HAIRSPRAY at Croswell Opera House (Review)

Hairspray, the Tony winning musical with book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, Music by Marc Shaiman, and Lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman has quickly become the most overproduced musical in the current amateur musical circuit — at last count, this is the 28th or 29th production of it in the state of Michigan alone, with 14 more productions scheduled in the state through the end of the summer — And it’s no surprise that the show has become the darling of the community theater circuit: it has a large cast, more parts for younger folks than adults; and a peppy, upbeat 60’s infused pop score. It’s the Bye Bye Birdie of the new era.

But I can bet that none of them are as super as the production currently onstage at the Croswell Opera House in Adrian.

Leading the way are superb performances by every lead in this production. Bridget Harrington is a fine Tracy Turnblad. Lucas A. Wells a pitch-perfect Link Larkin. Eric Swanson is hilarious as Edna Turnblad, and every other supporting player here is in top form.

The set and lighting design are colorful, professional, and everything moves quickly under the direction of Chris Sancho-Beckman and dances appropriately under the choreography of Debra Ross Calabrese. There are a few minor quibbles — the turnbald household platform is a bit too large and a bit too downstage for several large numbers, making things a bit cramped. The sound varies depending on where you sit in the house — too far right and too far left, you’ll primarily hear the orchestra through the side proscenium speakers at the expense of the vocals. The center seems just about right.

The entire production sparkles and you’ll leave not only remembering the songs, but also the messages behind the show: and that is what has made this show work since its early days, and why it won those Tonys to begin with.

Hairspray continues at the Croswell Opera House through June 26th.


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