Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hairspray, Civic Theatre - June 18, 2011

“Hairspray” began its life as a 1988 film. A Broadway production in 2002 turned it into a musical, and a movie musical was released in 2007.  Along the way, musical numbers were added and dropped but the basic plot remains the same and takes place in Baltimore in the 1960s.

The Civic put on a fine performance and certainly did the show justice. I’m not going to reveal the plot because if you are not familiar with it, you should see it fresh. It’s smart and funny.

The singing was excellent with wonderful performances by all involved. Choreography was well done, although many of the same moves/dance steps were frequently repeated. The dancers were light on their feet and joyful in their movements. The moving parts of the large dance crew were smooth at all times.

They did not receive top-tier billing, but Mike Frankey as Link Larkin, and Richard Carnegie as Seaweed Stubbs were outstanding performers, both in song and dance.  
Motormouth Maybelle was played by Lisa Whitley-Butler, and although she had one weak note, and once addressed Tracy as Penny, her voice was strong and beautiful, and her acting was superb. “I Know Where I’ve Been” was a show-stopper.

The Turnblad family is always the star of the show and all three actors did a fine job with their singing, dancing, and delivery of some very funny lines (Jolene Frankey, Todd Avery, and Davin Lepisto).

The players occasionally surprised us by appearing in the aisles of the theatre, and at one point long strands of confetti were shot out over the audience. A curtain that refused to fall near the end of the show surprised everyone but the actors quickly worked around it.
So enjoy this well-directed (Penelope Notter) romp back into the sixties with its big hair, small TVs, and the beginning of the civil rights movement. It’s energetic and entertaining from beginning to end and you can see it at the Civic until July 2. You will agree that “You Can’t Stop the Beat!”

Friday, June 10, 2011

Festival of the Arts 2011

For over 40 years, the Festival of the Arts has been occurring in Grand Rapids,
and this year the weather was outstanding.  The opening parade was not that well
attended but it was a very happy and festive group.

If you missed the Festival, look for it next year on the first weekend in June.


Last Year's Festival of the Arts