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HAIRSPRAY Los Angeles Run Review
Michael J. Herman  -- Mr. Motivation -- The World's Biggest Motivational Force Michael J. Herman -- Mr. Motivation -- The World's Biggest Motivational Force
Granada Hills, CA
Tuesday, May 9, 2023


HAIRSPRAY Los Angeles Run Review

There is no other way to say it than Hairspray, now at the Dolby Theater thru May 21st is a Showstopper, a musical extravaganza, and a sight to see.

Hairspray follows a 1960s Tracy Turnblad stuck in a limiting paradigm of social, political, racial, and sexual repression searching for a way to break through those norms in search of greater personal expressions through music and dance.

From curtain-up, the vocals that fill the auditorium rock the house and the tintinnabulation of every instrument vibrates with excitement. Having seen the Broadway run more than a decade ago, and the John Travolta film vehicle several times, this production elevates the emotional impact of teen angst set against racism, sexism, homophobia, and the struggles of economic warfare with distinct differences. It seems like these issues are even more prominent today than when Hairspray debuted.

The delivery of Hairspray is astonishing. Excellence has been applied to every detail.   Audiences are drawn in, kept there and never want to leave, even for a moment is a testament to the relevance of this musical journey.

Without exception, every performer is among the best I've seen all year.

The orchestrations are phenomenal, and something that rarely gets any recognition in any theatrical review but warrants recognition here are the sound and lighting design. The way the experience sucks you in from the very first drum beat and holds you on the edge of your seat for the more than two hours of fist pumping, out-loud singing along with every song is a cohesive endeavor achieved by masterful theatrical engineering.

I'd like to say this is not a whitewash review, but in all honesty, I'm hard pressed to find a single flaw in this production. The fact it speaks to so many social issues, while creating one of the most enjoyable nights of theater in all of 2023 is a compliment to the entire company. The score contains more than one showstopper and at its finale with "You Can't Stop The Beat", I as an audience member found myself wanting still more.

The original Broadway choreographer Jerry Mitchell made a radiant appearance glowing with elation at the success of the premier. He even gave kudos to Mark Shaiman Thomas Mehan for their Tony nom for Some Like It Hot now on Broadway which brought an uproar from the house.

But perhaps the most inspiring aspect of this musical is just that – the choreography is not only show stopping, but quite mindboggling. The combination of so many different styles of dance and movement being integrated all at once reminded me of the Ringling Bros. Circus.

Look over here. Now look over there. Now look way over there, and now back over here. It was dizzying taking it all in from such a diverse cast in such an iconic venue like the Dolby theater left a packed house drenched in joy and satisfaction.

It was evident on the faces of every cast member and musician that the pleasure was     all theirs.

Hairspray is a sensation and one of Broadway's true jewels. Go see Hairspray, or you will regret missing it.               

Hairspray runs at the Dolby Theater through May 21 with tickets starting at $30.

Michael J. Herman is Interim Editor In Chief and Critic At Large for Luxury-Media Group. Find more of his bylines at Substack.com.

Please let me know if and how I can be of value.
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