'Hairspray' at Village Theatre. Credit: Mark Kitaoka
In Village Theatre's current stage production of "Hairspray: The Broadway Musical," Tracy Turnblad (Callie Williams) opens the show belting out "Good Morning, Baltimore" and for two hours, her positivity, perseverance and commitment to her dreams never lets up. Williams' voice, facial expressions and physical comedy chops shine, and her character's ebullient personality draw you into this comic, timeless classic.
Bottome line: "Hairspray" combines soaring voices, snappy choreography, witty repartee, social justice and poignant themes all wrapped up in a rollicking, Broadway-worthy show. We highly recommend it, for mature audiences. Sexual innuendo and racially-charged language make this show a great date night, a night out among girlfriends or a conversation starter with teens.
In 1962, plump Baltimore teenager Tracy Turnblad dreams of dancing on the local teen variety show, "The Corny Collins Show," and winning the favor of the show's hearthrob crooner, Link Larkin.
She's also determined to end the silly notion that people of color appear on the variety show just one day a month. In pursuit of these dreams, she gets dismissed for her body size, knocked out, tossed in jail and more, yet she marshalls her crew and keeps on trucking. It's a feel-good romp with a happy ending — and a terrific way to spend an evening.
There isn't a weak voice among the leads or ensemble in this show. Village Theatre always seems to attract a deep bench of talent. Shaunyce Omar (Motormouth Maybelle), Ethan Carpenter (Link Larkin) and young Belle Pugh (Little Inez) all impressed. If we had one tiny quibble, it's that the amplified music competed with voices during ensemble numbers, though less so during individual songs.
Many feats of physical comedy provided laugh-out-loud moments, particularly in a dream scene with Tracy swooning over Link.
Peppy choreography kept the show's energy high and showcased the cast's talents. Tracy's parents, Edna and Wilbur (Nick DeSantis and Peter Crook), dance and sing a lovely number together in "You're Timeless to Me."
Among the show's themes, many of them are just as poignant today, if not more, in the current political climbate: civil rights, body positivity, following your dreams, perseverance and doing the right thing.
Parents should know
- Village Theatre produces a detailed preview guide for every show to help parents anticipate mature content. We saw lots of teens in the audience on the night we attended. Some families might feel okay bringing tweens to the show with a discussion beforehand.
- The theater is fairly small and all seats have a good view of the stage.
- The lobby has concessions and snacks; expect a very long line at the ladies' restroom at intermission.
- Arrive early to find parking in historic downtown Issaquah. Many restaurant choices are within easy walking distance of the theater.
If you go...
Where: Francis J. Gaudette Theatre, 303 Front St. N., Issaquah, and Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave., Everett