'Hairspray' sells out 10 shows at Opera House

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
East Windsor - posted Thu., Mar. 7, 2013
Contributed
Edna Turnblad, played by Michael King, shows her excitement when Tracy gets a call from 'The Corny Collins Show.' Photos contributed by Krista Stepansky. - Contributed Photo

The Broad Brook Opera House is not a stranger to big, bold performances, but the Opera House Players may have outdone themselves with their recent production of “Hairspray.”

The Opera House Players’ performances went off without a hitch despite a severe snow storm which caused some rehearsals and shows to be rescheduled, including the opera house’s first ever Wednesday night performance. As the saying goes, "the show must go on," and that it did, as the musical sold out all 10 performances.

“We were dying to do the show,” said Director Becky Beth Benedict. “It got to a point where it didn’t matter what obstacle we were going to have to move, we were going to be doing a show. The turnout was amazing. The audience was pretty much of the same mind that we were; after a few days, you have enough of a storm and you are ready to reclaim life.”

Main character and bubbly teen Tracy Turnblad, played by Catherine Joseph, kept the audience’s energy pumping during the musical as she bounced around the stage, nailing every dance step and routine and charming them with her quirkiness and vivacity. While Joseph was the star of the musical, her parents Edna and Wilbur Turnblad, played by Michael King and Rick Fountain, Jr., were the glue, as they gave the heavy comical production some raw emotion and sentiment when they encouraged their daughter to shoot for the stars and never settle.

Nina Rodriguez, as Tracy’s best friend Penny Pingleton, charmed the audience and kept them smiling with her cute one-liners and innocent expressions. Ruben Soto, as Seaweed J. Stubbs, alongside The Dynamites, added charisma and soul to the show and left the audience in amazement with their powerful and mighty voices. “Each and every one of them grew as performers individually, and then as a whole ensemble cast,” Benedict said.

The flair and vibrancy of the 1960s was on display throughout the musical, as the cast of 24 donned their big hair, bright colors and bold patterns, and danced and sang their way across the stage to the delight of the audience. The fluidity between scenes and stages did not skip a beat.


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