Broadway Sacramento, CA

Upbeat HAIRSPRAY Holds Well

“This production is the most energetic show of the Music Circus season, and it boasts a slew of outstanding performances.”

“Paul Vogt plays Tracy's mother, Edna Turnblad, continuing the tradition begun when Waters cast Divine in the role in the film. Vogt has some big shoes to fill here, and he never stumbles. Edna's husband, Wilbur, is played by Dick Decareau, who takes the term "supporting role" literally. His opening-night duet with Vogt on "Timeless to Me" brought cheers and applause – and very nearly a midshow standing ovation.”

“As Motormouth Maybelle, Sacramento-area native Inga Ballard also drew cheers at the conclusion of her stirring solo, ‘I Know Where I've Been.’ The confident Wilkie Ferguson as Seaweed J. Stubbs and the hilarious Hayley Podschun as Penny Pingleton shine, as do John Scherer as Corny Collins, Tyler Hanes as heartthrob Link Larkin, Heather Nichole White as Amber Von Tussle and Joanna Glushak as her unscrupulous mother, Velma.”

“Director Gary John LaRosa establishes a momentum perfectly attuned to the sentiment of the show's closing theme, ‘You Can't Stop the Beat.’”

“The inevitability of change – and the power of youth, love and music to bring it about – is all right there: "You can't stop the motion of the ocean, or the rain from above. You can try to stop the paradise we're dreamin' of, but you cannot stop the rhythm of two hearts in love. You can’t stop the beat.”

Jim Carnes – Sacramento Bee – 8/21/08

This Theatre-in-the-Round Should Be Year-Round

“The 2008 Music Circus season is history, but its bookend musicals, The Sound of Music and the recently ended Hairspray, bring to mind the pleasures of Sacramento's summertime theater-in-the-round.”
“Likewise, in Hairspray, the 2003 Tony Award-winning musical comedy about segregated Baltimore in the early 1960s, the leads carried this appealing show with their talent, vocal skills and timing.”

“Though Tracy's trials to integrate ‘The Corny Collins Show,’ a TV dance show, is the primary story line, this piece based on the 1988 John Waters film curiously, at the end, feels all about Edna. The show-closing and marquee number, ‘You Can't Stop the Beat,’ is highlighted by Edna's humorous grand "entrance" from a humongous Ultra Clutch hairspray can. That was true for Fierstein in New York, Vilanch in San Francisco and Vogt in Sacramento. The good news is that Vilanch and Vogt – and especially director Gary John La Rosa in Sacramento – smartly toned down the focus on Edna's character and spread it around to the entire cast.”

“Still great fun, even for a third time.”

“And it is still great fun to sit inside one of the nation's oldest circular theaters, enjoying a grand tradition of classical and new American musical theater. This theater-in-the-round should be year-round.”

Richard Bammer – The Reporter – 9/3/08

© 2024 Gary John La Rosa