Review submitted by Zoe Le Menestrel of McLean High School.
Superficiality and ignorance abound in Baltimore, Maryland circa 1960, but lion-hearted Tracy Turblad, whose sense of social justice surpasses the height of her heavily lacquered hair, is prepared to turn the tide. Diving straight through the taunts about her large physique, she uses her prowess and courage to break the cycle of racially-charged hatred that had been spinning on American soil since Coulumbus landed. Thomas S. Wootton High School delivered their charming take on the hit musical Hairspray through an aerosol cloud of incredible vocal talent, captivating characters and an overall delightful evening.
Originally a 1988 John Waters film, Hairspray was brought to the stage in 2002 where it went on to receive eight Tony Awards and culminate in more than 2,500 performances. With music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman and book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, Hairspray centers around Tracys dreams of appearing on the popular TV dance program, The Corny Collins Show. She wins the role despite the protests of the venomous Amber Von Tussle and in doing so wins the affections of teen heart throb, Link Larkin. Using her new-found celebrity status, she starts a campaign to integrate the show which illustrates the musicals most important message: acceptance.
Filling the auditorium with her unabashed vocals, Corrieanne Stein (Tracy) led the show with aplomb. From her optimistic “Good Morning Baltimore” to her lovesick “I Can Hear the Bells,” Stein portrayed the unstoppable ambitions of a girl who knows what she wants admirably. Grooving his way into Tracys life, Wyatt Oring in the role of Link Larkin embodied Elvis Presley with his suave physicality, crooning ballads and fantastic dance moves. Together Oring and Stein created credible chemistry which made for many moving moments.
As Tracys loyal best friend, Penny Pingleton, Julia Fanzeres was utterly dedicated to her characters adorable dorkiness with hilarious results. Her perfect comic timing combined with her superb, tuneful voice made her a crowd favorite. Together with Seaweed (Myles Frost), their hormonally charged interactions proved that true love has no boundaries. As the antagonist of the production, Amber Von Tussle (Jackie Kempa) was enchantingly evil. Through her snide remarks and impressive dance moves she was an entertaining facet of the evening. As Tracys loving parents, Edna Turblad (Jeffery Morse) and Wilbur Turblad made for lots of hilarity due to Morses ability to aptly morph into the opposite sex. Their enjoyable duet, “Youre Timeless to Me,” provided insight into a happily married couples life. Finally, in a performance that defies the capacity of the English language; vocal powerhouse Aaliyah Dixon in the role of Motormouth Maybelle was breathtaking. Her voice soared to phenomenal heights in the tearjerker, “I Know Where I’ve Been” drawing the audience to roaring applause.
Woottons vibrant lights and moving orchestra lifted the production even higher. The candy-colored gobos and dancing follow spots utilized evoked the poppy, animated feel of the 60s entertainment industry. The dulcet tones of the Wootton High School Pit Orchestra made up for performers who occasionally dragged in pace with their explosive energy and enthusiasm.
Hairspray is a show for the masses but Thomas S. Wootton High School succeeded in touching the audience on a personal level with their inspiring performance.
The performance reviewed was from Saturday, 3/29/2014.
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