Written by 6:15 pm Anaheim, Review, The Chance Theater, Uncategorized

Hairspray @ The Chance Theater in Anaheim – Review

Written by Zack Johnston 

Two words come to mind from seeing Chance Theater’s production of the Broadway hit Hairspray: fun and professional.

The Tony Award-winning musical, which opened July 10, features a stand-out cast and dazzling production design that brings audience members into the heat of early 1960s Baltimore.


Courtesy: True Image Studios

A young and ambitious Tracy Turnblad has her heart set on becoming famous and getting the guy of her dreams, but her close-minded town presents every obstacle it can to keep her from expressing herself. Along the rough road to Tracy’s success, she helps spark an effort to racially integrate The Corny Collins Show, a popular local dance show, in hopes that everyone can enjoy themselves.

This light-hearted campy musical presents itself with infectious rhythms and charming humor while instilling a timeless message of civil rights in America.

Each performer in this production, directed by Kari Hayter, brings a delightful energy to the stage with excellent comedic timing, powerful vocals, and impressive choreography by Kelly Todd and Christopher M. Albrecht.

Taylor H. Hartsfield plays the adventurous and loveable Tracy. From her captivating entrance for “Good Morning Baltimore,” Hartsfield is committed and alive throughout her performance. Her impressive vocals and comedic skills earn her laughs and applause while keeping the story moving.

Hartfield shares an amusing dynamic with Sarah Pierce, who plays Tracy’s school friend, Penny Pingleton. Pierce stands out as a comedic performer in her scenes with Tracy and her moments as Penny goes after her dream guy, Seaweed. The smooth and charismatic dancer is played by Xavier J. Watson, who brings charm and humor to his role.


Courtesy: True Image Studios

When she’s not fighting for social change, Tracy is swooning over her love interest, Link, the leading performer on The Corny Collins show, played by Cody Bianchi. Bianchi displays all the traits of a teenage heartthrob while bringing a sense of vulnerability and impressive vocals to his character.

Tracy’s main obstacle in her way is the bigoted producer of The Corny Collins Show and former “Miss Baltimore Crabs,” Velma Von Tussle. The spiteful show businesswoman is played by Camryn Zelinger, who portrays all the characteristics of a possessed pageant mom in all the right ways. As a producer, Velma’s goal is to simply put her daughter Amber, played by Ellie Wyman, into the spotlight. Wyman brings an abundance of sass and wit along with her amazing vocals to this coming-of-age diva.


Courtesy: True Image Studios

While Tracy receives lots of support from her peers, her biggest supporters are her parents, Edna and Wilbur Turnblad, played by Joe Tish and Robin Walton, respectively. Tish performs wonderfully convincing as Tracy’s bashful mother and never misses a beat when cracking a joke. Walton is captivating as Tracy’s cheerful father and brings a delightful level of authenticity to his performance. Together, this quirky couple exudes adorable sincerity and gut-busting humor.

The other seasoned actors in this production include Karen Webster and Corky Loupe, who each play various characters throughout the show. Webster and Loupe each showcase their professionalism as comedic performers in multiple roles.

Although Hairspray has its roots set in the early ’60s, its message of pursuing happiness and what is right is timeless. Hairspray runs through August 9 at the Chance Theater.




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