“Hairspray” offers great music and choreography
“Welcome to the 60s” as the Orange Community Players presents “Hairspray,” the musical that breaks down social and racial barriers in song and dance.
Brook Doss has put in many long hours building props and sets along with directing this musical extravaganza. Originally spawned from a movie of the same name featuring Ricki Lake as Tracy Turnblad, the larger than average teen that’s main desire was to dance on the Corny Collins show. Devine played her mother, Edna Turnblad.
Since then Edna has always been played by a male, which also includes John Travolta in the recent film remake released just a few years ago. In Doss’ version, Kevin Doss takes the role of Edna. It’s a good choice as Kevin always finds the funny in humorous characters.
As usual, OCP musicals are fun to watch. Some of the main characters have more than one actor playing them. They alternate during the run.
The evening I was there, Skylar Huckaby played Tracy. She gets into the character so much that you actually believe she is Tracy. She will still be portraying Tracy on May 19 and 21. Amber Martin will play Tracy on the other days.
Other notable performances were Daniel Sharpless as Tracy’s love interest, Link Larkin; Paul Burch as Tracy’s father; Jonathan McCollum as Seaweed Stubbs. He alternates with choreographer John Gray between the characters of Seaweed and Duane.
I do not remember seeing Sharpless onstage before. This may be his first appearance on the OCP stage. Hopefully it won’t be his last.
Burch did a great job as the slightly wacky Wilbur that owns a fun shop and encourages Tracy to follow her dreams. He has been a member of the Orange Community Players for many years, but this is his first major roll at the playhouse in a while, although he did play a main character in the story line of the Orange Service League’s 2011 Follies. He has performed in the “Broadway Fun for Funds” series and is also responsible for all the great beehive wigs used in the performance.
McCollum has grown up on the stage with the other young thespians at OCP, but has always been in the background. This is his first major role. He’s doing a great job.
Gray has been on the stage many times in recent years. Even if he isn’t, he always has a major impact on OCPs musicals as one of the groups many choreographers… and there is alwaysgreat choreography.
Doss is proud of all three of the ladies playing Motormouth Maybelle; Natasha Franks-May 15, 20; Kayva Offord-May 19-22; and Chrystina Edwards- May 14, 20. I don’t know which was playing Motormouth at the dress rehearsal I attended, but all three were on stage. The other two were performing in the ensemble.
Also unknown to me was which of the girls was playing Inez that night. She also did a great job. The part is shared by Shalin Hardin-May 14, 19 and 21; and Torren Allison-15, 20 and 22.
Oh, and you can’t forget Janet Bland as the over-the-top villainess, Velma Von Tussel. When she laughed, it was a cackle worthy of the Wicked Witch of the East.
Doss said the finale that night gave her goose bumps and brought tears to her eyes. That’s always a sign of a great show.
For $15 (or $8 if you are a student), you can’t go wrong with an OCP musical. You’ll leave with a smile on your face, a song in your heart and you were probably dancing in your seat. I know I was.
Evening performances are May 19-21, at 7:37 p.m. There are two matinees at 2:37 p.m. – May 15 and 22 at the Orange Community Playhouse, located at 708 W. Division Ave.
For reservations, call 409-882-9137. Tickets may also be purchased at the door.