‘Hairspray’ holds up well as musical

Erica Crist

The cast of “Hairspray” takes the stage for this week’s Akron shows.

Credit: Ben Breier



Playing today through Sunday

Where? E.J. Thomas Hall, University of Akron

Stater rating (out of four): ****


If you don’t make the 20-minute drive to Akron this weekend to see the musical comedy “Hairspray,” then you will be robbing your eyes of the best visual-gasm they will have all year.

The Tony Award-winning show takes you back to Baltimore circa 1962, as 16-year-old Tracy Turnblad (Keala Settle) dances her way onto television’s most popular show, with the help of her fresh-from-detention black friend, Seaweed (Alan Mingo).

On “The Corny Collins Show,” stars are born. The teeny-bop dance haven is literally so corny that you can’t help but laugh at the cheesy host. You get more wrapped up in the lights and colors with every deliriously tuneful song.

When one of the girls on the program gets pregnant and has to leave for a year, an open audition is announced to the city. Turnblad overcomes the plus-size put-downs of her high school peers, vanquishes the show’s reigning princess and wins the heart of hunk Link Larkin (Aaron Tveit).

But it’s when Turnblad says on national television that she wants “every day to be Negro day,” instead of the segregated show’s once-a-month policy, she goes from star to superstar.

Can this girl with big dreams and even bigger hair integrate a television show without denting her ‘do? Go find out!

“Hairspray” opened on Broadway in August 2002 to enthusiastic reviews and won eight Tony Awards in 2003, including Best Musical. It is based on the New Line Cinema film written and directed by John Waters, the musical’s creative consultant.

“Hairspray” will be at E.J. Thomas Hall until Sunday. For event information call (330) 972-7570 or visit www.ejthomashall.com.

Contact ALL correspondent Erica Crist at [email protected].