And as for Edna’s hubby Wilbur — prepare for a flashback here — this show boasts the nimble and gleeful little gnome Eddie Mekka, who many moons ago was Carmine on Laverne & Shirley (he looks almost exactly the same). Where Mekka gets all that impish energy I have no idea, but he’s marvelous, and the couple is a zanily beautiful match. In fact, the playbill lists Mekka and Landry as the “stars” of the show, and they get a nice chunk of stage time in the second act, near the end of a love duet, for a little dirty extemporizing — one of the highlights.
But the whole show is satisfyingly entertaining, studded with a few good jabs (“Manipulating the judicial system just to win a contest is un-American”), and flush with the stellar cast’s impressive moves, energetic rapport, and voices I wished I could ride all night. Particularly swoon-worthy are the budding (and hilariously sexualized) mixed-race infatuation between Penny and Seaweed (a good opportunity to burlesque the stereotypical white American fascination with the black Other); Kaili Lani’s L’il Inez, Seaweed’s younger sister who’s got fire in her belly and can sure shake; and the whole show’s cast of delectable dancers. Like Tracy’s hair, her rump, and her spirit, the fun and virtuosity of this Hairspray is big stuff.
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Megan Grumbling: firstname.lastname@example.org
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