“Hairspray” Is Outrageous Fun

July 20, 2010

Following is an excerpt of my review of “Hairspray,” at the Cape Playhouse in Dennis through August 7. My full review will appear in the Enterprise on Friday, July 23, but you might not want to wait until then to buy tickets! This is a wonderful show, and, even though the Playhouse is extending its usual two-week schedule to run the show for three weeks, so everyone can attend, you might want to make sure you have your tickets early!

“Hairspray” is big, bold, good-hearted, and full of life, just like its heroine, Tracy Turnblad, the overweight teen who longs to dance on “The Corny Collins Show.” Directed by Mark Martino, with musical direction by Jesse Vargas, and choreography by Denis Jones, the Cape Playhouse production of this popular musical is spectacular in every way: a great plot with quirky characters and witty dialogue; a large cast (28) of talented, professional actors, each ideally suited for his or her role; knockout period costumes, wildly colorful and extravagant, complemented by outrageous bouffant wigs on the women; a zany cartoonish set, with rooms that glide on and off the stage; vibrant choreography; and energizing music from the singers and the nine-person orchestra.

The action takes place in 1962 in Baltimore, Maryland, where pleasantly plump Tracy (Liz Froio) and her best friend, dorky Penny Pingleton (Alex Ellis), live and endure school, racing home afterward to swoon to the “The Corny Collins Show,” a teen music and dance show, similar to “American Bandstand” with Dick Clark. The show is sponsored by Ultra Clutch Hairspray, which the teens use to keep their dos in place.

Tracy auditions for the show and it transforms her life, and the lives of everyone else in Baltimore. The show has one outstanding musical number after another, and the cast is first-rate.

“Hairspray” runs Monday through Saturday at 8 PM, through August 7. There are matinees tomorrow at 4 PM, Wednesdays at 2 PM, and on Thursday, August 5, at 2 PM. Tickets are $39.25 to $79.25. The Cape Playhouse, in anticipation of people loving the show so much they want to see it again, is offering half-price tickets for second-time attendees.

The Cape Playhouse is at 820 Main Street, Route 6A in Dennis. For tickets, call 877-385-3911, or visit www.capeplayhouse.com.

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