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Monday, December 26, 2011

Make an appointment to see Hairspray at Signature!

I have really come to treasure seeing plays in smaller theaters. Even when I go to New York, I try to see off-Broadway shows for that more intimate experience.  Of course, Washington has its share of smaller venues and once in a while, the experience can be amazing - like Ruined at Arena last year, Woolly's Bright New Boise or Constellation's Three Sisters.  I can safely and enthusiastically add Hairspray, currently at Signature Theater, to that list. This is a show that slowly buiilds with a wonderful score by Marc Shaiman and a serviceable book by the great Thomas Meehan. By the time it hits its stride in the second act, your realize you're about 5 rows away from an amazingly talented and diverse cast singing hummable songs. The plot - about integration in Baltimore in the early '60s by way of a kids music show - feels important. And then Nova Y. Payton blows us away with her big number. And then Can't Stop the Music finishes things up in an all-out party.  Please go see this show if you can.  Signature puts on many new works that hit and miss - they should be commended - but this is what they, namely director Eric Schaeffer, do best. Oh, and Robert Aubry Davis should be commended for playing the mother (why doesn't AroundTown have a place to play every week?).

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