Photo of Carly Jibson and Austin Miller
Carly Jibson and Austin Miller.
Photo: Paul Kolnik
Finally, the musical-theatre exorcism of the repressive late '50's and early '60's has begun! Hairspray has taken all that catchy, formulaic music and put it to use challenging the sexism, bigotry, and hypocrisy that, as other art forms have so painstakingly detailed, lie just beneath the surface of "the good old days."

Photo of Donna Vivino, Jordan Ballard, Angela Gaylor
Donna Vivino, Jordan Ballard, and
Angela Gaylor. Photo: Paul Kolnik

In a fun-packed, big-hearted, high-energy, over-the-top celebration, the Broadway road show adaptation of John Water's campy 1988 film shatters the prejudices against big women, gays, and interracial relationships in one unwavering breath and comes out on top.

Photo of Austin Miller, Sandra DeNise, Terron Brooks and Carly Jibson
Austin Miller, Sandra DeNise, Terron
Brooks and Carly Jibson.
Photo: Paul Kolnik
Carly Jibson as Tracy Turnblad, the irrepressible, chunky heroine, is so endearing, you just want to hug her. Singing and dancing with all those svelte, long-legged chorus girls and boys, she single-handedly changes our concept of what a teenage heartthrob is all about (Britney clones watch out!).

Photo of Bruce Vilanch and Carly Jibson with the Company
Bruce Vilanch and Carly Jibson
with the Company.
Photo: Paul Kolnik

As her mother, Bruce Vilanch takes on the cross-dressed role of Edna Turnblad, made famous in the movie by Divine and on Broadway by Harvey Fierstein, and makes it his own. You've got to go see this guy's face to believe it!

Photo of Sabrina N. Scherff, Deidre Lang, and NRaca
Sabrina N. Scherff, Deidre Lang,
and NRaca
Photo: Paul Kolnik

The score is filled with clever musical send-ups of the great hits from that period, and the choreography is athletic and fun. The bright pastels of the set and costumes back up this flash, and the comedic storyline is pleasingly both mythic and cathartic. When it is finally released for community and high school productions down the road a few years, Hairspray will change the acting careers and self-esteem of a previously ignored population.

Denver Center Attractions' presentation of Hairspray runs at the Buell Theatre through April 11th. 303-893-4100.

Bob Bows


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