Albert Einstein High School HairsprayBy Cappies • Mar 15th, 2011 • Category: Cappies
Amidst a flurry of aerosol cans, piles of hair, and upbeat, high-energy dance numbers, Albert Einstein High School twisted and shouted through their production of Hairspray.
The internationally acclaimed musical has been made into two popular films, spent nearly seven years on Broadway, and won eight Tony Awards. Set in Baltimore in 1962, Hairspray tells the story of loveable, chubby Tracy Turnblad on her path to fame, acceptance, and first love. Tracy’s determination to achieving racial equality for all is the principal undercurrent among all the singing, dancing, and hilarity that this show entails.
Jason Guerrero stole the show in his portrayal of Edna Turnblad, Tracy’s shy-turned-fabulous, heavy-set mother. Playing a female character that is well-known as being performed by male actors, Guerrero found a perfect balance between feminine mannerisms and powerful stage presence. His sense of timing was impeccable, and his dedication to character never broke, culminating in a memorable and comical performance.
Rory Beckett shone in her role as meek and big-hearted Penny Pingleton, best friend to ambitious and idealistic Tracy (Emma Sheffer). The two created a dynamic duo of support and friendship and played off one another well. While some vocalists throughout the show were lacking in strength and pitch, two incredibly talented standouts were Jackson Schaeffer and Nadia Turner. As a black student struggling to find equality in a world of adversity, Seaweed (Schaeffer) sang wonderfully in his anthem of expression, “Run and Tell That.” Similarly, Seaweed’s mother Motormouth Maybelle (Turner) had a powerful, soulful voice. Her vocals in the hauntingly beautiful song, “I Know Where I’ve Been,” were staggering and top-notch.
The ensemble was an integral part of the show, especially with such a large cast. Despite drops in energy and occasional lack of commitment; enthusiasm and passion for performing prevailed, especially towards the end of the show and during large dance numbers.
The costumed stage crew did a great job of being completely unnoticeable as they executed smooth scene transitions. Because all principal cast members had body microphones, the sound kinks were frequent throughout the production. The set was well-crafted and varied; the flashy studio for the Corny Collins Show was especially intricate with a large banner that stretched the entire length of the stage.
In spite of some issues with cast cohesion and technical defects, the cast and crew of Albert Einstein High School delivered a solid and colorful performance of Hairspray.
by Emma Banchoff of Washington-Lee High School
Photos by Joe McCary
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