|(The finale of "Hairspray" at the Beck Center in Lakewood. Photo by Kathy Sandham.)|
After almost a decade, "Hairspray" is joining the ranks of "Bye Bye Birdie" as a perennial, warm-hearted teen romp spawning a superb movie adaptation and endless productions from civic centers to summer camps. Thanks to Martin Cespedes' homage-laden musical staging giddily merged with Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman's popsical score, the evening takes on the aura of a summer costume party, which is wildly appropriate in a show whose Big Mama is in reality a Big Papa. What makes the show so charming is the effortless manner in which it combines the bubble-gum fantasies of a fat girl who wants to dance on a fictionalized teenage TV dance show with the historical urgency of the early '60s Civil Rights movement, pulling off that rare tightrope walk of being profoundly silly.
|(Tracy Turnblad's older sister, that forgotten inamorata of the '70s and '80s, better known as Linda Ronstadt.)|
This is not to be thought of merely as an evening of period laughing gas. For the show, particularly in this incarnation, cherishes the Waters template of tolerance and inclusion, offering the same kind of delicious paradox as finding Granny in her bustier baking legendary apple pies in a leather bar.
"Hairspray" runs at Beck Center through Sunday, August 14. For tickets, call 216-521-2540.