Thomas S. Wootton High School HairsprayBy Cappies • Apr 8th, 2014 • Category: Cappies
Bursting with rollicking tunes, extraordinary hair, and copious amounts of hairspray, Thomas S. Wootton High School’s musical extravaganza Hairspray featured forbidden love, supercilious producers, and incredible vocalists.
Originally a movie by John Waters, “Hairspray” was adapted into a musical by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Set in segregation-era Baltimore, Hairspray revolves around the misadventures of Tracy Turnblatt, an ordinary, though slightly hefty, girl. Her dream of appearing on the Corny Collins Show comes true as she interacts with the eclectic group of councilmembers. Lively and exuberant, Tracy’s exploits attract the attention of Link Larkin, the ire of venomous producer Velma Von Tussle, and the support of the local radio station host Motormouth Maybelle as she attempts to integrate the Corny Collins Show.
With the vivacity of the cast and their vocal determination, they were able to overcome the sound issues throughout the show. Combined with the efficient use of lighting technology, the cast was able to focus on the enthusiasm and musical chops that allowed the show to shine.
As Tracy, Corrieanne Stein was a puffball of vibrant energy. Her stage presence was almost as large as her hair, an impressive feat. Impressive characterization showed as she courted Link Larkin (Wyatt Oring) in “I Can Hear the Bells,” as she expressed her evident infatuation with Oring. In his own right, Oring was an impressive performer, portraying Link Larkin as an Elvis-style rock star. Although Larkin may have been reluctant to join Tracy in her fight against segregation, Oring had no such reservation in heading the show, being an actor who dominated the stage. With impressive dance numbers with Seaweed (Myles Frost), Oring showed his commitment to Hairspray. In addition, the chemistry between Oring and Stein was evident in “Without Love.”
As Tracy’s plucky sidekick, Penny Pingleton (Julia Fanzeres) showed her naïve side as she ventured to novel and exhilarating territory outside of her house. Although controlled by her strict mother, Fanzeres showed a constant state of wonder and excitement as she took the stage, eventually falling in love with Seaweed and becoming a beauty in her own right.
Of course, what is a musical without robust supporting leads, in Wootton’s production, a singularly impressive anchor was Motormouth Maybelle (Aaliyah Dixon), whose powerful voice and stage presence invigorated the cast. Her commanding voice in “I Know Where I’ve Been” culminated in a note that had the audience on their feet. In addition, the supercilious vixen Velma Von Tussle (Meghan Wright) and domineering Matron (Lily Mayne) had impressive physicality in their songs “Miss Baltimore Crabs” and “The Big Doll House,” respectively.
Although Hairspray deals with volatile topics such as racism and segregation, Thomas S. Wootton’s approach took the stage by storm. With ardor and humor palpable in every moment of their performance, the spirit of the cast was perhaps even larger than the hairstyles of the 1960s.
by Chris Doan of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Photos by Joe McCary
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/10325.