El Dorado Musical Theatre Production of Hairspray 2011

An Encore Production

Featuring performers ages 13-22

This show is rated PG and contains mild language, sexual innuendo and addresses racial injustices in the 1960’s.

Book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan
Music and Lyrics by Marc Shaiman
Lyrics by Scott Wittman

February 25-March 13, 2011
Jill Solberg Theatre, Folsom High School

Director/Choreographer: Debbie Wilson
Vocal Director: Jennifer Wittmayer
Costumer: Christine Martorana

Theatrical Review – Hairspray

By Don Chaddock

Race is still a hot-button issue, if recent headlines about local historic grave markers are any indication. That’s part of what makes the arrival of “Hairspray” in Folsom so timely. The El Dorado Musical Theatre production gleefully skewers stereotypes ranging from body image to race to popularity. Set in 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, the story focuses on a heavy-set girl, her heavy-set mom and racial segregation. Main character Tracy Turnblad (Helen Regula) wants to dance on the Corny Collins Show. But the show’s producer, aging beauty queen Velma Von Tussle (Jordan Sharp), doesn’t believe Tracy is a good fit and quashes her dreams before she even auditions. Tracy also believes the show’s Negro Day, featuring rhythm and blues music and African American dancers once per month, isn’t enough. She believes the show should be integrated. If you are a fan of the films, all the best-known songs are there, plus a few others not in the 2007 flick.

Standouts I try to pick actors who really connect with the audience and give a standout performance. Honestly, this time around, I couldn’t pick a favorite and neither could my two co-reviewers (12-year-old son Cian and 11-year-old daughter Parker). She told me, “The entire cast was a standout, papa.” I have to agree. John Waters directed the 1988 film, casting childhood friend and cross-dresser Divine as Tracy’s mom, Edna. Subsequent productions have kept to the tradition of casting a man in the role. “Hairspray” also had 2,500 performances on Broadway between 2002 and 2009. In a 2007 version of the film, John Travolta not only donned a fat suit, but a dress and wig as well to bring Edna to life. Locally, Edna’s brassiere is passed on to another talented young man, 17-year-old Folsom Lake College student Braiden Wells (who had my daughter fooled). Wells is funny and nails the mannerisms of a middle-aged housewife. His singing skills were than a match for the role. Rikki Lake got her big break as Tracy Turnblad in the 1988 celluloid incarnation. The same role helped put Nikki Blonski on the map in 2007. In my opinion, Helen Regula has arrived with the same role. Her bright and powerful portrayal of Tracy is jaw dropping. She displays the chops, the pipes and the chutzpah to carry the lead role. Regula is 16 and attends Ponderosa High School in Shingle Springs. As Seaweed Stubbs, 19-year-old Terry Hicks is superb. I’ve seen him in EDMT’s “Grease” and “A Christmas Carol,” but in this role, he really shines. In her last show with EDMT is Jordan Sharp, 17, as Velma Von Tussle. Her singing, as always, is great. She’s a stage veteran, having started hitting the boards when she was 8. She attends Oak Ridge High School but will be heading off to college soon. Sharp has a bright future in theater. My personal favorite role was that of Penny Pingleton (19-year-old Heather Clark), Tracy’s best friend. Her character undergoes the most change and growth in the course of the two hour production. Starting off as a shy, nerdy girl, she ends up falling head of dancing shoes with Seaweed. She ditches the glasses and goes for the glam by the end of the show. Her vocals also took me by surprise. Despite her small stature, Clark has stage presence.

The sets were amazing – the best I’ve seen yet. While “A Christmas Carol” had great sets, these really made the grade, given how they were used. The scene transitions were seamless. I highly recommend EDMT’s “Hairspray.” Rating: 5 (out of 5 stars)

Anything Goes cast list