HAIRSPRAY Is A Fun Blast From the Past

by Ed Corsi

The cast of HAIRSPRAY perform in Millville, NJ through August 15: (L to R)The Dynamites: Rajah Bailey, Raven Stewart, Crystalrose Colvin. Penny: Alexis Loundsbury, Edna: Derick Glenn, Tracy: Alicia Discepola, Link: A.J. Mendini.

The Off Broad Street Players, in their 13th season, do not disappoint with their latest presentation, HAIRSPRAY.

This impressive cast falls in behind the energetic and very talented Alicia Discepola as Tracy Turnblad, a teen who wants what every girl wants: to be famous, to make the world better, and to date the most handsome boy.

In the campy universe of John Waters, whose 1988 film “Hairspray” inspired the 2002 musical, a plus-size heroine is the ultimate underdog. The more she gets knocked down (the principal sticks her in Special Ed, the cool kids mock her size, the police lock her up), the more she wins your devotion. Discepola’s enthusiasm in the role is contagious.

This fun comedy is a lay-up for director Walter A. Webster. He filled the principal roles with people who obviously are enjoying their parts and all do a tremendous job: Derick Glenn (as Edna Turnblad), Jessaca Wilford (Velma Von Tussle), AJ Mendini (Link Larkin), Alexis Lounsbury (Penny Lou Pingleton), Toni Richards (Motormouth Maybelle), Don Fransko (Corny Collins), Devon Dooley (Seaweed), B. Lee Cox (Wilbur Turnblad), Jennifer Ackerley (Amber Von Tussle), Jada Mayo (little Inez) and Beverly Beardsley and Thurman Hogan (as various authority figures). They all deserve praise.

The physical comedy of the HAIRSPRAY script is sometimes exceeded by the physicality of the music. Tracy’s earth-shattering plan is to integrate a popular Baltimore television dance show, circa 1962. HAIRSPRAY contains some pretty difficult dancing. Choreographer Kaitlin Davis and her ensemble of dancers are a driving force of the show.

I felt that Mr. Webster and his entire team did a very nice job capturing the essence of the script and music while maintaining the level of enjoyment an audience member is supposed to feel when watching a show such as HAIRSPRAY. But what caught my eye even more is the “family” feel that The Off Broad Street Players captured. From the moment I walked it, I was made to feel at home…exactly the way a community theatre is supposed to make you feel. Having never been there, this was very impressive to me. I wanted to not only watch the show but I left feeling like I wanted to be involved in a future production. Kudos to the cast, crew and entire group on a job well done.

You can catch HAIRSPRAY one more weekend, August 12-15 at Millville Senior High School in Millville, NJ. A special family performance will be offered on Thursday, August 14 at 7:30 p.m. for $7. Check them out on the web at

Music by Marc Shaiman
Lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman
Book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan
Directed by Walter A. Webster
Musical Direction by Nancy Bello
Choreography by Kaitlin Davis
August 6 – 15, 2010
Off Broad Street Players
Millville Senior High School
200 North Wade Blvd.
Millville, NJ

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