through June 4, 2023
Hairspray was about a chubby young lady from Baltimore who wants to get onto a TV competition. Most likely we don’t recall the tunes until we hear the first few bars again, and maybe we didn’t think how this show dealt with the days of segregation in Baltimore and elsewhere. I lived in Baltimore in the late 50’s and when they mention certain streets and areas so much pops up in what’s left of my mind. Of course, like Atlanta, Baltimore has been very much rebuilt; and like Atlanta, certain things which we might have thought had been erased from our society, still quietly lie under, yet to be fully eradicated. So this one really resonates with the audience.
Tracy Turnblad (Niki Metcalf) is the chubby young lass who wants to get on the local TV show hosted by Link Larkin (Skyler Shields). Tracy’s parents fear she will become the object of public embarrassment and they want to dissuade her from her dreams. Andrew Levitt is a hoot as her mother Edna, and Ralph Daniel is the somewhat wimpish father, Wilbur.
The story deals with two problems. One is the egocentric Velma (Addison Garner) who figures she must be crowned as Miss Baltimore, and she has the money and the contacts to ensure that. Maybe today she could have run for office. And another problem is racial division. Whites and blacks didn’t mix much in Baltimore in those days and the neighborhoods were pretty much segregated.
Matt Lenz directed this superb cast of more than 30 players, and the live orchestra is under the baton of Julius LaFlamme. The costumes and all the production values are a real hit. You will feel as it you are right there in the TV studio as the beat goes on. I guess the bottom line is that it just can’t get no better. Unless they had some Baltimore crab cakes
If you snooze, you lose; so get up and get going to the Fox Theatre. More info and tickets at FoxTheatre.org