Hairspray | The Muny

theat_hairspray.jpgTracy has two dreams: to become a dancer on the program, and to integrate the racially segregated show.






The Muny closes its season this week with a blast with the Broadway hit Hairspray. A tremendous ensemble giving its all combined with witty dialogue and lively songs make for a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Hairspray is a musical version of the 1988 John Waters film of the same name. Tracy Turnblad (an energetic Joline Mujica) is a plump Baltimore teenager in the early 1960s who is addicted to an American Bandstand-like local television show. She has two dreams: to become a dancer on the program, and to integrate the racially segregated show (or, as she puts it, "I wish every day were Negro Day!").

However, much of the audience’s attention is drawn away from Tracy—and the rest of the cast—whenever the over-the-top actor playing her shy, loving and morbidly obese mother is onstage. In various incarnations of the show, Edna Turnblad has been portrayed by Divine, Harvey Fierstein and John Travolta; here, Paul Vogt takes the role. Vogt, best known for his portrayal of Edna Garrett on MadTV and The Rerun Show, is spot-on as Tracy‘s mom with his frumpy look and wide vocal range.

Especially in the first act, Hairspray blows the audience away with nonstop zippy tunes like "The Nicest Kids in Town," "Welcome to the ’60s" and "Run and Tell That." The second act is shorter but no less fun, finishing with the big production number "You Can’t Stop the Beat."

An emotional-and comedic-high point of the show is "Timeless to Me," the romantic ballad between Edna and her husband, Wilbur (Lara Teeter). Wilbur is a yuk-yuk novelty salesman who sees a beautiful woman underneath Edna’s too-big-for the-dress-patterns figure.

The colorful set, bright costumes and high, high hairstyles are Kennedy-administration perfect. And the show’s messages of racial harmony-and fat acceptance-are provided in a sweet package that won’t get your hair in a tizzy. | David Benkof

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