Wow. Just wow.
That was my first response upon seeing the Leesville High production of Hairspray. The musical has something for everyone; singing, dancing, comedic wit and even a bit of history. Set in 1960s Baltimore during segregation, the play takes on societal change while entertaining the audience every minute of the way.
The show opens with Tracy Turnblad (Priscilla Block) strutting down the aisle singing “Good Morning Baltimore”, with a cheeriness and delight that lasts throughout the whole show. She meets up with her friend Penny Pingleton (Lizzy Gifford) to watch the Corny Collins Show, the local teenage dance-along TV show. Corny (Peter Sherk), the host of the show, oversees the cast of popular kids known as The Council, and Tracy wants nothing more than to be on the Council. The star of the Corny Collins Show, Amber Von Tussle (Anna Longenecker) is the daughter of the producer, Velma Von Tussle (Cassie Seale), who keeps the show completely white except for Negro Day, once a month, organized by Motormouth Maybelle (Remi Olagoke).
The characters efforts to desegregate the Corny Collins Show offered over two hours of delight to the sold-out show’s audience. While a lot of shows get standing ovations simply because of the work it took to put together the ensemble, this show earned its standing ovation at the end with outstanding quality.
The cast absolutely blew me away. Seale’s version of the villainous Velma Von Tussle made everyone in the crowd bristle with disgust. This musical was Block’s first production at Leesville, and will be hard to beat. Her pitch was near flawless, she did not falter on a single line and she was absorbed in her character.
The set was gorgeous as well. The paint was crisp, the lights perfect and the giant bottle of hairspray that Edna Turnblad (Kordell Draper) stepped out of was an enjoyable twist to the end of the show.
The costumes made you feel like you were transported back to the ‘60s. The Council’s outfits were reminiscent of the ones in 1960’s videos you see in history class, and the entire cast, including the “camera man” were dressed in character with the scene.
Involved in the production of the show were 44 seniors, including Jesse McGuire (Prudy Pingleton) and Kordell Draper.
Leesville would like to wish all of the seniors good luck with their futures, and remember: You’re timeless to Leesville.