I have been a fan of John Waters since my husband forced me to watch nearly all of his films upon my arrival in Baltimore, and I realized that I had never seen a great movie until then. And a native Baltimoron, my husband grew up watching John Waters films, his mother even hung out with the pencil stache himself. He was, after all, not only a Baltimoron but a Hampden Hon at that.
Cry Baby, Pink Flamingo, Cecil B. Demented, Cereal Mom, Pecker…they all have played in my DVD player more times than I can count, but Hairspray remains one of my favorites. Although one of his more “Family-Friendly” films, Hairspray is still an edgy film that touches on race, class and beauty standards. When Rick Rea told me that the Ziegfeld would be performing the musical on stage at Ziegfeld, I leaped at the chance to review it, both figuratively and literally as I jumped from my chair and snatched the tickets from his hands.
While we waited for the show to begin, vintage commercial played on a screen setting the scene the mood for the 60’s musical to come. I was giddy with anticipation wondering who they had cast as Tracy Turnblad. Who, of all people in Ogden, could match the chutzpah of Ricki Lake and Nikki Blonsky? As Emily Woods bounced onto the stage with her sky-high beehive and belted out ‘Good Morning, Baltimore’, and the flasher graced the nuns with his presence, I knew it was going to be a fantastic show.
True to John Waters style, they cast Andrew Cole as Edna Turnblad, dressing him up in drag to play the voluptuous mother. Andrew did such a great job playing the buxom Edna that I nearly forgot he was in drag at all. Edna’s Husband, Wilbur, was played by Kevin Ireland and reminded me of the original Wilbur, Jerry Stiller, uproarious laughter and all. Nathan Vaughn and JJ Freemon did an incredible job as Link and Seaweed, from fancy footwork to Elvis-like hip thrusting. Eliza Haynie was the perfect Penny, ditzy and darling.
‘I Know Where You’ve Been’ is a favorite of mine from the 1997 musical remake of Hairspray, and when Motormouth Maybelle belted out those lyrics I shed a tear. I am probably not the only one who will say that it damn well deserved a standing ovation. The entire cast did an incredible job whether it was powering through technical difficulties or maneuvering backflips on a small stage, they overcame and they conquered, But it was Emily Woods who stole my heart. Emily is a fierce talent and I can not wait to see what the future has in store for her.
I don’t want to give away too much, there were so many tiny details that the cast lovingly put together to make this a one of a kind experience, but you just have to see it for yourself. You will laugh, you will cry, you will go home and rent every John Waters film you can find. Bring your kids, bring your friends, bring your weird neighbor, you will all have a fabulous time.
$18 at the door
Student (with valid ID)/Senior (65 and up):
$16 at the door
*Special $9 Child tickets on Mondays!
Thursday Child Price (12 and under):
$16 at the door
Friday/Saturday Pricing (incl. matinees)
$20 at the door
Student (with valid ID)/Senior (65 and up)/Child (12 and under):
$18 at the door