In the glow of the computer screen, sitting in the pre-dawn dark, sipping coffee gathering thoughts on the last few days…Paramount’s Hairspray opened Saturday night! Though paused for a glitch, the enormity of the celebration of how our heroine Tracy Turnblad wins her battle for interracial harmony on a 60’s teenage TV show dance-off, charged the crowd with a warmth and glow that brought them to their feet and kept us floating on a cloud all night in a kind of Broadway musical heaven! There is an ecstatic electricity particular to Press Opening, the frenzy of cheers, congratulations and joyful recognition of achievement that brings everyone together in the theater. I could feel, identify, in this packed house at Hairspray, a shared acknowledgement from everyone that we are one race, a noble race, a human race. I felt Hope.
The impassioned direction of Amber Mak, her devotion to and love for every element in the telling of this story is matched by her technically dazzling dances in perpetual motion that swing and rock and groove to the sounds of our superb big band orchestra led by Tom Vendafreddo. Under Vendafreddo’s musical direction, the singing in the show is peerless whether it’s the commercial pop stylings on “The Corny Collin’s Show,” Doo-Wop, R&B, The Madison, Motown or a lilting soft shoe love ballad, the voices and musicians soar powerfully also thanks to Adam Rosenthal’s sound design. And enough cannot be said for the eye-popping, jaw dropping, set design by Linda Buchanan, costume design by Theresa Ham and lighting design by Greg Hofmann that light up every square inch of the Paramount stage to mind-blowing effect, I swear! What Props Director Sarah Ross can do with a can of hairspray is a wonder, and lets just take a moment to marvel at Katie Cordts wig design, folks, of over 60 wigs! Stage Managers Jinni Pike and Nora Mally and our backstage crew gracefully keep us on course above and beyond the call of duty, and for this we are ever grateful!
Michael Stanfill’s media design has created a world of 1960’s black and white television commercials for two stacks of giant TV sets to warm up the crowd so expertly everyone is talking about them! And here is praise and gratitude for our cast, this top notch company of actors, singers and dancers, stars all of them led by Amelia Jo Parish, Michael Kingston and E. Faye Butler. You will take great pride in the performance of each and every individual on that stage giving the telling of this story everything they’ve got. You and I and these actors are all very lucky to be here together under one roof. So come join in this dance and here’s to a great run! “Now run and tell that!”
Love & thanks,