by Michelle Sandoval
The Canyon Theatre Guild in Old Town Newhall is inviting Santa Clarita back to the ‘60s with its latest production of “Hairspray.” Playing now through April 21, the show will transport you to a time when sock hops were all the rage and bouffants were the hottest hairdos. And with a very talented cast, great musical numbers and quirky dance moves, the show is definitely a must see.
“Hairspray” is based on the 1988 John Waters film by the same name. The production features music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman. It tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, a plump teen whose only dream is to be part of “The Corny Collins Show,” a dance program on local television in her hometown of Baltimore. Overcoming the negativity thrown her way because of her size doesn’t stop Tracy from auditioning, and her killer dance moves eventually land her a spot on the show, where she becomes an overnight sensation. She then sets out to try and integrate the show in a time when racism was at an all-time high. Aside from the charming story of a young girl reaching for her dreams, “Hairspray” also touches on the injustices of American history, and does not hold back while doing so.
Patti Finley directs a stellar cast and does not apologize for the somewhat racy material in the show. She jokingly introduces the production with a warning that it will probably offend everyone in the audience. Objectionable or not, Finley and her crew have successfully created a show that is exceptionally charming and fun, with just the right bit of edge.
Brittany Thornton, who is proudly making her CTG debut, leads the ensemble. She embraces the role of Tracy wholeheartedly and radiates on stage, pulling the audience in with her positive energy. Her strong vocals hit all the right notes and her dance moves are always on step. Her talent and charisma are as impressive as her outrageous hairdo.
Colin Robert goes a great job as Link Larkin, teenage heartthrob and Tracy’s love interest. Not only does he croon his way into Tracy’s heart, but the audience’s as well. He delivers a performance that is both smooth and calculated, much like every perfect strand of hair on his dreamy little head.
Kara Slocum and Jennifer Alexopoulos play the Von Tussles, “Hairspray’s” villainous mother-daughter duo. Both ladies play their parts well, bringing ample amounts of scandal, tantrums and controversy to the plot. Despite their questionable behavior in the story, you can’t help but fall under their mischievous spell.
Barry Agin shines as Edna Turnblad, bringing countless laughs as the overweight and overbearing mother to Tracy. Just try to keep a straight face as he dances across the stage in homely dresses and heels. John Morris plays Edna’s husband, Wilbur, and the two deliver one of the most magical moments of the show when they perform “You’re Timeless to Me,” a musical ode to their endless love.
The entire cast is incredible. Lori Battle as Motormouth Maybelle delivers strong and captivating vocals. Taylor Lane portrays Penny Pingleton with just the right amount of bubbly energy that the character demands. Joey Langford is perfect as Corny Collins and manages to stand out, even when the stage is crowded with fervent dancers. Everyone truly gives their all in this performance and their passion and dedication shine bright, making the show great entertainment for all ages.
So, put on your dancing shoes Santa Clarita, and brush up on the Mashed Potato, because the CTG has succeeded in creating a production that will leave you with a burning desire to dance in the aisles.
“Hairspray” is playing at the Canyon Theatre Guild, located at 24242 Main Street in Newhall. For more information or to purchase tickets call 661-799-2702 or visit www.canyontheatre.org.