Theater

Big hair, big fun

Lakewood, Performance Now stage ‘Hairspray’

Performance Now and Lakewood’s presentation of the musical, “Hairspray,” takes audiences back to the 60s, with joy, music and humor. Photo courtesy of RDG Photography
Performance Now and Lakewood's presentation of the musical, "Hairspray," takes audiences back to the 60s, with joy, music and humor. Photo courtesy of RDG Photography
Performance Now and Lakewood's presentation of the musical, "Hairspray," takes audiences back to the 60s, with joy, music and humor. Photo courtesy of RDG Photography
Performance Now and Lakewood's presentation of the musical, "Hairspray," takes audiences back to the 60s, with joy, music and humor. Photo courtesy of RDG Photography
Tracy (Sarah Dutcher) stars in "Hairspray," produced by Performance Now theater company. Photo courtesy of RDG Photography
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The 1960s was an age of great music, shifting cultures and a rise in the voice of America’s youth.

All of these facets are captured in the musical “Hairspray,” which is taking the stage in Lakewood, thanks to a partnership with the Performance Now Theatre Company.
The show will be running at the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway, through April 14. Performances are at 7:30 p.m on Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

“We’re lucky to have a lot of great singers, dancers and actors in the show and we’re really excited about it,” Ken Goodwin, executive producer with Performance Now said. “We haven’t done a show in a while that has this much dancing.”

With music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, “Hairspray” takes place in Baltimore, Md., in 1962. All that teenager Tracy Turnblad wants to do is dance on “The Corny Collins Show” — a TV dance program loosely based on the Buddy Deane Show.

Tracy wins a chance to perform on the show, which leads to a host of attention and meets a vast array of people, from the show’s host Corny Collins to Velma Von Tussle, the show’s deceitful producer.

When Tracy wants to start integrating the show, things get hairy fast.

“The show is about a lot, but one of the main things is integration,” Goodwin said. “It’s been great to work with a diverse cast, since that is such an important part of the story.”

For Goodwin, one of the most exciting things about “Hairspray” is the new cast members he and director Kelly Van Oosbree get to work with.

“It’s great that we have a lot of new people in the show, and some of the leads are performing for the first time,” he said. “We had a pretty short turnaround — only 6 or 7 weeks to prepare — but we’re looking and sounding good.”

This is the first time Performance Now has put on “Hairspray,” and Goodwin said the group is excited to put on a production that most in the company don’t have experience with.

“There is some fantastic music in the show and the band we have is incredible,” he said. “This show really brings a wide fan base with it and it is especially popular with younger people because of the music and the younger cast.”

The show is the twelfth co-presentation between Lakewood and Performance Now, a partnership that has been extremely beneficial to both groups, according to Susan Martin, cultural center administrator.

“It’s a great opportunity whenever we work with them, and it allows both of us to expand and find something new to offer,” she said. “Performance Now brings a higher level than a lot of community theater, and this allows us to reach a different audience.”

Martin added that one of the best parts of the partnership is that it can draw more people to the theater than would normally be interested, and allows that interest to really spread through the community.

For Goodwin and everyone involved, the best way to describe the production of “Hairspray” is simple — fun.

“There’s a lot of energy and it appeals to everyone,” he said. “It really is just an entertaining night at the theater.”
For more information, call 303-987-7845 or visit www.lakewood.org/tickets.