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hairspraydude1962 Profile
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Registered: 11-2008
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Pittsburgh CLO's Production of Hairspray (July 22, 2010)

I got to see the show last Thursday, so I thought I'd post a review.

The show was just as incredible as it has been, and, I have to say, this is probably the best collective cast I've ever seen! Everybody was phenomenal.

Before the show opened, I was obsessing over whether they would use the Broadway staging. There were photos posted by the CLO on opening night. They were using the same costumes and sets. A video was posted the morning I saw the show, and I found out they were using different direction and choreography, which I was excited to see (since I've never seen any different).

I got to the theatre later than I wanted, but it worked out, because I didn't have to wait around as long for the show to start. I had excellent seats. They were the third row in the Director's Circle, dead center, which is the first tier of the mezzanine. The place was pretty packed. I saw The Producers the week before, and it was pretty empty, so I was surprised. Anyway, on to the review...

Katrina Rose Dideriksen (Tracy Turnblad) - Holy crap! I was BLOWN AWAY by her performance. She has so much energy and a POWERHOUSE voice. As soon as she started singing "Good Morning Baltimore," my jaw dropped. She is easily one of my all-time favorite Tracys.

Drew Lachey (Corny Collins) - He was so-so. I really don't think this is the right role for him. His acting seemed a little stiff at times (I realize he really isn't an actor), but his singing was fine. He is SO small, too! The council members towered over him.

Ashley Spencer (Amber Von Tussle) - This was my second time seeing her in the role, and she just keeps getting better. I don't remember loving her performance as much as I did this night. She's an incredible performer; one of my favorite Ambers.

Michael Kadin Craig (Link Larkin) - He was great. His "It Takes Two" was one of the best I've ever heard, and he actually made me laugh out loud several times.

Niki Scalera (Penny Lou Pingleton) - This was my third time seeing her, and she never disappoints. She landed all of the jokes perfectly, and her singing seemed better than ever. She's incredible.

Madeleine Doherty (Female Authority) - She didn't impress me all that much. I thought her Gym Teacher was funny, but her Prudy and Matron were just okay. However, she made me laugh hysterically in the last scene. When Prudy sees Seaweed and says, "...this fine-looking cat-like black boy," she randomly screamed, mid-dialogue: "Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!" and then went back to normal. It was so perfectly random.

Paul C. Vogt (Edna Turnblad) - Hilarious! There's not much more I can say. I was so, so happy to see him in this role again. He's absolutely perfect for Edna. He ad-libbed way more than usual during "(You're) Timeless to Me" and had the audience roaring.

Luba Mason (Velma Von Tussle) - She was terrific. Her voice is very strong and some of her delivery was flat-out hilarious. I really enjoyed her performance.

Stuart Marland (Male Authority) - He's probably one of the better MAFs I've seen. He actually succeeded in making each of his characters different in one way or another. For instance, he gave Spritzer a southern accent, the principal a stutter, and the guard a melancholic drone. His Mr. Pinky was about as flamboyant as most actors portray him.

Jim J. Bullock (Wilbur Turnblad) - He is my new favorite Wilbur, hands down. Every single time he was onstage, my eyes were on him. He is just PERFECT in the role. After hearing so many rave reviews about his performance as Wilbur, you can only imagine how thrilled I was to finally get the opportunity to see him. Fantastic!

Rashad Naylor (Seaweed J. Stubbs) - He was very, very good. I don't think I'd classify him as one of my all-time favorite Seaweeds, but I did enjoy his performance. His singing voice is very good, and his acting is great. His dancing didn't seem to be as good as some of the other Seaweed's, however. I think it's due to the choreography, though.

Erica Durham (Little Inez) - This girl has never done anything professional before. She's sixteen years old and a junior in high school. You would NEVER EVER guess she was a newcomer. She was just as good (if not better) than some of the Inezs I've seen on Broadway. Her voice was superb and her acting was excellent.

Kecia Lewis-Evans (Motormouth Maybelle) - Apparently she auditioned for the Broadway show numerous times (as well as Vegas) but never was cast. She was phenomenal. I can't believe she had never done the show before. Her "I Know Where I've Been" was beautiful.

The ensemble members weren't as lively and funny as the Broadway actors. The quirkiness of the ensemble is usually one of my favorite parts of the show, but, unfortunately, it wasn't there at this performance.

If I had any negative thoughts about the show, it would most certainly be the choreography. Most of it didn't do the show justice. It was especially noticeable in "You Can't Stop the Beat." At one point the actors (Tracy & Link - Penny & Seaweed) just stood there and sang. I couldn't help but go through Jerry Mitchell's choreography in my head. Also, the music direction was a little slow. The ending didn't pop as much as it usually does.

Nevertheless, it was a great performance and well worth the money. I'm actually planning on seeing it again closing night (August 1).

7/28/2010, 11:46 pm Link to this post email   pm
With0utL0V3 Profile
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On The Short Bus

Registered: 12-2007
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Re: Pittsburgh CLO's Production of Hairspray (July 22, 2010)

Thanks so much for your review! I love hearing about how Hairspray lives on, even though it closed on Broadway.

Thanks again!

- Connor
8/2/2010, 12:55 pm Link to this post email   pm
Darreyl102 Profile
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Registered: 11-2010
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Re: Pittsburgh CLO's Production of Hairspray (July 22, 2010)

I agree with you. The CLO production was Amazing but could have been Perfect! They made the same mistake that the Walnut Street Theatre did- and that was to slow down YCSTB. it wasent as noticable this time but was noticable. It was nice to see the Tour sets and costumes again and the cast was perfect (Except for Nick Lachay- UGHH!!). YCSTB is supposed to be sang fast- it's the whole point of the song. slowing it down made the finale not as effective and energetic. Also, the corography needed improvement- at some points the actors werent really even moving. Kecia Lewis Evans was the Best Motormouth i have ever seen singing wise (I have seen basically ever actress who was played her professionally) though her acting was a little stiff. Luba Mason stole the show for me as Velma. Her 'Revenge' was not to be missed- she told me that she had wanted to hold the last not as long as she could but the octrestra woulent let her =( even though she did hold it for quite awhile. She reminded me of Cruella De Vil and is now tied with Linda Hart for my favorite Velma.
11/11/2010, 1:16 am Link to this post email   pm blog


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