Poteet Theatre at St. Luke’s Church certainly has a strong base of support from the native talent in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. Drawing from their educational program, and combining that with talent drawn from university and high school programs they are developing a strong foundation for professional level theatre. There are three professional theatres in the Oklahoma City area including Lyric Theatre, City Rep Theatre and the Pollard Theatre. Poteet is a young community theatre, however many of the actors showcased here will go on to perform on a professional level in Oklahoma, New York and possibly Hollywood for film careers. Although the overall performances do not always meet the highest standards of a professional troupe, they come mighty close.
“Hairspray” the current production is directed by Cyndi Steele-Harrod with the assistance of Music Director Kevin Smith and Choreographer Sherri Smith. This musical is from the book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan. Music is by Marc Shaiman and Lyrics and Music by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman.
“Hairspray” is set in 1962 at the height of the popular beehive hairdo. No girl was complete without a can of hairspray covering a stiff pompadour. Tracy Turnblad has the do, but is losing the battle of mean girls and baby fat. The country is just beginning to awaken to the inequities of our culture regarding race and Tracy is familiar with discrimination. Her dream is to dance on Baltimore’s local Television teenage dance program hosted by Corny Collins. She also is befriended by the Negro participants in the program and wishes to integrate the show as a result.
Tracy Turnblad is played by Phoebe Butts, a talented OCU student. The role of her mother Edna Turnblad is traditionally played by a large man and Cliffy Synar practically steals the show creating this role. Andrew Himes is the Slick Corny Collins and David Borum is the handsome love interest of every girl including Tracy. Taylor Handy is the classic mean girl, Amber Von Tussle and Danielle Stephens as mom Velma Von Tussle nearly steals the show as well as she belts out her vitriolic tunes. Donna Knight is delightful as Penny with a great scene with all the mother and daughters including Jenny Markmiller as Prudy. Knight also has some great scenes with Eugene Smith as Seaweed, and their interpretation of a 60’s interracial love is sensitive as they shock authority figures. However, when it comes to belting out a tune Kimberly Jackson as Seaweed’s mom Motormouth is the outstanding. Her heart, soul and humor are evident throughout the show and her performance shines.
“Hairspray” is showing at the Poteet Theatre in the lower level of St. Luke’s Church at 222 NW 15th Street in Oklahoma City. Ticket information is available at poteettheatre.com or call 405-609-1023. Showtimes are Thursday through Saturday at 8:00pm through August 5th with Sunday 3:00pm matinees.