MUST SEEREVIEWSREVIEWS BYSally Jo OsborneTheatre Reviews

Hairspray at Paramount Theatre

Book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehanhairspraylogo-300x129

Music by Marc Shaiman

Lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman

Directed and Choreographed by Amber Mak

Paramount Theatre’s HAIRSPRAY is full of Big Hair and Big Fun!

I Know Where I’ve Been and The Nicest Kids in Town are there! Paramount presents Hairspray, The Broadway Musical based on the 1988 John Waters movie. This show steps back in time, yet is timely. The energetic, thought provoking feel good musical always takes me to a happy place. The truly contagious energy that the cast brings to the stage is astounding!


Good Morning Baltimore Tracy Turblad (Amelia Jo Parish) is not your typical teenager. She has a bigger plan for her life (and her hair) than just watching the Corny Collins Show, she is determined to be a star! When she auditions for the show she is faced with judgmental show business executive Velma (Heather Townsend) and mean girl Amber (Samantha Pauley), yet she conquers onward not realizing at the time that her passion is a much larger more important issue than being seen on TV. She falls in love I Can Hear the Bells with dreamy Link (Henry McGinnis) and she is the voice of integration for persons of all color to dance together on network television. “Hairspray” has a way of addressing the social issues, which are so relevant today more than ever it seems in a way that really makes you want to join in the mission. Can’t we all just get along?

Directed and Choreographed by Amber Mak this fun and flashy show is sure to make you smile. The crafty and colorful costumes by Theresa Ham hits the mark and is delightful to the eye. Corny Collins (Devin DeSantis) is a delightful host with all the right moves and the right attitude! The loving relationship between Mama Edna (Michael Kingston) and loving Dad Wilbur (Michael Ehlers) remind us that love can be everlasting no matter what level of success or the size of your dress. The charming moments between the two in You’re Timeless to Me is as comforting as a hot cocoa on a cold winter’s night.


The playful and passionate relationship that begins to bloom between Seaweed (Gilbert Domally) and Penny Pingleton (Landree Fleming) is almost a side show within the show that keeps us amused throughout. The woman who knows and who speaks in prose, Motormouth Maybelle (E. Faye Butler) brings the house down singing, I Know Where I’ve Been and the inspiring Big Blonde and Beautiful along with Edna, Wilbur and Tracy was awesome!

The old fashioned television sets surrounding the stage on both sides playing commercials from the 60’s is another visual delight. I found myself dreaming about Morris the Cat and Charlie Tuna’s Chicken of the Sea for two days! The orchestra directed by Tom Vendafreddo was flawless.

Although there was a technical difficulty with the set on stage that interrupted the show during the beginning of the second half of the show, the crew fixed the problem like true professionals. After all the show must go on and it did with renewed energy and excitement. I have to say my daughter who already saw the movie and knew the music said that this is the best show she has ever seen and she has seen many!
As Tracy Turnblat would say “Eat some breakfast and change the world!” Venture out and see this show you will be in for a treat.

Highly Recommended

Reviewed by: Sally Jo Osborne January 23, 2016

[email protected]

For more information, see the “HAIRSPRAY” page at

Playing at The Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora, IL 630-896-6666 for tickets runs through February 21.
Running time is approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes with one intermission.