Salisbury University Presents “Hairspray”

Good morning, Baltimore!

Salisbury University’s Bobbi Biron Theatre Program brings John Waters’ ode to 1960s Charm City to Holloway Hall Auditorium with its production of the award-winning musical Hairspray Friday-Sunday, April 6-8 and 13-15.
Directed by Dr. Matt Saltzberg, curtain is 8 p.m., 2 p.m. Sundays.
Like Waters’ 1988 cult classic film Hairspray, the stage musical centers on Tracy Turnblad, who, in 1962, wants nothing more than to dance on her favorite musical TV program, The Corny Collins Show. When her dream comes true, she becomes a local celebrity overnight. Soon, however, she realizes there is a negative side to the TV show and leads a campaign to integrate the program as part of a larger social change in Baltimore and the nation at large.

Featuring music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman, and a book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, the original Broadway production won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Its London counterpart was nominated for a record 11 Laurence Olivier Awards, winning four including Best New Musical.

“The stage version of Hairspray, which premiered on Broadway in 2002, adheres closer to John Waters’ original film than the 2007 musical film remake,” said Saltzberg. “In keeping with tradition, the role of Edna Turnblad, portrayed by Divine in the 1988 movie, John Travolta in the most recent screen version and Harvey Fierstein in the original Broadway show, will be portrayed by a male actor in our production. While the musical is upbeat, it also contains off-color humor and mature themes — most notably those of racism and segregation — and may not be suitable for younger audiences.”

Variety said Hairspray “more than lives up to its promise.” The New York Times lauded its success “in recreating the pleasures of the old-fashioned musical comedy without seeming old-fashioned.” The Washington Post hailed it as “a thoroughly solid piece of musical theatre.”

SU’s production features Alli Payne as Tracey Turnblad, Nick Melczarek as Edna Turnblad, Mike Mott as Wilbur Turnblad, Patrick Gover as Link Larkin, Michael Mitchell as Corny Collins, Gigi Pesaniello as Penny Pingleton, Jeremiah Copeland as Seaweed J. Stubbs and Chareese Vandyke as Little Inez.

The cast also includes Kamron Brooks, Caitlin Burke, Jaden Burnett, Kate Carpenter, Josephine Caruso-DiPaolo, Jarrell Corbin, Michelina DeVeas, Vee Gardineer, Caleb Graham, Joe Groth, Maggie Jones, Caroline Lewis, Brandon Maher, Eric McCladdie, Sean Milligan, Glory Ngwe, Imari Pyles, Jake Thereault and Mary-Tyler Upshaw.

Dr. William Folger, co-chair of SU’s Music, Theatre and Dance Department, is musical director. Choreographer is guest artist Staci Alexander. Scenic and lighting design are by John Raley. Costume design is by Leslie Yarmo. Stage managers are Bailey Kirk and Meredith Ditto.
Sponsored by the Music, Theatre and Dance Department, admission is $12; $9 for seniors age 60-plus and SU faculty, staff and alumni; $5 for non-SU students; $3 for SU students with Gull Card. The production is recommended for mature audiences.

Advance tickets are available online at, via phone at 410-543-6228 or in person at the SU Box Office, Fulton Hall Room 100. Box Office hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.
For more information call 410-548-5588 or visit the SU website at

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