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Gerald Carpenter: PCPA Theaterfest Goes Big with ‘Hairspray’

Production runs through July 2 in the Marian Theater in Santa Maria, then moves to Solvang Festival Theater

From the amiably warped sensibility of John Waters to the family-friendly confines of the Marian Theater in Santa Maria comes, by way of Broadway, the hit musical Hairspray.

It’s based on the 1988 Waters film of the same name, which was turned into a stage musical in 2002, with music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman, and a book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan.

The PCPA Theaterfest production, directed and choreographed by Michael Jenkinson, opens Thursday and runs through July 2, when it will move to the Festival Theater in Solvang for a July 8-31 run.

Hairspray is the story of full-figured gal Tracy Turnblad, who sports an imposing bouffant hairdo held in place with the eponymous aerosol product. (The year is 1962, so the feminine ideal is Jackie Kennedy, who popularized that hairstyle; the story is by Waters, so of course the city is Baltimore.)

Oblivious to the potential handicap of her plumpness, Tracy is ambitious for a career in show business. She competes for — and wins — a spot on a local TV variety program, The Corny Collins Show. Tracy, whose heart — i.e., social conscience — is commensurate in size with the rest of her, decides to use her newly won celebrity-hood as a platform to work for the racial integration of the show. To accomplish this, she must outwit the show’s craven but cunning producer, usurp the reigning “Teen Queen” and win the love of pop-star Link Larkin — all without mussing her huge, brittle do.

The PCPA Hairspray stars Bree Murphy as Tracy, Sam Zeller as her mother-cum-agent Edna, John Keating as Link Larkin, George Walker as Corny Collins, Natasha Harris as Penny Pingleton, Jillian Van Niel as Amber Von Tussle, with Elizabeth Stuart and Billy Breed. The production features sets by DeAnne Kennedy, costumes by Frederick Deeben, lighting by Jen Zornow and sound by Elisabeth Rebel.

For single tickets ($29.50 to $32.50) and more information, click here or call the box office at 805.922.8313.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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