Infectious ensemble turns ‘Hairspray’ into a dance party

Jenna Lea Scott as Tracy Turnblad and Jon Allen as Seaweed Stubbs in “Hairspray,” at Wheelock Family Theatre.
Jenna Lea Scott as Tracy Turnblad and Jon Allen as Seaweed Stubbs in “Hairspray,” at Wheelock Family Theatre.Gary ng

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An irresistible score combined with an outstanding cast make the Wheelock Family Theatre’s production of “Hairspray” a highlight of the theater season.

Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman’s musical adaptation of John Waters’s 1988 movie celebrates individuality in all its glorious forms. Shaiman’s rock score references just the right musical themes from the 1950s and ’60s while making fresh new songs that serve the musical theater storytelling format. Wittman’s lyrics are hilarious, working period-specific pop culture references into rhymes that also move the story along and develop this quirky crowd of characters.

And what a crowd they are. Director Susan Kosoff and musical director Matthew Stern have cast the show with a healthy mix of familiar faces and new talent to populate Baltimore circa 1962, and every performer seems to be inspiring the others to up their game.

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HAIRSPRAY

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