The Madeira School HairsprayBy Cappies • Feb 27th, 2012 • Category: Cappies
The Madeira School’s cast of Hairspray welcomed audiences to 1960s Baltimore with a lively rendition of the iconic song, “Good Morning Baltimore!” This production greatly differed from traditional renderings because the cast was all female. Despite this unique challenge, the actresses rose to meet this hurdle head on.
Hairspray premiered on Broadway in 2002 at the Neil Simon Theatre. The production went on to become nominated for twelve Tony Awards, taking home eight, including an award for Best Musical. Hairspray captures the story of a spunky teenager, Tracy Turnblad, on a quest to achieve her dream of dancing on the Corny Collins Show. Hairspray includes themes of inequality and exclusion based on a variety of circumstances. However, Tracy and her determined group of friends overcome obstacles and bring to life the words of Motormouth Maybelle, “If it’s something worth having, it’s something worth fighting for.”
Kelsey Allison carried the show in the lead role of Tracy Turnblad. Allison’s powerful belt and uniquely warm tone brought life to her character. During “Good Morning Baltimore Reprise” the audience could truly sense Tracy’s feelings of hopelessness. In the role of Link Larkin was Iman Karram. Karram was presented with a difficult role but managed to convincingly portray the teen heart-throb. Her masculine gestures and facial expression accurately depicted a male in the 60s. She gave a particularly noteworthy performance in the song “It Takes Two.”
Gabrielle Bullard in the role of Seaweed proved to be the productions’s standout performer. Bullard’s sharp dance moves and robust vocals drew the audience’s attention to her when she graced the stage. Bullard’s delivery of “Run and Tell That” highlighted her well-developed character. The lovable Penny Pingleton, Tracy’s loyal best friend and love interest to Seaweed, was played by Erica Glaser. Glaser brought a unique sense of energy that lit up the stage, and she managed to stay in character throughout the production. The chemistry between Glaser and Bullard’s characters was incredibly convincing making them one of the cutest couples in Baltimore.
The ensemble of Hairspray featured a plethora of memorable characters. While at times the energy on stage was low and harmonies were lost, the cast reminded audience members of the sheer joy that is experienced while performing in an upbeat show such as Hairspray. One of the most memorable numbers that featured the entire company was “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” This energizing number incorporated dancing and singing while capturing the energetic vibe associated with the show. “You Can’t Stop the Beat” provided a powerful finale that left the audience with a skip in their step and a joyous tune in their heart.
The Madeira School’s cast of Hairspray aptly illustrated the school’s motto — “Madeira Girls have something to say!”
by Margaret Murphy of Fairfax High School
Photos courtesy of The Madeira School
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