Wednesday, July 7, 2010; Posted: 04:07 PM - by BWW News Desk
Audiences will be whisked away to 1960s Baltimore when Pittsburgh CLO presents Hairspray July 20 - August 1 at the Benedum Center. Adapted for the stage from John Water's 1988 film, Hairspray ran on Broadway for over six years and has since become a toe-tapping hit all over the world.
Set in Baltimore in 1962, the energetic Hairspray tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, a larger-than-life personality with a big ‘do and big dreams of dancing on the local "Corny Collins Show." However, when she wins a spot on the program, Tracy must take on the show's dancing queen and the challenge of integrating a television show, all while trying to win the heart of teen celebrity Link Larkin. Hairspray's enthusiasm is contagious as it follows Tracy's passionate push for fairness and acceptance in a time of change. Featuring songs such as "Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now," "You Can't Stop the Beat" and "Good Morning, Baltimore," this Tony® Award-winning musical will have audiences singing and dancing all the way home.
ABOUT THE CAST
Drew Lachey (Corny Collins) comes to Pittsburgh CLO for the first time. Best known for winning ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" in 2006, he was also a member of the pop group 98 Degrees, along with his brother Nick. His film credits include "The Wisher" and "The Comebacks." He has also appeared on television's "As the World Turns," "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" and "Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica." Mr. Lachey has appeared on Broadway in Rent (Mark Cohen) and Spamalot (Patsy).
Jim J. Bullock (Wilbur) makes his Pittsburgh CLO debut as Wilbur after playing the role on the first National Tour of Hairspray. His theater work includes End of the World Party (off-Broadway) and the west coast premiere of When Pigs Fly, in a performance acclaimed by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle. His television credits include "The Hollywood Squares," NBC's "Alf," "The Jim J. and Tammy Faye Show," Nickelodeon's "Ned Declassified" and six seasons as Monroe on ABC's "Too Close for Comfort." He has also worked in film with such noted directors as Blake Edwards in "Switch" and Mel Brooks in the cult classic "Space Balls."
Michael Kadin Craig (Link Larkin) makes his Pittsburgh CLO debut after performing in the closing cast of the off-Broadway show Altar Boyz. Other NYC credits include High School Musical 2 and HSM Yearbook with Disney Theatricals, Broadway's Leading Men IV at Birdland, Lincoln Center's Only Children and Joe Iconis's Things to Ruin at Joe's Pub and Ars Nova. Regionally, he has portrayed Troy in HSM 1 & 2, Jonathan in tick...tick...BOOM!, and Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar. He was also seen on the second season of "American Idol" as a Hollywood Finalist.
Katrina Rose Dideriksen (Tracy) makes her Pittsburgh CLO debut. She reprises the role of Tracy from the Toronto production, the National Tour, and the Luxor production in Las Vegas opposite Harvey Fierstein. Other credits include the Carnegie Hall performance of Jerry Springer: The Opera, the GLSEN benefit performance of Zanna, Don't and Bernice Bobs Her Mullet in the New York Musical Theatre Festival.
Kecia Lewis-Evans (Motomouth Maybelle) joins Pittsburgh CLO for the first time. Her Broadway credits include Big River, Ain't Misbehavin', Once on This Island, Chicago and The Drowsy Chaperone. She also played the role of The Dragon in Shrek: The Musical during its tryout run in Seattle, and appeared in the National Tour of Dreamgirls. Her television credits include "Crossing Jordan," "The Hughleys" and "Law & Order."
Stuart Marland (Male Authority Figure) returns to Pittsburgh CLO after performing as Christopher Belling in Curtains and as Roger DeBris in The Producers. He also appeared as Father Michael in 2004's Lunch. He has appeared on Broadway in Xanadu (understudy for Tony Roberts), Beauty and the Beast, Jekyll & Hyde and Cyrano - The Musical. National Tours include The Producers, Seussical with Cathy Rigby, Evita, Ragtime, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber with Sarah Brightman, The Who's Tommy, A Chorus Line, Sophisticated Ladies and The King and I. Recent regional and stock roles include Les Miserables, Run For Your Wife, Dames at Sea and Man of La Mancha.
Luba Mason (Velma von Tussle) makes her Pittsburgh CLO debut. On Broadway, she has appeared in Chicago, Jekyll & Hyde, Paul Simon's The Capeman, the 1995 revival of How to Succeed in Business..., The Will Rogers Follies and Sid Caesar & Company. Regional credits include The Ten Commandments, Pippin and A Class Act. She has also made television guest appearances on "Raines," "NYPD Blue," "Law & Order," "All My Children" and "One Life to Live." Ms. Mason has released two solo albums ("Krazy Love" and "Collage") and can be heard as a guest vocalist on Ruben Blades' 2003 Grammy® Award-winning album "Mundo."
Rashad Naylor (Seaweed J. Stubbs) joins Pittsburgh CLO for the first time. His Broadway credits include understudying the role of "Seaweed" and originating the role of "Thad" in the original Tony® Award-winning company of Hairspray. Mr. Naylor recently concluded his run in the Chicago production of Jersey Boys. Other credits include Des McAnuff's reimagining of The Wiz and The Rat Pack: Live from Vegas.
Niki Scalera (Penny Pingleton) makes her Pittsburgh CLO debut as Penny after playing the role on Broadway. Her other Broadway credits include Tarzan and Jake's Women. She has also performed off-Broadway in The American Dream with James Naughton and Richard Greenberg's Vanishing Act. Regional theater credits include We Will Rock You, Putting It Together, and Our Town with Hal Holbrook, and television appearances include "Loving," "All My Children," "Another World," and the Emmy-nominated ABC Afterschool Special "Don't Touch." Ms. Scalera is an NYU Tisch graduate.
Ashley Spencer (Amber von Tussle) debuted with Pittsburgh CLO as Eponine in last summer's Les Misérables. She joins Pittsburgh CLO this season as Niki Harris in Curtains and Ulla in The Producers in addition to her role as Amber. She was a finalist on the NBC television series "Grease: You're the One that I Want!" and appeared in the National Tour of Barbie Live in Fairytopia. Her Broadway credits include Hairspray (Amber von Tussle) and Grease (Sandy Dumbrowski).
Paul Vogt (Edna Turnblad) reprises the role of Edna in his Pittsburgh CLO debut after playing the character on Broadway in 2007. He first gained recognition as a regular cast member on NBC's summer series "The Rerun Show" and is best known for his work on the hit television sketch series "MADtv." Mr. Vogt's film credits include "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement," "Raising Helen" and "Valentine's Day." He has also appeared on television as a guest star on "Chicago Hope," "Arrested Development," "Hannah Montana," "Grey's Anatomy" and a recent episode of "Glee." Mr. Vogt has received critical acclaim for his work onstage, including productions of Assassins, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing and Happy Days: The Musical.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION STAFF
Barry Ivan (Director and Choreographer) most recently directed this summer's Pittsburgh CLO production of Miss Saigon, which is currently playing at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto. Mr. Ivan served as the director and choreographer for the first-ever regional production of Hairspray at North Shore Music Theatre in 2006 and as director for Pittsburgh CLO's previous production of Miss Saigon in 2003. He has directed and choreographed numerous other Pittsburgh CLO shows, including Les Misérables, Smokey Joe's Café, The Full Monty, A Little Night Music, Company, Anything Goes, and West Side Story. Mr. Ivan's productions of Hairspray and The Full Monty have received Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Awards for Best Musical. He has also been IRNE nominated as Best Director for his productions of Les Misérables and Nine.
Tom Helm (Music Director) returns for his 15th season with Pittsburgh CLO, where he has been the musical director for more than 40 productions, including this summer's Miss Saigon, Curtains and The Producers, and 2009's Les Misérables, Barry Manilow's Copacabana and Into the Woods. On Broadway, he was the musical director of Les Misérables, Me and My Girl and the revival of Brigadoon. Mr. Helm was also the musical director for the First National Tour of Cats and conducted Cats on Broadway early in its historic run. Mr. Helm is the resident music director at Paper Mill Playhouse, where he has been the conductor for more than 30 productions. He is also the musical supervisor for live theater productions of Diego Live, Blue's Clues and Dora the Explorer.
John McLain (Lighting Designer) has spent more than 20 years designing nearly 75 productions for Pittsburgh CLO. Other credits include National and International productions of musicals, ballet and opera. Mr. McClain has also designed for Ice Capades, Radio City Music Hall, The Lido in Paris and Jubilee for the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and Reno. He has represented every major regional theater and opera company in the United States. In the summers, Mr. McClain divides time between Pittsburgh CLO, Theater of the Stars in Atlanta and the Dallas Summer Musicals. He has designed productions of Porgy and Bess across the globe and his national and regional credits include Rugrats, Camelot, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The King and I, The Sound of Music and Bombay Dreams.
HISTORY OF THE SHOW
In 1988, John Waters, an American independent filmmaker, wrote and directed "Hairspray." Distributed by New Line Cinemas, the film featured Ricki Lake as Tracy Turnblad, Sonny Bono as Franklin von Tussle, Jerry Stiller as Wilbur Turnblad, and drag queen personality Divine as Edna Turnblad. While the film did not see large success at the box office, it gained a cult following after its release on home video in the mid-1990s. After watching Waters' film, theater producer Margo Lion envisioned a stage version of the musical comedy. She invited Marc Shaiman and his partner, Scott Wittman, to write the score and lyrics, and asked Jack O'Brien, noted director of The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, California to direct.
Following a short tryout run at the 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle in July 2002, Hairspray opened in previews at the Neil Simon Theater in New York on August 15, 2002. The show netted advance sales of $12 million by opening day. The original cast featured Harvey Fierstein as Edna Turnblad, Marissa Jaret Winokur as Tracy Turnblad, Laura Bell Bundy as Amber Von Tussle, Kerry Butler as Penny Pingleton, and Matthew Morrison as Link Larkin. During the 2003 awards season, the show was nominated for 13 Tony® Awards and won eight, including the honors for Best Musical, Original Score, Book, Direction, Costume Design, both Leading Actor and Actress, and Featured Actor. It also took home 10 Drama Desk Awards and two Theatre World Awards. In 2007, the success of the show inspired a remake of the original movie, which starred John Travolta, Christopher Walken, Zac Efron, and Nikki Blonsky as Tracy.
After running for more than six years, Hairspray closed on Broadway on
January 4, 2009 after 2,642 performances. Both Harvey Fierstein and Marissa Jaret Winokur returned to reprise their iconic roles in the final cast. Successful productions of Hairspray have since opened all over the world, including London, Toronto, Johannesburg, Stockholm, and Shanghai, as well as various touring versions of the show in the United States.
ABOUT THE ORIGINAL CREATIVE TEAM
Marc Shaiman (Music and Lyrics) began his career as a vocal arranger for Bette Midler before becoming her musical director and co-producer. He is a prolific arranger and television/film composer whose work can be heard in "When Harry Met Sally," "Sister Act," "Sleepless in Seattle," and "Saturday Night Live." His career includes five Academy Award nominations, an Emmy Award, and 2003 Tony, Grammy, and Drama Desk Awards for his work on Hairspray.
Scott Wittman (Lyrics) has worked with Marc Shaiman for over thirty years, and the pair served as executive producers of the 2007 movie remake of Hairspray. He conceived, wrote lyrics for, and directed Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me on Broadway, and has directed concerts featuring stars such as Kristin Chenoweth, Christine Ebersole, Nathan Lane, Patti LuPone and Martin Short. He is currently collaborating with Shaiman and Terrance McNally on a musical version of Catch Me If You Can.
Mark O'Donnell (Book) is a writer and cartoonist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic, as well as several novels and comic collections. He is a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and the George S. Kaufman Award. Together with co-writer Thomas Meehan, he won the 2003 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for his work on Hairspray. The pair was also nominated in 2008 for the book of Cry-Baby.
Thomas Meehan (Book) was a frequent contributor of humor pieces to The New Yorker before winning a Tony Award in 1977 for Annie, which was his Broadway debut. Since then, he has authored shows including I Remember Mama, Bombay Dreams, and Young Frankenstein, taking home two more Tony's for both The Producers and Hairspray. He is a member of the Council of the Dramatists Guild, and has collaborated on several screenplays, the most recent of which was Elf.
Jerry Mitchell (Choreographer) began his career nearly thirty years ago as a dancer in the revival of Brigadoon. He has since staged numerous shows, including Hairspray, for which he was nominated for both Tony and Drama Desk Awards. In 2005 he won the Tony Award for La Cage aux Folles, while simultaneously nominated for his work on Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Most recently, he served as both choreographer and director of Legally Blonde: The Musical. He has also worked on Love Never Dies, Andrew Lloyd Weber's sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, as well as the new musical Catch Me If You Can.
TICKETS FOR THE 2010 SUMMER SEASON
Tickets for Hairspray start at $26.50 and are available online at pittsburghCLO.org, by calling 412-456-6666 or at the Box Office at Theater Square. Groups of 10 or more may call 412-325-1582.
Photo Credit: Genevieve Rafter-Keddy