July 09, 2015

‘Hairspray’ ready to spring onto McLeod stage

by Vincent Rhomberg

“Hairspray,” the big heart, big hair musical, dances onto the Southern Illinois University Carbondale McLeod Summer Playhouse stage for weekend performances beginning Friday, July 10. 

This “fab-mod” musical, with great 1960s-style music, tells the story of plus-sized teenager Tracy Turnblad who dances her way onto a local teen television show and breaks down its segregation policies. 

“Hairspray” plays at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, July 10 and 11, and again July 17 and 18. Matinee performances are at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 12 and July 19. Performances are in the McLeod Theater in the Communications Building. 

Audiences may remember “Hairspray” from earlier productions in other venues. The story has two film versions: the original 1988 John Waters’ production, and the 2007 version featuring John Travolta as the protagonist’s mother. The production appeared on Broadway beginning in 2002 and ran for more than 2,600 performances before closing in January 2009. 

The McLeod Summer Playhouse production features Olivia Gordon, of Anna, as Tracy, the loveable, big-hearted teenager. SIU alumnus and local theater celebrity Derek Hamblin plays the role of Tracy’s mother. 

Tickets are $27 for adults and $12 for students, with a special price of $8 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available at the SIU Arena or McLeod Theater box offices from noon to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, by phone at 618/453-6000 or online at playhouse.siu.edu.