KAREN IS A SUPERSTAR SONGWRITER AND SINGER KAREN IS 4 EVER.
KAREN IS ONE OF THE MOST LOYAL, DEDICATED AND CREATIVE TEAM PLAYERS I KNOW
IF YOU WANT IT DONE RIGHT CALL KAREN ANDERSON
We can’t forget Karen Anderson who plays Motormouth Maybell — but the entire cast is excellent.
We loved the Music..! We Enjoyed it a lot..! Love You Karen..!
The premise of “Hairspray” centers around Tracy Turnblad, a chubby teenager with a big dream: to appear on the Corny Collins rock and roll TV show, to win a dance contest, to capture the heart of handsome Link Larkin and to integrate the show. Jill Sullivan, not yet a member of Actors Equity, sings and dances well, giving her all to the role of Tracy, a student with teased hair and always in trouble; she makes us care about her, her family and her plight. Michael Barra is a marvelous Edna, Tracy’s enormous stay-at-home mom, who finds a new life. Neal Mayer is a reliable Wilbur, Tracy’s sympathetic father. Abby Hart is a skinny wiggly Penny Pingelton, Tracy’s best friend, who is hog-tied by a repressive mom, Prudy, played with spirit by Melissa McLean. Gregory Lawrence Gardner as Seaweed J. Stubbs, an African/ American high school student is a standout. Justin Gerhard is a very attractive love-interest Link; does anyone remember the original part was played by Matthew Morrison, now the star of TV’s “Glee.” Sam Schrader keeps things moving as Corny Collins.
However, it is Karen Anderson, beautiful as Motormouth Maybelle, who, in two numbers, “Big, Blonde and Beautiful” and “I Know Where I’ve Been,” who brings down the house and raises the level of “Hairspray.” She reminds us of the late, great, Eartha Kitt.
LAST WEEK TO SEE “HAIRSPRAY” AT IVORYTON PLAYHOUSE – READ THE LATEST REVIEW HERE
By Don Church and Tony Schillaci, Critics On The Aisle
During this year’s televised Tony Awards, one of the ‘firsts’ in the history of the ceremonies was the exciting live feed of “Hairspray” from the largest cruise ship in the world, RCCL’s Oasis of the Seas. It is performed onboard twice a week. If cruising isn’t possible for you at the moment, cruise down to the Ivoryton Playhouse in Connecticut for its Broadway-sized production.
The bubbly, bouncy, buoyant and effervescent musical “Hairspray,” is now playing through July 29 with its still relevant subtext: you can’t stop the beat of love, acceptance and tolerance.
John Water’s first mainstream hit film, released in 1988, drove intolerant conservative types mad, and sent forward-thinking folks flocking to movie houses to see the cult figure Divine (Harris Glenn Milstead) in the role of Edna Turnblad. Mark Shaiman who wrote the score for the musical Hairspray (2002) wanted to continue the tradition of casting a male as Edna. Ivoryton’s production does not disappoint, with Michael Barra stepping into the giant mu-mu and fluffy slippers of Tracy Turnblad’s hard-working, brash-but-loving mom. Michael’s Edna is light on her feet and right on the beat.
Big girl Tracy is sympathetically played by Jill Sullivan, whose big voice opens the show as she starts her day singing “Good Morning, Baltimore,” and is then joined by the entire company. Tracy is obsessed with The Corny Collins Show (read American Bandstand wannabee). She’s in teeny-bopper love with the show’s dancing heartthrob, Link Larkin (Justin Gerhard). Tracy auditions for the show, but is rejected by producer Velma Von Tussle (Tara Michelle Gesling) because of her ample girth. When she finally meets Link, the anthem “I Can Hear The Bells” rings out. and the large cast becomes an energized force of nature.
Later, Tracey shows off some dance moves taught to her by new found ‘Negro Day’ friends, and Corny Collins is so impressed that he gives her a place on the show. Tracey is soon launched to Baltimore stardom, but is appalled that the show is not integrated, and helps organize protests and marches to do just that.
Joining Tracy in her quest for justice is her best friend forever, Penny Pingleton, brilliantly played by Abby Hart. Abby’s Penny is deliciously doofy, and she elicits lots of laughs with her ‘doesn’t have a clue’ portrayal.
The songs in the show are reminiscent of many of the girl group hits of the ‘60’s. Three terrific singers, called The Dynamites (Kimberly Morgan, Shereen Macklin, and Alana Cauthen), give that ‘supreme’ style to the songs “Good Morning, Baltimore” “I Can Hear The Bells,” “Mama, I’m A Big Girl Now”, and ‘Welcome to the 60’s.” Their integration into the fabric of the musical numbers gives the show pace, style, and great vocal power.
Although we found the entire cast to be terrific, two great voices need to be singled-out: Kristen N Dowtin as Little Inez (“Run and Tell That”) and Karen Anderson as Motormouth Maybelle when she shook the rafters and got cheers for “I Know Where I’ve Been.”
Big rounds of applause also go to R. Bruce Connelly, playing multiple roles, who was equally at home in his wigs and loud jackets. Neal Meyer as Tracy’s dad, Wilbur Turnblad, owner of the Har Har Hut, let loose with his song-and-dance aplomb in his duet with Edna, “You’re Timeless To Me.” This soft-shoe style number illustrated the ‘opposites attract’ love between Mr. and Mrs. Turnblad.