Naperville ( February 13, 2017 ): A plus-sized teen is determined to fulfill her show business dream in Hairspray, the winner of eight Tony Awards. Red Horse Theatre Company in association with Forte Productions will present a concert version of the hit Broadway musical, with a 15-piece on-stage orchestra, for two performances only, 7 p.m. March 31 and April 1 at Wentz Concert Hall, North Central College, 171 E. Chicago Ave. Discounted tickets are available until March 1. After March 1, ticket rates are $20-$30. For tickets, visit www.redhorsetheatre.org .
It's 1962 and Baltimore teen Tracy Turnblad has one goalto dance on the Corny Collins show. When she achieves that dream, Tracy uses her newfound fame to tackle an even more difficult challengeintegrating the TV network.
The family-friendly musical by Marc Shaiman ( music and lyrics ), Scott Whitman ( lyrics ), and Mark O' Donnell and Mark Meehan ( book ) is filled with such rousing numbers as "Good Morning Baltimore," "Big, Blond and Beautiful" and "You Can't Stop the Beat." It boasts a cast of fascinating characters, including Tracy's larger than life mother Edna, her nerdish father Wilbur, teenage heartthrob Link Larkin and record shop owner Motormouth Maybelle.
The musical is staged by veteran director Frank Roberts who has directed over 150 productions. He served as resident director of Stage Right Dinner Theatre from 1999-2001 and director in the Equity Wing for the Illinois Theatre Center from 2004-2012, and has been resident director and artistic director of Music On Stage in Palatine since 2013. He is also the founder and artistic director of Forte Productions.
Red Horse Theatre Company founder and Artistic Director Jason Groh has extensive performing credits, including appearing with Renee Fleming in ALCINA at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and 154 performances as Arpad in She Loves Me with Birmingham Village Players, Light Opera Works and Stage Right Dinner Theatre. He also has a number of television credits including "Test Drive Chicago" for Fox Chicago and "America's Got Talent."
Groh decided to start his theater company in Naperville because he loves and works in the village and because he saw a need. "We have excellent performing arts programs and community theaters in Naperville that help develop young talent and feature terrific performers," he said. "I wanted to build upon that strong foundation by bringing a premium professional theater company to this city that will collaborate with and promote the Naperville performing arts community."
Groh chose Hairspray as the company's inaugural production because the show is "fun and unique, and has a different type of perspective," he said.
Roberts added that HAIRSPRAY is timely. "The show is all about acceptance and tolerance," the director said.
Groh decided to present a concert version of the musical because "I love full orchestras and I wanted to hear a show with an orchestra on the stage." He added, "I really wanted to put a premium production in Wentz Concert Hall, which is the top venue in Naperville. Obviously, the acting is important but we wanted the music highlighted."
"It's going to be nice to hear the score played the way it was originally intended on Broadway," Roberts said. In addition, because there will be a limited set, "You really can concentrate on the characterizations and the music. And there's going to be dancing. It's fully staged but it's not a traditional sets in-and-out production."
For more information about the Red Horse Theatre Company production of HAIRSPRAY, visit www.redhorsetheatre.org .
Show: Hairspray, The Concert Experience
By Marc Shaiman ( music and lyrics ), Scott Whitman ( lyrics ), and Mark O'Donnell and Mark Meehan ( book )
Produced by: Red Horse Theatre Company, a professional company, in association with
Location: Wentz Concert Hall
North Central College
171 E. Chicago Ave.
Performances: 7 p.m. March 31 and April 1
Tickets: Discounted tickets are available until March 1. After March 1, ticket rates are $20-$30.
Information and Reservations: www.redhorsetheatre.org .