I have been so looking forward to this year’s yearly live musical offering because ‘Hairspray’ is one of my favorite shows, one of the few I love from recent years (I am a traditionalist) Based on all press releases and interviews I have seen, the hype is sky high I don’t know if my expectations could be matched. But, it was, and this is quite possibly now my top favorite of all the live musicals of today. My thoughts
- This seems to be the perfect musical from these post-election times. There are so much thinly veiled digs against Trump. I mean, we have Hillary supporters Harvey Fierstein, Sean Hayes, Garrett Glayton – they all campaigned for her. And hello, it even cast his arch nemesis Rosie O Donnell. We have a line from Hamilton, Trump’s most hated musical. And not to mention the general theme of the show – inclusion, acceptance, music: all the things Trump stands against. When Jennifer Hudson sings ‘I Know Where I Have Been,’ the message couldn’t be any clearer
- Oh, my Garrett Clayton – my newest crush. I have to admit, when he is on screen, I cannot take my eyes off him. But as everyone I know observed – he just seemed a little too fey to be Link Larkin, although in that sense he is perfect for the post millennial crowd – for these kids, sexual orientation is such a non issue that who cares if Link is gay.
- Jennifer Hudson was fantastic and probably this is my most favorite of all her roles, because I have never been a great fan of her acting, even in yes, her Effie. And alongside Kristen Chenowith – the night’s MVP – she was able to keep up. I will always love Kristi Dawn – one of those rare comedic actresses nowadays that all is vavavavoom and reminiscent of yesterday’s superstars but still reading very modern.
- The rest of the cast is great, for sure. Fierstein can do this role in his sleep, and who can do better line readings? Special mention to Marty Short. Ariana Granda mostly fails, but when Penny became a diva, I was on board. And Dove Cameron – don’t know her, but now I am a fan. I was sometimes rooting for Amber more than Tracy, which suffered from Maddie Bailo’s subtler performance – in her hands, this Tracy was a bit unbelievable as a teenage dancing queen, Sorry.
- All in all , a great night of theater. I hope a lot of people saw it and will be theaterified!