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August 9, 2012

Micky Dolenz, Paul Vogt to head cast in Baltimore Symphony's concert version of 'Hairspray'

Back in February, when the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra announced its 2012-2013 season, one event stood out as a guaranteed box office hit -- a concert version of "Hairspray" to mark the 25th anniversary of the John Waters film that inspired that Broadway musical.

The project, with Waters providing the narration, is bound to generate even more interest now that the BSO has added casting details.

"Hairspray: In Concert" will feature a blast from the past as Wilbur Turnblad -- Micky Dolenz of "The Monkees," the made-for-TV band that became a 1960s sensation. (He'll be reuniting with the remaining members for a tour this November; Davy Jones died last February.)

The drag role of Wilbur's wife Edna will be played by actor and comedian Paul Vogt, who has performed it on Broadway. His many television credits include appearances on "MADtv," "The Rerun Show," "Grey’s Anatomy," and "Glee."

The Turnblad's zaftig, racially colorblind daughter, Tracy, whose desire to dance on a TV show sets "Hairspray" in motion, will be played by Marissa Perry. It's a role she has done on Broadway; she's currently in the New York production of "Sister Act."

Tony Award winner (for "The Drowsy Chaperone") Beth Leavel will play Velma Von Tussle, the evil TV producer who stands in Tracy's way.

Others in the cast: ...

Nick Adams (Link Larkin), NaTasha Yvette Williams (Motormouth Maybelle), currently appearing on Broadway in "The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess"; Rhiannon Hansen (Amber Von Tussle); and Bret Shuford (Corny Collins).

Although billed as a concert version, this "Hairspray" will hardly be immobile. There will be staging and choreography by Jennifer Ladner, costuming by Clare Henkel.

BSO principal pops conductor Jack Everly will lead the first performances with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Jan. 11-13 (he's also principal pops conductor of that ensemble).

The BSO performances will begin Jan. 24 at the Music Center at Strathmore, then move to Meyerhoff Symphony Hall for four performances, Jan. 25-27, including a just-added matinee on Jan. 26.

"All of the stars are aligned," Everly said in statement released Thursday. "We have the original filmmaker John Waters; a superior cast of actors, singers and Broadway stars, many of whom have performed in previous 'Hairspray' productions; the epitome of 1960s pop culture with musician Micky Dolenz; and two major orchestras collaborating in this significant full symphonic production."

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Posted by Tim Smith at 12:49 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: BSO, Clef Notes, Drama Queens
        

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at baltimoresun.com/artsmash. This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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