“Hairspray” is an upbeat ball of fun, bursting with good sounds and exceptional acting.
It has a solid musical score boasting a harmonious blend of 1960s Apollo Theater-style rhythm and blues stirred with sock-hop rock ‘n’ roll, swing, soul and lounge music.
In Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre’s performance, Lindsey Hedberg perfectly portrays the main character, Tracy Turnblad, a kindhearted teenager who vies for the opportunity to get on The Corny Collins Show, a 1960s Baltimore TV dance program, and later attempts to integrate the show. Hedberg’s interpretation is smooth, and her voice seems to float on air, most apparent in the songs “I Can Hear the Bells,” “Good Morning Baltimore (Reprise)” and “You Can’t Stop the Beat.”
Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre artistic director Roger Welch delivers a stunning Edna Turnblad – graceful, glamorous, congenial and reminiscent of a brunette, plus-size Lucille Ball. He dazzles in the musical numbers “Welcome to the ’60s,” “You Can’t Stop the Beat” and in his duet “You’re Timeless to Me” with Patrick Treadway (as Wilbur Turnblad).
Other noteworthy performances include Gabe Lawson as Seaweed J. Stubbs, Kasey Nusbickel as Tracy Turnblad’s BFF, Penny Pingleton, Krista Kubicek as the ever-so-vindictive Velma Von Tussle and Deidra Grace’s (Motormouth Maybelle) sweet-as-honey rendition of “Big, Blonde and Beautiful” as well as in the ballad “I Know Where I’ve Been.”
The ensemble performance of “Welcome to the ’60s” is especially memorable. The number, which takes place at the popular plus-size clothing store Mr. Pinky’s Hefty Hideaway, features a lively, Supremes-like sound and an endless array of bubble-gum pink costumes and props. “Run and Tell That!” is another dynamic number, performed by Seaweed and the Detention Kids, offering a Motown-style song and James Brown-inspired dance moves.
The production is visually stimulating, blooming with bouffant hairdos, pastel party dresses, old-school P.E. uniforms and culottes and, in certain scenes, a playful, mod-style set complemented by shadow dancers in “Laugh-In”-style geometric boxes.
Under the direction of Kirk Mouser and musical direction of Max Mendez, the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre delivers a notable production of the multiple Tony Award-winning Broadway hit that is every bit as entertaining as its 1988 and 2007 film versions.