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By Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal
Special to The Village News 

Hello Baltimore!

 

Last updated 8/24/2018 at 1:54pm

Mark Holmes

Tracy (Bethany Slomka) and Edna Turnblad (John Massey) posing for their ad for Mr. Pinky's dress shop.

"Hairspray, The Broadway Musical" is about every-girl who dreams of being the popular one that goes steady with the cutest boy in town.

Set in Baltimore, Maryland, it's 1962, as Tracy Turnblad (Bethany Slomka) awakens to embrace a new day. Singing the tribute song to her city, Slomka's big voice was marred by an over-amplified sound system that drowned out the words. Fortunately, it was quickly corrected for the duration of the show.

Her best friend, Penny Pingleton (Emma Nossal) is in awe of her pal's ambitions and cannot imagine what might happen should Tracy succeed in joining the cast of their favorite television dance show hosted by Corny Collins (Zackary Scot Wolfe). Wolfe finally gets a chance to show his talent and played his character to the hilt.

Meanwhile, as Penny, Emma Nossal sparkled every time she made an appearance. And poor Bethany Slomka while saddled with ill-fitting costumes and bad hair, still tried her hardest and played her heart out.

Exceptional performances were turned in by John Massey as the diva Edna Turnblad. I adored him as he swung in and out of his sotto whiskey voice before breaking into song with husband Wilbur (Steve Gunderson) as they tripped the light fantastic during a set change.

Next up to be praised is Ebony Muse as Motormouth Maybelle. This woman brings it on! Never leaving anything behind, she has the chops to hit the back wall without a mic. Like everything else I've seen her in, Ebony Muse is vocal perfection and filled with charisma.

As her son, Seaweed J. Stubbs, Kenneth Mosley plays the part perfectly. He also offers outstanding bits of singing and dancing throughout. He is another new face for San Diego theatre.

Playing his kid sister is 15-year-old Janae Parson, a local tenth grader from San Diego's School of Performing Arts. She rocked her part with her singing, dancing and proved she's got acting chops as well.

Featured dancers on the daily Corny Collins dance show include Amber Von Tussle (Lauren King Thompson) and beau, Link Larkin (Nick Eiter). While Amber is set on being Miss Hairspray with Link as her escort, her darling mother Velma the show's producer (Eileen Bowman) mugs her way into our hearts. Bowman is glamorous and drop-dead funny at the same time.

Three gals that were costumed superbly throughout as they played various roles are Taylor Henderson, Marisa Moenho and Renata Moenho. They are all listed as playing the role of Dynamite. Which must be a girl singing trio since at one time they all wore red sequined dresses.

Stepping in as Gilbert at this performance is Zy'hemm "Z" Downey usually played by Andra Caston. Other ensemble players include Debra Wanger as a bunch of odd characters, Madeline Edwards played Tammy, Kiara Geolina is Lorraine, Kyle Leatherbury is Duane, Dylan Nalbandian is Fender, Joy Newbegin is Shelley, Dallas Perry is Sketch, Susanna Vaughan is Brenda and Austin Wright plays Brad. Integral parts that complete the show's cast.

Dear Mr. Lapp, because as the director you are responsible for every aspect of the show, you are to blame for allowing the stars to be so poorly dressed in your production of "Hairspray".

Ms. Pitcher must have hired a high school Home Ec. class to sew the costumes for the leading ladies. I for one, am very distressed about it! Did not anyone notice that Lane Bryant has served the world of big girls for decades? All three ladies deserved better.

And then the wigs. Gawd they are either over-done, tired or limp. Sometimes all three on one little head. For shame.

What is really good is the music conducted by Anderson Orbison on keyboard along with his outstanding band of musicians.

Mark Holmes

Cast members of Hairspray, The Broadway Musical now playing at San Diego Musical Theatre at The Horton Grand Theatre.

Here is the thing about a live performance. Like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get. This show is filled with amazing artists who can act, sing and dance. Triple threats each and every one of them.

Next season begins with "Crazy for You," "Sister Act," "All Shook Up," and "Man of La Mancha". San Diego Musical theatre will host "Young Frankenstein" starting September 28 – October 28, 2018.

Do not hesitate to see this show, it only plays until September 2 at the Horton Grand Theatre at 444 4th Street in downtown San Diego. Parking is purchased off their website for only $8.00 and it is just across the street in the Ace Parking garage.

Performances run Wednesday-Sundays and should not be missed. Box Office is open odd hours (858) 560-5740. Or visit http://www.sdmt.org. Rated 8.75 out of 10 for this performance.

The writer may be contacted at eyoungman@reedermedia.com

 

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