the audience loved their duet "Timeless To Me."

Harris as Motormouth Maybelle has a gorgeous and powerful voice and soulful delivery. Her rendition of "I Know Where I've Been" earned a mid-show standing ovation and rightly so, it's a gorgeous performance.

The Dynamites trio played by Caira Asanté Lakota, Mea Wilkerson, and Renée Reid earned cheers with their tight harmonies and killer runs when they appeared in "Welcome to the 60's."

The ensemble members are all talented and deliver on the almost non-stop choreography by Jerry Mitchell. Directed by Jack O'Brien the show has a few more recent updates and nods to current events and local areas but keeps the snark and the heart in balance. The sets, digital projections, and colorful costumes all work together to match the cast's effervescence to tell the story.

How To Get Tickets

HAIRSPRAY is playing at the San Diego Civic Theatre through Sunday, November 21st. For ticket and showtimes go to www.broadwaysd.com

Masks are required the entire time in the theatre. Proof of full vaccination required or proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of showtime or rapid antigen test performed by a medical professional within 12 hours of showtime.


Photo Credit: A scene from the new national touring production of "Hairspray," playing at the San Diego Civic Theatre through Nov. 21. (Chris Bennion and Jeremy Daniel)


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From This Author E.H. Reiter