Relive the 60’s! Complete with hairspray-infused towering wigs, wacky-patterned costumes and a musical beat that radiates from the stage, Stagecrafters presents the irresistible musical comedy, Hairspray which runsMay 20 through June 12 at the Baldwin Theatre, 415 S. Lafayette in downtown Royal Oak.
A loveable plus-sized heroine and her quest to racially integrate a television dance show are at the center of this high-spirited Tony® Award-winning musical, an homage to the music and popular culture of the 1960s.
Hairspray (book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, music and Lyrics by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman) delights audiences by sweeping them away to 1960’s Baltimore, where the 50’s are out — and change is in the air. Tracy Turnblad (Danielle Morris of Novi) is a big girl with big hair — and even bigger dreams. When her passion for dancing wins her a spot on the local TV dance program, The Corny Collins Show, she finds herself transformed overnight from outsider to teen celebrity. With infectious enthusiasm along the way, she converts her shy mother, Edna (Joe Bailey of Ferndale in drag), from unsung housefrau to full-figured fox.
But not everyone is enamored with Baltimore’s new sensation. Tracy’s upset of the program’s status quo raises the ire of the show’s calculating and unscrupulous producer, Velma Von Tussle (Laurie Freedman of Rochester), and her entitled daughter and reigning show star, Amber (Lindsay Maron of Clinton Township). Interest in Tracy from Amber’s boyfriend and show heartthrob, Link Larkin (Jeff Bobick of Royal Oak), further rankles the duo.
Meanwhile, Tracy laments that her new black friends, Seaweed J. Stubbs (Kenneth Gibson of Detroit) and Little Inez (Kirsten Hatchett of Bloomfield Hills), are only allowed to dance on the show’s once-a-month “Negro Day,” which is led by their mother, Motormouth Maybelle (Allyson Jones of Detroit), a local DJ. When Velma cancels “Negro Day,” Tracy leads a protest that lands her right in the slammer.
By Tracy’s side throughout are her flighty best friend, Penny Pingleton (Anna Marck of Royal Oak), her kooky but kind father, Wilbur (Barry Cutler of Royal Oak), a novelty story proprietor, and, of course, her mother, Edna.
The upheaval culminates publicly on live TV as Tracy, now on the lam, sneaks into the station to compete in the Miss Hairspray pageant hosted by Corny Collins (Ryan Dawley of Royal Oak). But can a larger-than-life adolescent vanquish the program’s reigning princess, integrate the television show, get acquitted, and find true love (singing and dancing all the while, of course!) without mussing her hair? If anyone is up for the challenge, Tracy is!
As director, Matthew Miga of Ferndale is charged with balancing Hairspray’s layers of humor, history, and style. “The magic about the show is the clever blend of funny with serious. I don’t like to think of the show as camp, which implies a satirical take on life. Instead, I see the show as more tongue-in-cheek,” he says.
“There’s something for everyone in Hairspray. On the surface, it’s a bubbly gem of a musical with lots of bright colors and happy music, which appeals to younger theatregoers. Yet, within the book scenes and lyrics, you find all these hidden jokes and puns that appeal to the baby boomer generation. The jokes are very clever; most of them obscure references to life in the 1950’s and 60’s,” says Miga, who created a dictionary of period terms while doing pre-production work for the show.
“However, this odd blend of humor and wit with storytelling creates a challenge while directing: we cannot give into constantly wanting to strive for a laugh. The hilarity of the show comes from characters acting as if this was life for them while also being somewhat self aware that they are merely actors in a musical. However, the humor should come from a natural place instead of trying to force the audience to laugh. I want there to be pathos and catharsis but I want people to be laughing while they watch instead of balling their eyes out. It’s a funny, funny show!”
Based on the 1988 John Waters film of the same name, Hairspray opened on Broadway, August 15, 2002, at the Neil Simon Theatre and ran for 2,642 performances to close on January 4, 2009. The show won eight 2003 Tony® Awards including Best Musical. A motion picture based on the stage show featuring a star-studded cast (including John Travolta as Edna, Christopher Walken as Wilbur and Michelle Pfeiffer as Velma) was released in 2007.
As if the show weren’t enough fun, Stagecrafters has added a special Ladies Night Out on Thursday, May 19th for a “hair-raising good time” at the Baldwin Theatre! Patrons are encourage to wear their grooviest attire. They will enjoy strolling light hors d’oeuvres, show-themed games and prizes, 5-minute 60’s-style makeovers (by 6 Salon in Royal Oak) and the final dress rehearsal of Hairspray. A cash bar will be available. Tickets are $25 each and can be ordered online or by calling 248-541-6430.
For all regular performances, advance tickets are $18 and $20. Tickets may be purchased online at www.stagecrafters.org or by phone at 248-541-6430 using Visa and MasterCard. All seats are reserved. If shows have not sold out, tickets can be purchased at the box office one hour prior to the performance for an additional $2.00 fee.
Show dates and times follow:
Friday, May 20 8:00 pm
Saturday, May 21 8:00 pm
Sunday, May 22 2:00 pm
Thursday, May 26 8:00 pm
Friday, May 27 8:00 pm
Saturday, May 28 8:00 pm
Sunday, May 29 2:00 pm
Thursday, June 2 8:00 pm
Friday, June 3 8:00 pm
Saturday, June 4 8:00 pm
Sunday, June 5 2:00 pm
Friday, June 10 8:00 pm
Saturday, June 11 8:00 pm
Sunday, June 12 2:00 pm
Stagecrafters, a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit community theatre, is completing their 55th season of providing opportunities for members of the community to develop their talents and to volunteer their time to create an enriching, quality theatrical experience through its Main Stage, 2nd Stage, and Youth Theatre productions. Located at the Baldwin Theatre since 1985, Stagecrafters offers shows that appeal to a wide variety of ages and interests and prides itself on providing professional quality shows at affordable prices, making the performing arts accessible to individuals in our “regional” community. Stagecrafters was recently named “Best Community Theatre” by readers of Real Detroit Weekly.