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broadwayguy2 Profile
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Registered: 07-2007
Posts: 191
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BG2's closing day experience


First, let me say that I absolutely loathe sounding like anything resembling a Renthead, and I constantly found myself second guessing almost everything I was feeling closing day because those peopole seem to give anyone who loves a show a bad name by default.. and the fact that I was raised by a Catholic parent certainly didn't help in avoiding guilty feeling about being such a hot mess. Truth be told, it has taken me til now to really be able to start formulating my thoughts and feeling about the final performance.

Over the past six and a half years, I can not tell you how many memories I have made will cherish through this show. How many friends I have made, by best friend included, or how many incredible people I have discovered in general through the show.

Hairspray truly is a show that brings people together.. even with the heavier message of the show, the sheer joy and happiness of the show and the brilliant production can't help but put a smile on your face and leave you feeling happy and lifted in a way that not a lot of shows can. The explosion of "You Can't Stop The Beat" alone will bring you out of a funk and a bad day, let alone what the rest of the production could do.

I always appreciated that no matter how many times anyone saw the show, there would always be something new to discover that you hadn't noticed before. From the book to the score to the design to the direction, one of my favorite tidbits were the references and inside jokes to so many shows of yesteryear. From the obvious nods to Gypsy, you could spot pokes at Do-Re-Mi, Chicago and Dreamgirls (and no, I don't mean The Dynamites), among many others. Something I could always appreciate was how Jack O'Brien gave the show a production that never once felt stale or old-fashioned, while still being completely old-fashioned, staying true to the Broadway of years ago with the full stage - in one - full stage style of direction and design that was common, and neccessary, in 1962. Hairspray would be sneaking in a mini Broadway hostory lesson without most of the audience even knowing!

During the final performance, I found myself reminiscing and missing the things that I remember from when the show first opened that have since disappeared - a large number of costumes, a few spotlights, the commitment and dedication of an actor or two - and wishing that a few former cast members were on the stage in place of their current counterpart, but overall, I am more than happy to have Sunday's performance as my final memory of the Original Broadway Production of Hairspray.


Now, onto the final day closing performance..

Even though I had my final performance tickets since they day that the final show was set, I very much wanted to attempt the final lottery, if not to win, but at least to do it one last time. I didn't expect to win, and naturally, I didn't, but I was happy to know I'd be parked in the rear of the orchestra, surrounded by company members past and present and able to survey the full picture of the show one final time, and the love and madness of the people who came for one last goodbye.

I felt guilty for it, but at the lottery, I couldn't help look around in jaded resentment. Hairspray wasn't closing because it was limping along and losing money (I know that for a fact), but where were all the people the last few years when lottery was a piece of cake and the back of the mezzanine was empty? And why couldn't those ambulance chasers saying how the didn't love the show but like going to closings pick one of the other closing performances of the day?

Rounding the corner from 8th Ave onto 52nd St after lunch, I started getting chocked up (for the umpteeth time that day already) at the site of the crowd and the flashes outside. It was like entering the Twilight Zone seeing people I hadn't seen in years and who still looked the same standing side by side with former Little Inez's who were now a foot taller and all grown up. Bizzare. The energy inside the Simon was beyond electric. Even before the show started, there was crying, but no actual sadness. It was a John Waters High School reunion of the Class of 1962 and the crowd was catching up with long lost friends and life long best buddies while waiting for the Prom Queen to make her entrance, and what an entrance it was!

Fashionably late (about 10 to 15 minutes so), she rolled into that room like it was the still the first time and took it by STORM! The lights started to fade and Clarke Thorell's voice began the distincive pre show announcement as the roar grew to deafening levels and didn't let up. It just grew and grew.. and the lights went to black, the lights hit Marissa.. as the lights came up on the ensemble in shadow.. until well after the curtain rose on the Baltimore Line and Tracy was left alone with the council girls, the screams just wouldn't stop. Even the rats on the street were greeted with raucous entrance applause!

Every joke flew so far they hit Jersey, every song rocked so hard it's a wonder it didn't register on the Richter Scale, and the screams could have been heard in Baltimore! Hairspray met a midnight showing of Rocky Horror by way of a double billed Elvis - Beattles concert.

It's hard for me to formula and recall every beat of the show, so the best I can do is provide a, hopefully, lucid list of highlights.

~ A standing ovation after "Good Morning, Baltimore"
~ Roars for Clarke Thorell's entrance, the Council Member roll call, and deafening thunder for Harvey's entrance before you could even see him. The applause after "Nicest Kids" was so long, Clarke started to vamp and cry.
~ During the into the Madison, the audience, led by a crowd of original cast, joined in with the Corny Collins call backs... and again during Motormouth's introduction.
~ Constantine Rousouli's "It Takes Two." I don't say this often, but Connie is hands down the best Link I have ever seen.
~ "Welcome to the 60s" is always a show stopper, but the girls blew it out of the water for the final time. Particularly Iris Burruss... wow.
~ Susan Mosher's well endowed Gym Teacher and Constantine Rousouli in orange gym shorts.
~ Collective "awww's" when the Har-De-Har Hut malfunctioned, and the entire brilliance of "Timeless To Me"
~ Charlo Crossley's "I Know Where I've Been." Wow. Moments like that are rare. With all the crying, it wasn't the most powerhouse I have seen her do verbally, but the pure energy, drive, passion, and realization washing across the stage and the house that night. Not a dry eye was left, and Charlo led the masses through what was, by far, the most difficult part of the show for anyone to get through that day. The extended standing ovation was well earned.
~ "You Can't Stop The Beat." Even at closing, you can't stop it. It grew and grew. The energy was buildingand you weren't going to be able to contain it. The picture taking throughout the show was constant, but during "Beat", it was undying. Between the stage and the flashes, the entire theatre was almost glowing. What started as screaming and clapping along grew into literal dancing and a celebration of 6 and a half years, numerous North American companies, and hundreds of alumni in the room physically and only in spirit.

~ Curtain Call. The swings and standbys.. the chaos of people flooding in from every direction and squeezing in, dancing, singing (un-micd, of course), crying and hugging. You almost couldn't tell where the stage ended and the house began.. everyone was on their feet, everyone was singing and dancing, holding cameras aloft, and soaking in the last memory. Jerry Mitchell down front and center leading everyone in one last refrain of "Beat" as hundreds of people embraced, cried, remembered 2,300 performances and watched the iconic curtain descend one last time.


Thank you John, Marc, Scott, Tom, Mark, Jack, Jerry, Margo, Harvey, Marissa, Adam E, Adam F, and the hundreds upon hundreds of people who created and sheparded Patterson Park High for so long. See you at the next one.
1/6/2009, 3:19 pm Link to this post email   pm
 
With0utL0V3 Profile
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Registered: 12-2007
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Re: BG2's closing day experience


Thank you so much.
That was the best, most touching review I have read of the final show. It nearly had me in tears. I'm sort of at a loss for words, but I'll comment again later.

 emoticon

---
- Connor
1/6/2009, 4:20 pm Link to this post email   pm
 
Dmrockon09 Profile
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Registered: 12-2007
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Re: BG2's closing day experience


Wow, that made me quite emotional. Thank you for that review. It brought back memories of the old days, and I thank you for that.

---
Set by Emma. On WoO.
1/6/2009, 5:35 pm Link to this post email   pm
 
broadwayguy2 Profile
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Registered: 07-2007
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Re: BG2's closing day experience


Thank you, guys. If only I could tell you how many terars I shed on Sunday.. I will continue to comment more as I am able to.. I am still getting it all together in my head..
1/6/2009, 5:40 pm Link to this post email   pm
 
MissBaltimoreCrabs Profile
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Registered: 09-2007
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Re: BG2's closing day experience


that did make me emotional too. from your perspective everything just sounds so overwhelming!

---
I AM NOW A CHECKERBOARD CHICK!!!
1/6/2009, 10:11 pm Link to this post email   pm
 
broadwayguy2 Profile
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Re: BG2's closing day experience


It was. I was misty eyed and weepeing the entire time. I only REALLY cried during Good Morning, Baltimore and It Takes Two.. until I lost all composure during I Know Where I've Been.
1/7/2009, 2:21 am Link to this post email   pm
 
missteenagehairspray62 Profile
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Re: BG2's closing day experience


It's been a week already, and this post still made me emotional...

And thanks for the highlights!!
1/9/2009, 3:56 am Link to this post email   pm
 
hairspraydude1962 Profile
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Registered: 11-2008
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Re: BG2's closing day experience


Great review. Thanks for sharing your experience.
1/10/2009, 11:09 pm Link to this post email   pm
 
With0utL0V3 Profile
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Re: BG2's closing day experience


Okay. Constantine and Charlo sound fantastic in their respective roles.
Adam Fleming was amazing in Wicked when I saw him in Chicago.

How did you enjoy Niki Scalera?

---
- Connor
1/11/2009, 1:35 pm Link to this post email   pm
 
broadwayguy2 Profile
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Re: BG2's closing day experience


I saw Constantine as Link when he FIRST started with the tour back in 2006 and loved him then. It's amazing to see how he has grown with Link and how much he genuinely loved being in the show until the very end. He was never bored of it.

Charlo is the same.. she did the entire run of the 1st National Tour and she always has so much soul and sass behind her Motormouth..

I really enjoyed Niki as Penny. If I had any issue with her performance, it would be that Penny's type of goofiness is naturally "Niki". Having much exposure to her in other ways, I have always viewed Niki as a 'classy girl with a great sense of humor'. A particular character (those who know will agree) is a RIOT and she disappears so completely into it that if you didn't KNOW it was her, you'd have no clue. So, I always felt a disconnect watching her as nerdy Penny for some reason. I don't have that problem often. Truth be told, I would be very curious to see her take on Velma!
1/12/2009, 2:42 pm Link to this post email   pm
 


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