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Review: HAIRSPRAY at Capital One Hall

Review: HAIRSPRAY at Capital One Hall

The production runs from January 20th through 22nd.

Hairspray (Non-Equity)
Niki Metcalf (center) and company in Hairspray. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

The National Tour of the well-known musical, Hairspray, is making a quick stop this weekend at the Capital One Hall, and you won't want to miss it. Travel back in time for an evening to 1962, in our neighboring city, Baltimore, where our beloved Tracy Turnblad shakes things up and teaches us to embrace and celebrate our differences. This ever-talented cast takes us on a journey through an important story that continues to speak volumes and teach us about inclusivity and why change can be a good thing.

Hairspray (Non-Equity)
Company of Hairspray. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

Leading this incredible cast as Tracy Turnblad is the wonderful Niki Metcalf. She completely shines in this role - she is so joyful and powerful in the way she presents Tracy. Being seen as "different" never stops Tracy from being a good person who wants the best for everyone. It's clear that Metcalf has completely doven into this character and treats the story with such sincerity. With a voice that rings clear as a bell and a strong approach to all the elements that make Tracy so extraordinary (including holding that hair so high), she certainly brings a special light to this show. You can tell that inside and out, Niki Metcalf has a great appreciation for Tracy that elevates the energy of her performance to the next level. This made her storytelling extremely enjoyable and clearly made a testament to all that Tracy Turnblad represents.

Hairspray (Non-Equity)
L-R Andrew Levitt and Ralph Prentice Daniel in Hairspray. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

Alongside Metcalf is Andrew Levitt, also known as drag queen Nina West, who plays Tracy's mother, Edna Turnblad. Levitt's performance made this show so fun and enjoyable to watch. Not knowing of his impressive range, I was caught in awe of how entertaining Levitt made Edna. Showing the transformation from the anxious hermit Edna, into the "larger than life" Edna was so great to watch. Bringing in the element of Levitt already being a wonderful drag queen, you could see that this role was important for him to show the emotional dynamics of what it means to feel like you don't fit in. As well as how freeing it can be to finally embrace who you are. I loved the choices and comedic timing Levitt brought to the stage, leaving a special mark for Edna in this uproarious show.

Hairspray (Non-Equity)
Sandie Lee (center) and company in Hairspray. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

Another powerful performance that I was lucky enough to witness was that of Sandie Lee, who played the fabulous Motormouth Maybelle. A role that is filled with such wisdom, love, and perseverance is not to be taken lightly, and Lee let us know that she is up for the task. Maybelle teaches us about why it is so crucial to stand up for what you believe in, even if you have been knocked down time and time before. This character embodies what a struggle it was to be a person of color in the '60s, and she never let that stand in the way of pushing for change. Lee's rendition of the show stopping "I Know Where I've Been" left the audience silent in both amazement and reflection, reminding us of the true struggles people faced in that time and continue to face today. This performance is not one to miss.

Hairspray (Non-Equity)
Nick Cortazzo (left) and company in Hairspray. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

Then there was Link Larkin, a character who reflected one of the more privileged people in that time - but was willing to learn - was performed by the talented Nick Cortazzo. Though at first glance, Link seems like the popular guy who only cares for himself, there's another layer to him that is brought out by Tracy. Cortazzo not only resembled that of a charming crooner, but gave Link the depth that makes him such a great character that we all have a soft spot for. He showed us the character arc as Link first appeared more hesitant, but then grew to learn about how the "unpopular" people lived, and that there was more to life than focusing on what was only good for himself. Cortazzo gave us that perfect balance of a silly teenage boy who was still able to focus on the bigger picture, and truly made us appreciate Link Larkin.

Hairspray (Non-Equity)
Company of Hairspray. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

Having Hairspray be a part of my life for a long time, I was so excited to see this performance, and it certainly did not disappoint. The way such a powerful message is told through such an energetic and lovable show, with such amazing costumes and set design as well, is one of the many things I continue to appreciate about this story. Everyone gave incredible performances, making us both laugh and think about the ways in which we can better society as Tracy has done. It makes you put into perspective how you may have been treating life, as well as how others may be struggling, even when things seem okay. Hairspray emphasizes the many aspects of life that are experienced in all different ways, and it continues to bring relevance to current happenings that may not have been treated with as much importance as they should have been initially.

Hairspray (Non-Equity)
Company of Hairspray. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

I strongly recommend going to see this show for its last couple of performances at Capital One Hall, or try to catch a performance in another city that the tour will be visiting. Even a story created over 30 years ago can teach you something new.

Running time: 2 hours and 30 minutes with one 20-minute intermission.

Hairspray runs through January 22nd, 2023 at Capital One Hall located at 7750 Capital One Tower Rd, Tysons, VA 22102.

For more information about Hairspray on Tour, click here.

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From This Author - Olivia Murray

Olivia is a small-town girl with a large passion for all things theatre. Currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in Business and Entertainment at American University, her writing journ... (read more about this author)

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