Good morning, Baltimore … I mean, Harrisburg. (No, I’m not trying to make a Robin Williams reference.) I was lucky enough to sit in on a dress rehearsal of Theatre Harrisburg’s production of Hairspray on Wednesday, and I’m still buzzing from the show’s energy. This show is just so much fun.
For those unfamiliar with the musical, (which I don’t know how you could be because it’s been around forever and was made into TWO movies), Hairspray takes place in 1962 Baltimore and follows “pleasantly plump” teen Tracy Turnblad (Zoey Bright) as she pursues her dream of dancing on The Corny Collins Show.
Sassy and spunky, Tracy is determined to shake things up – no matter her size. She’s supported by her ditzy yet lovable best friend Penny (Kelley Hertzler), and parents Wilbur (Marc Lubbers) and Edna (Kevin Biddle, who plays the larger than life character PERFECTLY), as she pines for heartthrob Link Larkin (Colin York) and spars with mean girl Amber Von Tussle (Kalina Jenkins) and her equally vicious mother Velma (Aubrey Krepps). Tracy also dances her way to social crusader, working with her friends from both sides of the neighborhood to end segregation on Collins’ TV show.
The show is fast-paced and packed with great dancing, fabulous costumes, and witty jokes. The energy is infectious and you’ll be bopping around in your seat (maybe I just do that, but you’ll definitely be tapping your toes!).
One of the best things about the productions is that the majority of the cast are local actors, so it’s a bit more personal than attending a touring show. The cast and crew do an amazing job bringing the ‘60s to life on stage. They can’t stop the beat … and you don’t want them to.
Theatre Harrisburg typically hosts their productions at their space on Hurlock Street, but the company brought this production to the stage at Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in downtown Harrisburg.
Also, don’t forget — it’s Harrisburg Beer Week! So check out the event guide and plan a stop or two before hitting the theater if you plan on catching the show this weekend. I grabbed dinner and drinks before the rehearsal at Midtown Tavern for their Yards tap takeover, which was GREAT.