Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Show Palace Dinner Theatre's "Hairspray" tops the charts

Sara DelBeato plays Tracy Turnblad in Show Palace Dinner Theatre’s Hairspray.

Courtesy of Scott Daniel

Sara DelBeato plays Tracy Turnblad in Show Palace Dinner Theatre’s Hairspray.

OMG. I am sooooo thankful I've already bought my ticket to go see the musical Hairspray a second time later this month. After the full house at Friday's opening night show starts spreading the word that this is the most terrific musical the Show Palace Dinner Theatre has ever done, those tickets are going to become as scarce as hen's teeth.

Hairspray has the pizzazz of Chicago, the heart of Showboat and the daring of La Cage aux Folles. The stage show even outdoes the John Travolta movie (which I love), because it's bolder, bawdier, edgier, and just plain ol' more fun.

Somehow, live actors, feeding off the audience's energy and responding to the audience's enthusiasm are almost always better than any film could be. This is doubly so with the incredible Show Palace cast — the incomparable Matthew McGee cross-dressing as the corpulent mama, Edna Turnblad, Sara DelBeato as the equally girth-challenged Tracy Turnblad, the adorable Scott Daniel as the adorable heartthrob Link Larkin, Steve Garland as Edna's worshipful hubby Wilbur and Nathalie Hostin as the black and proud Motormouth Maybelle — and that's just a start.

Kudos up front to the beautiful Gabrielle Mirabella, who severely sprained her ankle the last night of rehearsal, but taped it up and used a walking cane to enhance her characterization of the imperious Velma Von Tussle, the tyrant who rules over the Corny Collins Show, the Baltimore version of American Bandstand. She's a show-stopper who wouldn't let anything stop her.

Hairspray is set in 1962, just as the Civil Rights Movement was gathering steam. One of Tracy's two desires in life is to be on the Corny Collins Show, the other to hook up with the show's sublime, but cocky dancer-singer, Link Larkin. When Tracy meets the tall, handsome Seaweed J. Stubbs (the tall, handsome Jesse Smith) in detention hall, she learns the dances she needs to catch both Link's eye and Corny's. In gratitude — and just because she thinks it's the right thing to happen — Tracy vows to integrate the Corny Collins Show.

Her best gal pal Penny Pingleton (a sprightly Lindsay Nantz) is on board with her, mostly because she is smitten by Seaweed.

Penny's mom (a terrific Jorie Janeway, who does multiple roles equally well) is horrified that her darling daughter is cavorting with a "colored boy." But Edna, whose mom was a Suffragette, and Wilbur, who's just a good guy, support Tracy and her cause, no matter what.

That leads to all kinds of trouble, but also some out-of-this-world production numbers that are more than for looks. Listen carefully to every word of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman's lyrics and Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan's script, because every single word means something important.

The 1960s allusions are also worth noting. Example: when Edna surveys her bod and remarks she is "like a half-filled book of Green Stamps — beyond redemption."

Take time to notice each cast member beyond the up-fronts: teenager Ilexis Holmes as the captivating Little Inez (when she winds up on Broadway, you can brag you saw her when she was just a kid), Maybelle's little girl; Robert Teasdale as the forward-thinking Corny Collins; Lizzy Nolen as the petulant and spoiled Amber Von Tussle; Troy Lafon doing a great job in numerous roles, most outrageous, the tubby Mr. Pinky; the trio of Ayana Major Bey, Heather DiBianco and Martina Sykes, who live up to their names, the Dynamites; and singer-dancers Trey Chavis as Gilbert, Timothy O'Neal Springs as Duane; Michelle Alagna as Brenda; Matthew Glover as Brad; Megan Morgan as Lou Ann; Ryan Naimy as IQ; Bobby Picker as Fender; and Janie Wallace as Tammy.

The award-winning Tom Hansen's sets and lights should earn him another award; Susan Haldeman's management of the stage is right on; and William Garon's sound tracks are note-perfect. The new soundboard gave a few problems, especially during Ms. Hostin's big number I Know Where I've Been, but her powerful voice carried the day anyway.

Pulling it all together was multi-talented director/choreographer David Rossetti,.

If you see only one show this year, make it the Show Palace's version of Hairspray.

If you go

Hairspray, a musical in two acts, matinees and evenings through Feb. 26 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre, 16128 U.S. 19, Hudson. For adults, dinner and show, $49.50, show only, $38.45, plus tax and tip; for ages 12 and younger, $24.95 and $19.95. Call (727) 863-7949 in west Pasco; toll-free at 1-888-655-7469.

Show Palace Dinner Theatre's "Hairspray" tops the charts 01/07/12 [Last modified: Saturday, January 7, 2012 4:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Police: Boy, 12, burglarized Melrose Elementary during Hurricane Irma

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — A 12-year-old boy is facing a felony charge after police say he burglarized Melrose Elementary while the school was closed for Hurricane Irma.

    Melrose Elementary at 1752 13th Ave. S in St. Petersburg was burglarized while the school was closed for Hurricane Irma. A 12-year-old boy has been charged, police said. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  2. How Jameis Winston's turnovers doomed the Bucs again

    Bucs

    The Bucs' rise or fall is based on the play of quarterback Jameis Winston. His failure to take care of the football was arguably the biggest factor in their 34-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings Sunday.

    Jameis Winston has turned the football over 25 times in 17 road games. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
  3. Wrenching photos show hurricane battered Puerto Rico on brink of crisis

    Hurricanes

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — As life in Puerto Rico grinds on nearly a week after Hurricane Maria knocked out all the power, most of the water and left people waiting in excruciating lines for fuel, Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló said the island was on the brink of a "humanitarian crisis" and it was up to Congress to …

    Residents bathe in a natural spring in the hill town of Toa Alta, Puerto Rica, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. As life in Puerto Rico grinds on nearly a week after the Category 4 storm knocked out all the power, most of the water and left people waiting in excruciating lines for fuel, Gov. Ricardo Rossello said Monday that the island was on the brink of a "humanitarian crisis." [Victor J. Blue | New York Times]
  4. New 'Game of Thrones' concert experience coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

    Blogs

    More music is coming.

    A new, live Game of Thrones concert experience is coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa on Sept. 21, 2018, the venue announced today. That may seem like a long way off, but with no new season on HBO's immediate horizon, that's probably the next taste of Game of Thrones you're going to get for a …

  5. Epilogue: Lavish yet humble, Stu Arnold built Auto Trader empire

    Human Interest

    From his living room table, Stuart Arnold pasted Polaroid photos and typewritten ads onto pages that became the Auto Trader magazine.

    Stuart Arnold, 82, was the founder of the Auto-Trader magazine, which grew to become one of the largest classified magazines in the country. He died Sept. 11, 2017.