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Rita Kohn
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Hairspray in Concert is Big, Bold and Bountiful

by Rita Kohn
January 11, 2013
Hilbert Circle Theatre
45 Monument Circle
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317)231-6798

The Palladium at The Center for the Performing Arts
355 City Center Drive
Carmel, IN 46032
(317)843-3800
This review was originally published in NUVO Newsweekly, Indianapolis, IN.

Rita Kohn is a member of the Board of the Dance Critics Association.
Definitely big, bold and bountiful the ISO/Baltimore Symphony Orchestra production of Hairspray in Concert is a winning combination of excellent musical arranging, playing, singing, dancing, production values and a spirited commentary by the film's originator, John Waters.

Although most of the audience appeared to have had clearly seen the original 1988 film, 2002 Broadway musical, 2007 movie musical and/or listened to the sountrack, one could have been completely unfamiliar with Hairspray and still have followed its storyline as presented.

Hairspray is a brassy look at the 1960s when a new generation was leading the way toward a unifying understanding of opportunity in the U.S.A. While Waters' approach to history was through the rear-view mirror, his social commentary was a jibe at 1980s complacency with de facto segregation that was far too prevalent.

The musical Hairspray at the turn of the 21st century serves as a reminder of how far we have come and how much is still left to do.

In this production Marissa Perry as Tracy Turnblad is a believably high-spirited teen whose dreams for herself and for social justice sweeps others into believing what it takes to make positive things happen.

Nick Adams is an endearing Link Larkin, Marcus Terell is captivating as Seaweed J. Stubbs, Julie Kavanagh transforms beautifully as Penny Pengleton, Jaylan Fisher sparks as Little Inez, NaTasha Yvette Williams commands as Motormouth Maybelle and Beth Leavel imbues Velma von Tussle with perfectly self-righteous bigotry.

It's Paul Vogt as Edna Turnblad and Micky Dolenz as Wilbur Turnblad however who stop the show with "(You're) Timeless to Me," an endearing display of showmanship conveying what really matters — love as a family value that spills over into the larger world.

The large cast included other featured actors, nine regulars from ISO's Yuletide Celebration and students from North Central High School and Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School. The choreography by Jennifer Ladner sparkled as did the lighting by Laura Glover.
(L-R)Natasha Yvette Williams, Pal Vogt and Micky Dolenz and Marissa Perry

(L-R)Natasha Yvette Williams, Pal Vogt and Micky Dolenz and Marissa Perry

Photo © & courtesy of Tom Russo


Rhiannon Hansen and ensemble

Rhiannon Hansen and ensemble

Photo © & courtesy of Tom Russo


Nick Adams and Marissa Perry.

Nick Adams and Marissa Perry.

Photo © & courtesy of Tom Russo


Paul Vogt and Micky Dolenz as Edna and Wilbur Turnblad.

Paul Vogt and Micky Dolenz as Edna and Wilbur Turnblad.

Photo © & courtesy of Tom Russo

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