By: Emma Wilson
This year’s musical Hairspray was more than astounding. From the sets to the costumes, Hairspray had it all.
Hairspray begins in Tracy Turnblad’s bedroom with the opening song, “Good Morning Baltimore,” and we quickly learn that the time period is set in the 60s due to the accurate fashion style. We then move onto the Corny Collins Show hosted by Corny, played by Jonah Crandall, which everyone watches according to Velma Von Tussle, played by Mina Labudovic.
We then discover Turnblad’s dream to dance. Soon after, Tracy, played by Jessie Rathbun, is stuck in detention for the umpteenth time, meets Seaweed,played by Edwin Harris, and the other students. They encourage her to audition for The Corny Collins Show, and this soon starts her mission to make every day “Negro day.” In the end, Tracy ends up with the hearthrob Link Larkin, played by Ethan Snapp, and makes racial integration the new frontier.
Being apart of the props team behind the scenes, I was able to watch the house of the Turnblad’s as well as The Corny Collins Show come alive. The colors and aesthetic of the sets really brought me back to the era. The set really embodied what made the 60s, the 60s, such as Penny Pingleton’s go-go boots, and PVC skirt, which really encompassed the character’s personality. Kaori Harrison as Penny was personally my favorite character. Let me just say that the hair was exactly the 60s hairstyle. Despite most of them being wigs, the hair was teased as high as possible, and it was a rat’s nest in the best way possible.
The city of Baltimore came to life on stage, and it felt as if I was actually watching the story of segregation unfold in real life. Motormouth was a significant part of the entire play. Chipo Muchineripi did a spectacular job of fully becoming Motormouth, and all the character embodies through her soulful voice and mother-like acting. Chipo was just… wow! That’s all I can say… wow!
For those of you who saw the show, you saw the protest scene. The protesters with their signs and marching throughout the audience really drove home the message of racism in the 60s. The amount of racism throughout the show, of course, did not reflect any of the students’ ideals, but the characters demonstrated those ideals perfectly, “Cooties” which was sung specifically for Tracy by Amber-played by Grace Dotson- which showed the rigid relationship they had with one another.
Many scenes were surprising to say the least. Micah Oren, and the cross-dressing he did to become Edna were such hilarious scenes throughout the whole show, including some iconic moments. His line, “Hold Mama’s waffles!” had everyone dying of laughter, and I even heard a couple of “ooh’s” from the audience.
I also have to mention “Timeless,” performed by Jake Rogers as Wilbur Turnblad and Micah while I'm not a huge fan of the song, Micah and Jake really captured the intimacy throughout the song. I am definitely not the only one who thought they would kiss, and I genuinely wish they would have. I think it would have been the cherry on top for the scene. Shout out to all the actors apart of it, because let me tell you, the cast was filled with such hardworking and ambitious people.
From an audience perspective, the show seemed like there was so much effort put into it. and trust me, from my part on props crew, I can say, with full confidence, there was so so so so sooooo much dedication, time, blood, sweat, and tears put into this production. There were countless mental breakdowns, but it’s because we do what we love. Once again, huge applause and a standing ovation to the theater production and everyone who helped with it.