Dallas Theater Review: ‘Hairspray’ Is A Fantastic Production

Review by Lauryn Angel

The stage of the Winspear Opera House was transformed into the streets of Baltimore on Saturday night, as Tracy Turnblad (Michelle Dowdy) and “the nicest kids in town” brought the Broadway musical Hairspray to Dallas.

It’s 1962, and Tracy and her best friend, Penny Pingleton (Taylor O’Toole) are obsessed with the Corny Collins Show, on which good-looking teenagers dance to the latest tunes. In particular, Tracy is obsessed with teen idol Link Larkin (Joel Ingram). Tracy has all the moves and a mile-high hairdo, but her curvy figure means producer Velma Von Tussle (Cara Serber) won’t even let her audition. Even worse, the star of the show, Amber Von Tussle (Deanna Ott) is dating Tracy’s crush. Events take a turn in Tracy’s favor when Corny Collins himself (Shane Allen) sees Tracy dance at a sock hop and arranges to get her on the show. Soon, Tracy’s progressive ideas — such as “Every day should be Negro Day!” – start to cause trouble.

Anyone who has seen either film version of Hairspray knows that in addition to its messages of acceptance and love, the story is a whole lot of fun to watch, and this production certainly lives up to the hype. It’s clear the cast is having just as much fun as the audience as Cara Serber vamps across the stage as a deliciously wicked Velma, Liz Mikel’s Motormouth Maybelle expertly delivers tongue-twisting rhyme after rhyme, and David Coffee’s Edna Turnblad tries to keep everyone grounded. Mikel and Coffee are the standout performers here. Coffee makes Edna absolutely charming as she goes on her own journey, learning from Tracy’s confidence that it’s never too late to follow her dreams.

Hairspray is at the Winspear Opera House through July 15. Do yourself a favor and grab tickets to this fantastic production!

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