"HAIRSPRAY:" YOU CAN'T STOP THE BEAT
Tracy Turnblad is a chunky, fun loving, rebel with a cause, a sixteen year old born and bred in Baltimore. It's 1962 and Tracy wants to be famous, to be president of the world and to make the planet a better place to live for everyone. With a can of hairspray, a radio and her dancing feet, she is well on her way to making all her dreams come true.
To cheer the good natured Tracy on her way, bop on over to the University of Connecticut's Jorgenson Auditorium for one super duper special production by the Connecticut Repertory Theatre of "Hairspray," an eight time Tony Award-winning musical comedy with book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan and music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Whittman, playing until Sunday, May 5.
Lena Mary Amato is terrific as Tracy, the teenager with the big heart and even bigger hairdo. Winning a spot on the local television Corny Collins Show is her goal, one because she has a major crush on the show's male heartthrob Link (Will Haden) and two because of her desire to make the one day a month Negro Day for dancing an everyday occurrence. There's no segregation for this open-minded gal.
With the support and encouragement of her folks, Edna, a designing Kevin Meaney, and Wilbur, an inventive Scott Ripley, the help of her b.f.f. (best friend forever) Penny, a cute Kate Zulauf, who has her own plans for integration with a fellow student Seaweed, a limber Colby Lewis, Tracy takes on the intrepid and conniving mother /daughter team of Sarah Wintermeyer as Velma and Andrianna Prast as Amber, who are trying to control the Corny Collins Show. Corny Collins, played by an accommodating James Jelkin, is fortunately on Tracy's side of the dance floor.
As she swirls up a storm on stage, she also stirs up a storm of controversy as she works single-handedly to integrate the entire city of Baltimore. Even a stint behind bars with her new allies led by a marvelous Motormouth Maybelle, captured by Tina Fabrique, can't discourage this fleet footed queen. Tunes like "Good Morning, Baltimore," "Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now," "You're Timeless to Me" and "You Can't Stop the Beat" keep the fun flowing, on a great set designed by Joe Keener III, with colorful costumes created by Maureen Freedman, smooth choreography by Gerry McIntyre, and star-studded direction by Paul Mullins.
For tickets ($6-36), call Jorgenson Auditorium on the Storrs campus at 860-486-2113 or online at www.crt.uconn.edu. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Come with the whole family to cheer Tracy on as she takes on the conservative establishment and strikes a blow for humanity and justice.