I had the great pleasure of attending today’s matinee performance of Hairspray at Pottstown’s Steel River Playhouse (formerly the TriPAC). The theater was full for a Sunday afternoon show!
I saw Hairspray on Broadway and wasn’t sure if this would live up to that experience. As usual the performance was stellar! I enjoyed Hairspray just as much in Pottstown as I did on Broadway. That’s saying something.
If you aren’t familiar with the story, this comedic musical takes place in Baltimore, circa 1962. Overweight teenager, Tracy Turnblad wants to dance on the Corny Collins Show. The story demonstrates the social injustice of racism in pre-Civil Rights Act America and speaks about society’s disdain for people who are calorically challenged. This is done mostly through humor and song. There are some poignant moments as well but you don’t feel “preached at”. You also realize how much has not changed since 1962!
There are some veteran Steel River actors in this show: Gregory Kasander, Bill Kiesling, Matt Kiesling, Donna Dougherty and Alexa Morefield. The mostly youthful cast does an outstanding job! The Director and Choreographer, Zuhairah McGill gets major kudos for another top-notch production! As always the live orchestra is superb as were all other aspects of the production: costumes, lighting, sound, scenery etc…
All the main characters are excellent. Gregory Kasander nails the Corny Collins role with a lounge lizard meets Ted Baxter from the Mary Tyler Moore Show interpretation. Matt Kiesling is very believable as Link Larkin, teenage heart-throb and love interest of Tracy Turnblad. Donna Dougherty’s Velma Von Tussel is the character you love to hate!
Nicole Bright gives a standout performance as our heroine, Tracy Turnblad. She embodies everything her character is supposed to represent. Tracy’s parents, played by Bob Goretski and Bill Kiesling are hysterical. Some very famous actors have played Edna Turnblad (Harvey Fierstein and John Travolta to name a few). A male always plays the Edna Turnblad role. Bob Goretski may not be famous yet, but he did the role justice.
The other two actors I would like to mention are Willie Garner who plays Seaweed J. Stubs and Britney Leigh Hines who plays Motormouth Maybelle. Their acting, singing and dancing are exceptional.
This production is well worth the price of admission! Congratulations and thank you to Marta Kiesling and the entire staff at Steel River Playhouse for bringing quality entertainment to the Greater Pottstown area! I hope many people take advantage of having this gem in Pottstown!
Hairspray at Steel River runs from June 7 – 24, 2012. For dates, times, ticket prices and to buy tickets online, click here: http://www.steelriver.org/2012/05/hairspray/ or call the Box Office at 610-970-1199.