Hairspray’s More Than Wigs, Brigit Gets Goddess

Quick Look at Spring Awakening, Happy Days


No, Hairspray is not about wigs and The Great Goddess Bazaar is not a fancy feminist flea market. Hairspray is a really big musical at the Omaha Community Playhouse and Goddess is a unique one-woman show from Brigit Saint Brigit Theatre.

Both are a bit overshadowed by the myriad offerings of the Great Plains Theatre Conference, but fully worthy of their own place in the spotlight. But Brigit’s Cathy M.W. Kurz probably won’t complain because Equity actor Tammy Meneghini was hooked up with the conference and became available as guest artist to play the nine characters in David Rush’s all-woman menagerie of comedy, tragedy and passion.

So, facing actor-scheduling conflicts, Kurz postponed The Canterbury Tales until next season and booked The Great Goddess Bazaar for two weekends from Thursday, May 24, through a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, June 2. Check out the details at 402.502.4910 or bsbtheatre.com.

Hairspray also isn’t about an enormous man playing the mother of a teen-age girl, although the likes of Divine and John Travolta may have given that impression. The Playhouse has the less massive Jim McKain, who should make a wonderful Edna. It’s more about her daughter Tracy and the teen-agers who stand up for tolerance and help integrate American Bandstand, and it’s so appealing that director Susie Baer Collins picked her cast from a record turnout. It opens Friday and runs well into June.

I finally got to both Spring Awakening at the Blue Barn and Happy Days at Chanticleer last week. The best thing about catching the Fonz and Richie Cunningham musical was hearing, “We’re Coming Back!” with the promise of an impressive four-show 60th season, complete with an added cabaret schedule.

Next best for me were the Dialtones, the street-corner quartet of Matt Hemingway, John Jones, Chris Ebke and Tyler Butler as Richie, Potsie, Ralph Malph and Chachi. They gave me that 1950s feeling. Stephen Michael Shelton has been appealing in many roles but needed a bit more oomph as Fonzie. It’s not easy being both super-cool and still high energy.

The best thing about Spring Awakening is its six-week run and the high ticket demand. Gives me time to write more about it next week and reconsider its obvious strengths, the tremendous treatment by director Susan Clement-Toberer and a terrific cast led by Sam Swerczek. And I’ll weigh the weakness unavoidable in its powerful story.

 

                                                                        —Warren Francke

 

Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com.

 

 

 


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