The eternal sunshine of Hairspray

Although retired since 2014, I still relish opportunities to teach, write, and share opinions.

The iconic Broadway hit Hairspray is now at the Miller Theater until May 22. The Miller Theater is the new name of the former Merriam Theater.

Hairspray: The Musical is based upon the hit film by John Waters. The cast, sets, costumes, live orchestra and cast are a dream come true. Don’t miss it!

Hairspray boasts a great cast both in featured and supporting roles. Niki Metcalf is a phenomenal Tracy Turnblad. She embodies sex, innocence, naivete, and a burning zeal to right wrongs in her Baltimore. As her parents, Andrew Levitt and Christopher Swan never fail to bring down the house. Mr. Levitt as matriarch Edna Turnblad channels his drag personna Nina West. As Nina West, he has appeared on Ru Paul’s Drag Race, raised four million dollars so far for LGBTQA+ causes and for his Nina West Foundation. The moment his Edna Turnblad entered the stage a roar of approval rose from the audience. As husband to Edna and father to Traci, Wilbur Swan was exceptional. Edna’s and Wilbur’s (You’re) Timeless To Me” was breathtaking, hilarious, and sensational. When Wilbur and Edna kissed, the house went wild. Supporting cast was strong with, among others, Billy Dawson, Will Savarese, Jamonte D. Bruten, and Greg Kalafatas assuming several roles.

The legendary William Ivey Long created the costumes, along with a crackerjack team for sets, lighting, hair, and the live orchestra conducted by Patrick Hoagland. 
For a feel good, snap-happy musical, do not miss Hairspray.

Please note that opening night had a few issues which need mentioning. At 7pm for a 7:30 curtain,the line to enter the Miller wound around the front of the Academy of Music towards that theater’s stage door. Hopefully, subsequent performances cut this 30-minute wait. Do remember to bring your safety mask and wear it properly. Don’t wait until you are blocking the entrance to search for your vaccination card and driver’s license. Put your card and old expired driver’s license in a plastic baggie for easy reference. The Miller had an apparently bad air circulating system opening night. The audience were fanning themselves with their programs because of it being so hot and airless. It has surely been resolved. Being a complex musical with outstanding production values, there were technical difficulties which have surely been resolved. And a plus for many, a quite long intermission, for those who purchase and drink a beverage in the lobby. You have 30 minutes to do so.

Hairspray: The Broadway Musical is at the Miller Theater, part of the Kimmel Cultural Campus. This is one of the Broadway Philadelphia presentations. For more information about this show, other shows, and tickets, visit:

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