I can’t recall the last time I had so much fun in a theatre seat. The 2.5 hours I spent yesterday at Marriott Theatre‘s opening night of Hairspray ranks among the top.
This is one of those shows that has zero down time — it’s up and off from the beginning, with nearly every other line laugh-worthy. (The middle-aged guy next to me thought so, too. He possessed one of the most OBNOXIOUS and LOUD laughs I’ve ever heard, with nearly every. single. line. tagged with his bellowing. And he had a press kit. I’m curious as to who this attention-grasping guffawer is…)
But those songs! Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman have a lot to live up to in their perpetually delayed new musical, Catch Me If You Can. Their work in Hairspray is perfection.
I’m reviewing the show for EDGE, so full thoughts and details to come. Suffice it to say, E. Faye Butler (Motormouth) and Hollis Resnik (Velma Von Tussle) steal the show. They are *S*T*A*R*S* and know how to work it. Ross Lehman is still fitting into Edna Turnblad’s padded bra, pumps and Pucci print, but I’m sure he’ll be great with a few more performances under his belt. Marissa Perry as hair-hopper Tracy is radiant and spunky — nearly all you could ask for. Heidi Kettenring may be a bit mature for awkward Penny Pingleton, but she wins you over nevertheless. The only minor misstep is Johanna McKenzie Miller as snotty Amber. She’s simply miscast (and quite literally 20 years too old), but not in such a way that drags down anything. The show’s a joy from beginning to end.
Marriott has another hit on their hands.
A side note: Jamie and I were surprised at the number of typos in the actors’ bios. I’m talking mostly to you, Johanna McKenzie Miller (Chicago Shakespeaer (sic) Theatre; Julie Jordan/Jordon) and Ms. Resnik (Sweeny/Sweeney Todd). And that’s just a sample. I know I’m not error-free in my everyday writing by any means, but these bios represent you as a professional, so let’s step it up a bit, k?
Hairspray plays at Marriott Theatre to December 6 — though I have a hunch it will extend. More info here.