Can’t think of a better way to spend a cold winter’s afternoon than to experience the heated excitement of The Opera House Players’ production of Hair Spray. Mother Nature’s tricks failed to dampen the spirits of the nearly full house on Sunday afternoon. True to tradition, the show must go on; and ‘go on’ it certainly did.
Hair Spray, based on John Waters’ 1988 New Line Cinema film, at first touches gently on the racial issues of 1962; however as act one progresses, the message is delivered loud and clear through song and dance. The opening number, ‘Good Morning Baltimore’, succeeded in getting our toes to tapping; the next, ‘The Nicest Kids in Town’, had us literally jumping in our seats. And that’s in the first ten minutes! Using her newly found fame, a bubbly Maryland teenager campaigns for integration on a nationally televised dance show, and teaches everyone a thing or two. The atmosphere of this funny satire only accelerates from there. The pit orchestra is outstanding with their musical renditions; the great accompanying choreography is reminiscent of the moves of the early sixties, enhanced with exciting antics and gyrations. The costuming (stripes and argyles and plaids, oh my) are spot on for the era, accented by the mile-high bouffant ‘do.
This reviewer’s theatrical history reads as being part of the backstage crew, or swinging a hammer or paintbrush creating part of the set. It takes guts to be on stage in front of hundreds of people, attempting to win them over as they sit there, judging you. The varied experience of this wonderfully diverse cast of twenty four ranges from seasoned performers (many), to OHP first-timers (nine), to an exciting dual-role theatrical debut. Six members of the company shine as sixteen different characters; many of the cast also double as production personnel. So many different hats are worn by those involved – the reason no specific actors’ names are mentioned in this review, lest I forget or miss-identify someone. The greatness of the whole is due to the accumulative greatness of its parts. Suffice it to say the cast and crew took on the challenge of this production, and like a great oiled machine, delivered a fantastic product. The energy level couldn’t be any higher, and this show couldn’t be any better. Kudos to all. Everyone, from the pigtailed eighth grader to big mama, was magnificent. Bravo!
The Broad Brook Opera House is always entertaining. There aren’t enough superlatives in the English language to adequately describe their production of Hair Spray; you’ll just have to see it for yourself.
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