Give It 5 Hairsprays

For eight nights (Nov. 7 – 10 and Nov. 14 – 17), NESA’s talented Musical Theater performed a 2013 version of the original and fabulous Broadway musical, Hairspray, with the help of Visual Art students, Technical Theater and Mark Twehues’ orchestra.

The show starts off with Tracy Turnblad (Maddie Chancey) singing Good Morning Baltimore and sprays into Tracy discovering her once-in-a-lifetime chance of being on her favorite show, The Corny Collins Show. And Tracy indeed gets to be on the show where she finds trouble, love, new friendships and groovy new dance moves along the way.

As Tracy slides into her adventure, Penny Pingleton (Anna Connelly) does a fantastic job of supporting and staying by Tracy’s side, even when she has a “love-at-first-sight” moment with the chill and neat Seaweed J. Stubbs (Aaron Taylor). And as for Tracy’s timelessly in love parents, Edna and Wilbur (Joshua Roach and Peter Gertas), they do a exceptional performance of also supporting Tracy, as well as reestablishing their love for each other and helping Tracy achieve her dream on the show. Roach in particular was spectacular in as Edna with the hoarse and masculine feminine voice and acting completely in love with Wilbur and shyly befriending Motormouth Maybelle (Lindsay Ewell), who does a tremendous act and singing all her parts whole-heartedly.

Front row seats will allow anyone to not just applaud the actors, but their costumes as well, thanks to costume designer Martha Penaranda and costume coordinator Deann Navarro. Both captured the 8o’s touch perfectly, especially with the Detention Kids, Thelma (Te’a Blount), Stooie (Marin Lord), Cindy (Jazz Wormley), Lorraine (Lindsay White), Duane (Christopher West), Barbra (Ashley Clinton), Lorelle (Khaila Barrett), Tina (Destiny Duncan), Effie (Maya Duncan), Denise (Britney McGarity), Elorise (Claire Smith) and Aretha (Alexis Tilman). The dresses the Dynamites wear could be seen from the far seats because of their radiant and bright orange. Middle and back seats don’t allow as much visual to any of this, unless everyone in those seats have perfect eye vision. If they don’t, the music could be heard better than the costumes could be seen.

Mark Twehues, the conductor and his orchestra do double-thumbs up job at remaking the music for Hairspray. Each huge moment, and even the small moments in the musical can grab the viewer because of the superior sound the orchestra delivers for the audience.

NESA’s Tech. Theater did a marvelous job at getting all the lights right on time. The students who played the ensemble and chorus stood out by blending in when getting all the needed props on and off the stage by bobbing to the music, which looked great to the crowd.

The crowd, whether three years old or 30, enjoyed a phenomenal show each night with bright lights, heart-felt voices from enthusiastic actors, accurate props and art. NESA’s Hairspray deserves a total of 5 “hairsprays” for each night.

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