My Short Story Wedding Bells Appears In This Month’s Bray Arts Journal!

 

On Monday night my sister and I had a lovely night out at the Bray Arts night where the launch took place of the Bray Arts Journal. It is the second volume of the new journal. My story Wedding Bells was in it which was great. 🙂

On the night, there was also a very interesting talk about the Theatre Royal entitled Theatre Royal Remembered by Conor Doyle and Mairin O’Donovan, who sang at the Theatre Royal, was accompanied for a few performances by Retrofix. It was a very entertaining night.

Theatre Royal

 

Conor Doyle

 

Mairin O’Donovan

 

Retrofix

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The Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards!

The Irish Theatre Awards recently took place in The National Concert Hall with the play Ballyturk been the big winner and Stephen Rea been honoured with an Outstanding Contribution award. Sinead Cusack, Lewis J Stadlen and Our Few and Evil Days were also honoured on the night.

Ballyturk won Best Production while Sinead Cusack won the Best Actress award for her role as Margaret in Mark O’Rowe’s Our Few and Evil Days at the Abbey which won Best New Play of 2014. Best Actor went to Lewis J Stadlen, who played Solomon in The Price by Arthur Miller at the Gate.

Winners’ List

Judges’ Special Award: Limerick City of Culture: An award to its leadership team and administration for rebranding the city as a beacon of artistic endeavour.

Best Actress: Sinéad Cusack as Margaret in Our Few and Evil Days, written and directed by Mark O’Rowe for the Abbey Theatre.

Best Actor: Lewis J Stadlen as Solomon in The Price, written by Arthur Miller, directed by Doug Hughes for the Gate Theatre.

Best Supporting Actress: Kate Gilmore in Breathless, by John MacKenna, directed by Iseult Golden for Orion Productions and Danú Theatre.

Best Supporting Actor: Simon O’Gorman as Thomasheen Seán Rua in Sive, by John B Keane, for the Abbey Theatre.

Best Director: Selina Cartmell for Punk Rock, by Simon Stephens, for the Lyric Theatre, Belfast.

Best Set Design: Alyson Cummins, for Pentecost, by Stewart Parker, for the Lyric Theatre.

Best Costume Design: Mike Britton for How Many Miles to Babylon, by Jennifer Johnston, adapted for stage by Alan Stanford for the Lyric Theatre.

Best Lighting: Ciaran Bagnall for Pentecost, by Stewart Parker, for the Lyric Theatre.

Best Sound Design: Teho Teardo and Helen Atkinson, for Ballyturk, by Enda Walsh, for Landmark Productions/GIAF.

Best Production: Ballyturk, written and directed by Enda Walsh for Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival.

Best New Play: Our Few and Evil Days by Mark O’Rowe for the Abbey Theatre.

Best Opera Production: Silent Night by Kevin Puts, directed by Tomer Zvulun forWexford Festival Opera.

An Post Irish Stamps Audience Choice Prize: Silent Night, Wexford Festival Opera.

Special Tribute Award: Stephen Rea

November Bray Arts Night!

I had been saying for a while that I would go to the Bray Arts Night which is on every month here in Bray and this month myself and my sister went along to enjoy the night and enjoy the night we most certainly did! It was a fabulous night of photography, music and the spoken word. It was all amazing and I felt rather at home like it was a haven for nerdy, expressive types. I almost wanted to join them on stage!

Everyone was so talented. There was a brilliant photographer called Aoife Hester who displayed wonderful photographs of Bray Seafront and pics of Cavan which reminded me and Shar of our days living in the country, The Circle Sessions who had blues, indie rock, comedy music, thought-provoking poetry and some Shakespeare, amazing belly dancing from The Zoryanna and the night was ended with the wonderful opera and jazz instrumentals combined with the stunning vocals of Aran McMahon of Bella Notte Euro Jazz.

It was an amazing night of entertainment in the Martello and the bar was behind us all night. That was quite fab too! 🙂

To view some pics from the night go to:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.881805158511309.1073741858.180476998644132&type=1

And read more at:

http://www.brayarts.net/Library/Bulletins/November%202014.pdf

Wicked At The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre!

Nikki Davis-Jones and Emily Tierney excelled as the protagonists of the musical.

Nikki Davis-Jones and Emily Tierney excelled as the protagonists of the musical.

Lucky old Elphie!

Lucky old Elphie!

But all that fun gets one into bother but isn't it so worth it?!

But all that fun gets one into bother but isn’t it so worth it?!

The truly villanous Madame Morrible!

The truly villanous Madame Morrible!

Carina Gillespie as Nessarose!

Carina Gillespie as Nessarose!

Elphaba shows solitary with Doctor Dillamond in a beautiful scene.

Elphaba shows solitary with Doctor Dillamond in a beautiful scene.

Glinda and Fiyero with Boq!

Glinda and Fiyero with Boq!

The Wizard!

The Wizard!

The amazing Wicked ensemble!

The amazing Wicked ensemble!

Last week I went to see the musical Wicked in the Bord Gais Theatre with my sister Sharon. So many musicals have huge hype and don’t live up to this hype but Wicked is completely different. It was clear that this was a successful show from very early on from the writing, to the acting and to the set design and costumes. In fact on a personal note the only downside for me was that the characters of Crope and Tibbett weren’t in this particular musical version as I know they are quite minor characters in the book by the amazing Gregory Maguire but they are my favourite characters.

Elphaba and Glinda were played respectively by Nikki Davis-Jones and Emily Tierney while the male lead was played by the very beautiful (and slight Jaymi Hensley lookalike) Liam Doyle played Fiyero. They were supported by the talents of Marilyn Cutts as Madame Morrible, Dale Ripley as both The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Doctor Dillamond, Carina Gillespie as Nessarose and the very handsome George Ure as Boq who I must mention as been a really good comic actor. His timing was absolutely perfect. The ensemble also complimented everyone very well because after all a cast is nothing without their ensemble.

The team working behind the scenes ensured that the musical went off to perfection. Directing was done perfectly by Joe Mantello while Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman combined brilliantly to ensure that the music and lyrics and the script worked well together while Wayne Cilento, who is currently working on Holler If Ya Hear Me which features Tapac Shakur’s music, was responsible for musical staging. The beautiful set which brought the whole world of the book to life was done by the supremely talented Eugene Lee while costume duties fell to Susan Hilferty who made the characters’ personalities shine through. Lighting and sound were respectively in the hands of Kenneth Posner and Tony Meola who both did a fantastic job of creating a fabulous dramatic atmosphere. Make-up was did superbly by Joe Delude II who had a massive job especially with Elphaba’s make-up and it looked so professional.

It was an incredible musical which included everything from drama to humour to love to style and all-round fabulousness. And I loved it! It was a great day out.

Thanks as always to the staff for been amazing and helpful and well done to everyone involved. 🙂

CATS The Musical

Last week I went to see the musical CATS in the Bord Gais Theatre in Dublin with my mum Bridget and my sister Sharon. We almost arrived late but just made it in time. My mum nearly freaked out when she realised where we were sitting. Up in the high seats. But thankfully she was alright after a while.

CATS is by David Ian Productions in association with Michael Watt with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and is based on the book by T.S. Eliot “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”. In the later part of 1977, Lloyd Webber was looking for a new musical and inspiration came from the T.S. Eliot book he had read in childhood. It had been one of his favourite books. Eliot had written the book for his grandchildren in the ’30s. There is a photograph of a young Lloyd Webber with Eliot’s wife holding a copy of the book in circulation. Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in 1888 in St Louis, Missouri. He studied at Harvard, the Sorbonne in Paris and at Merton College, Oxford. The Waste Land was his most famous achievement. He also wrote plays such as Murder in the Cathedral. He died in 1965. May he rest in peace. Lloyd Webber has had a massively successful career. Amongst his credits include Evita, The Phantom of the Opera, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Wizard of Oz and Lend Me a Tenor. He was the first to bring casting to television with How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? Following this there was Any Dream Will Do, I’d Do Anything and Over the Rainbow. I loved these shows and watched them each week with my family. I especially loved the Joseph one. All those good-looking men! Not to mention the beautiful John Barrowman. I got really excited when I seen his gorgeous husband Scott Gill in the crowd. Then the gorgeous John Partridge joined the panel too in place of Barrowman.

The show had incredible visual presence and special mention must go to David Hersey who is the lighting designer on the show. Past shows he’s worked on include Evita, Les Miserables and Twelfth Night. In this show his lighting was outstanding. It hits you instantly from start to finish in bursts of colourful, sophisticated light. It brought you completely into the heart of the show and to the trials and tribulations of the Jellicle cats. Another very interesting aspect of the show is the clothing which is by the very talented John Napier who has previously worked on Miss Saigon, Starlight Express and Les Miserables. He is also an associate designer of the Royal Shakespeare Company. I love his work and to see his creations in a live show was amazing.

My favourite character in the show was The Rum Tum Tugger who gives a comical element to the proceedings. He makes me laugh. He was played incredibly well by actor Oliver Savile who has previously appeared in the UK tour of Monkee Business as Peter Tork. Savile is a very natural actor whose comic timing was right on point. He is a name I think we will see in the world of theatre for many years to come. Joseph Poulton played Quaxo/Mistoffelees. He is an amazing dancer and he thrilled the crowd with his flawless talent. His moves were difficult and yet he pulled them off with perfect ease making them look effortless in the process. Poulton has previously starred in The Wind in the Willows as Mouse Mark at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and in the UK tour of Ballet Central.

Munkustrap was played by Ben Palmer who has starred as Prince in Snow White at Doncaster Civic Centre and was on Celebrity Quitters on Five. He played the role to perfection and Savile, Nicholas Pound as Old Deuteronomy and he acted really well alongside each other in scene eight: Old Deuteronomy when it is just the three of them in the scene. Pound was amazing in the part of Old Deuteronomy. It was a part which needed a commanding yet guiding presence because he is the leader of the Jellicle cats tribe and Pound who has previously starred in other commanding roles such as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables and Peron in Evita did not disappoint.

Susan McFadden played the role of Grizabella and she played the part of the heartbroken cat who wants to get back into the tribe having went into the outside world years ago but who is been stunned by her fellow Jellicle cats and been refused admission back in with so much depth. You could feel Grizabella’s pain through her performance as she walked with her back hunched and her face looking downwards around the stage. McFadden who trained with the Billie Barry Stage School and has previously starred in Bachelors Walk on RTE and Annie in the Olympia Theatre gave an outstanding performance of Memory. Paul F Monaghan had not one but three roles in the show. Each of which he performed very well though special mention must go to his performance as Asparagus or Gus. Gus is a mature actor of the stage who reminisces about his time working with the greatest actors and actresses of his generation. The really fantastic thing about him in this part is how realistic he plays him. When he is recalling his past memories you can hear the way older people speak when they do this. The authencity is perfect. Monaghan also plays Bustopher Jones and Growl Tiger. He has previously appeared as Anatoly in Chess at the Opera House in Wexford and as Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd in the National Concert Hall in Dublin.

Cameron Ball played the baddie of the piece MacAvity. I’m sure villains must be such fun to play and he played him really well. When he rigs the electrical explosion it is a real moment in the show and not something which is done very often in theatre land. Ross Finnie plays Skimbleshanks. Finnie has previously starred as Bob Becket in the Raymond Gubbay/UK tour of HMS Pinafore and also in Doctor Dolittle as Ted at the Apollo Leisure. He plays the kind-hearted uncle to the cats with aplomb.

Will Lucas who studied at Laine Theatre Arts and Glendale Theatre Arts and previously starred in Aladdin at Theatre Severn and in Anthems – the concert with Kerry Ellis and Brian May at the Royal Albert Hall in London plays Bill Bailey and even in his small role his natural acting style and talent shows through. I loved the Old Gumbie Cat Jennyanydots. Alice Redmond who has previously starred in Cabaret in Broadway, Catford and in Carmen on the tour and in the New Vic Stroke played her brilliantly. She has also been a part of Gay Pride, Jermyn Street, Cafe Royal, Water Rats, the Pheasantry and Regent Street as part of her act the Redmond Sisters. She plays this role with perfect comic timing. The little walk she lends to Jennyanydots would to excuse the pun make a cat laugh. Then she breaks into a perfectly timed and executed tap dance.

The mischievous pair of Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer were played by Barnaby Thompson and Katie Warsop. He had his training in Laine Theatre Arts and has previously been in the Gotta Sing Gotta Dance UK tour, as a sailor in Anything Goes at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and as Pepper in Mamma Mia! on the International tour while she trained at Italia Conti and was head girl there. She starred previously in Cinerella at St Albans and on The Brit Awards on ITV. They act off each other very well and their dancing is amazing together. They also bring across the mischievousness of the characters very well.

Lily Frazer who trained in Arts Educational Schools London and who previously starred in the ensemble in the arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar and ensemble and the cover for Eponine in Les Miserables in Queen’s Theatre in London played Demeter. Her vocals are incredible and both Frazer and Melissa James who plays Bombalurina give a classy, outstanding performance of “MacAvity is Back”. James also has an amazing voice. Her training comes from Arts Educational Schools and she has previously starred in Doctors for BBC and in West Side Story at RSC Open Stages/Sage Gateshead.

Other actors who made an impression were James Darch as Alonzo, Richard Astbury as Coricopat and Joel Morris as Carbucketty. Darch trained in the Arts Educational Schools London and has been Lucien in Marguerite at Tabard Theatre in London and Prince Charming in Cinderella for Qdos while Astbury was trained in Arts Educational and was in the ensemble in White Christmas at the Lowry Theatre in Salford Quays and in the ensemble in Christmas in New York in the Prince of Wales Theatre. Lastly Morris trained at Gillian Cartwright and then London’s the Central School of Ballet. He has previously played principal roles in Coppelia, The Nutcracker and Carmen. The whole cast came together to make the show spectacular. Especially in a musical like CATS where the cats are a tribe the musical relies on a unified and talented cast and everyone in the cast was incredibly talented and the production and scenes were very tight and unified.

Stand out scenes were The Old Gumbie Cat, The Rum Tum Tugger, Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer, Old Deuteronomy, Gus: The Theatre Cat, Skimbleshanks, MacAvity, Mr Misoffelees, Memory and The Ad-dressing of Cats.

Trevor Nunn is the director and he is so well respected and known that even people with a passing interest in theatre would recognise his name. He was the longest-serving artistic director of the RSC from 1968 to 1986 where he directed most of Shakespeare along with Les Miserables and Nicholas Nickleby. Associate director and choreographer is Gillian Lynne who started her career at sixteen dancing the Swan Queen in the People’s Palace in the Mile End Road. She went on to become best known for her choreography and direction of CATS worldwide. She also staged Aspects of Love and The Phantom of the Opera. She worked on all of these with Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Re-creator of original direction and choreography was Chrissie Cartwright who previously worked on Sherlock – the Musical and Matilda. Greg Pink is the sound designer. Pink has worked previously on Sweeney Todd and A Christmas Carol. Associate lighting designer was Howard Eaton who has worked on CATS ever since the first original London production and has also worked on the West End musical of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and both the opening and closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympics. Musical director was Adrian Kirk. He studied at the University of Melbourne as well as learning conducting from Graham Abbott. He has previously worked as musical director on the UK tour of Chicago and Eurobeat: Almost Eurovision at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Producers are David Ian, The Really Useful Group Ltd and Cameron Mackintosh. Ian has previously worked on Grease, West Side Story and The Shawshank Redemption. Most recently he worked on The Bodyguard at the Adelphi Theatre in London. I admire his work a lot because he has worked on so many theatre versions of films I love as well as many musicals I love. Flashdance, Chess, Dr Dolittle, The Producers, Anything Goes, The Sound of Music, Singin’ in the Rain, Chicago, Saturday Night Fever, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, The Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, Gypsy, Ghost – the Musical, Steel Magnolias, Evita, The King & I and The Rocky Horror Show are also amongst his credits as well as CATS. I am in awe and I think he’s amazing.

The Really Useful Group Ltd also known as RUG was founded by Andrew Lloyd Webber in the year of 1977 and he completely owns it. RUG works on all Lloyd Webber’s musicals but also has worked on The Sound of Music and The Wizard of Oz in the London Palladium and Toronto.

I’m a huge fan of Cameron Mackintosh. I find him a very interesting man in interviews or speeches and he comes across as really nice but outside of all that he is a fantastic producer and when you look at his ouvere it is easy to see why he is one of the most respected names in the world of theatre. He has been in the business for more than 45 years and has produced the three longest-running musicals of all time in CATS, Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera. These musicals are still been performed worldwide. He has also worked on Little Shop of Horrors, Betty Blue Eyes, The Witches of Eastwick, Martin Guerre and Side by Side by Sondheim.

The music is major on this musical. Keyboard 1 was Paul Slater, Keyborad 2/assistant MD was Ben Kennedy, keyboard 3 was Tim Davis, guitars was Alastair Marshall, bass guitar was Nathan Finn, drums were Dave Pack, flute/clarinet/tenor sax is Gavin Tate-Lovery and clarinet/soprano and baritone sax is Andrew Dickinson. Orchestral management was Stephen Hill for Musicians UK Ltd.

Other notable aspects were sound operator 1 is Ollie Wade while sound operator 2 is Gareth Willox. Wardrobe mistress is Trish McAuley, deputy wardrobe mistress is Sally Fernandes and assistant wardrobe mistress is Laura Middleton. Wigs master is Steve Frizzell while deputy wigs mistress is Jess Bishop. Make-up was developed by Karen Dawson. The costume supervisor was Tracy Stiles, wigs supervisor was Jenny Dean and make-up supervisor was Maria Cave. Production assistant was Jeff Brady while dance captain was Lizzi Franklin and assistant dance captain was Ian Parsons. Costume makers were Phil Reynolds, Emily Moore, Kate Jeanne, Sasha Keir and Bob Saunders at Applied Arts, hats were by Sandra North, shoes by BLOCH and make-up by Charles Fox. Like the cast, all the crew together made the show amazing.

The staff at the Bord Gais Theatre were as always really lovely and very helpful and I had a great day out with my girls. Roll on Priscilla Queen of the Desert. All together now, “Go West …”

 

 

Hairspray In Ireland

 

Two weeks ago on the 3rd of August I went to see the matinee of the musical Hairspray in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin with my sister Sharon. The setting of the musical is in Baltimore in Maryland in 1962 and our protagonist is Tracy Turnblad who represents all plus size teenage girls or plus size women like myself. She is an ordinary girl with ambitions to have it all: the career on The Corny Collins Show and the man of her dreams in the form of Link Larkin who performs on the said show. But there is so much more to Tracy than all this. She is a very compassionate and good person who thinks of other people. She uses her eventual success on the show as a way to fight against racial segregation. The year the musical was set in was a time when the fight for equality for African Americans and also other disadvantaged groups of people was in the middle of its important fight for justice.  

Turnblad is played by 22 year old Freya Sutton who graduated from the prestigious Italia Conti theatre school in London in July last year where previous alumni also include. She plays the part incredibly well and reminds me of how played Turnblad in the film version of Hairspray in.  Her parents are played by Mark Benton (Edna Turnblad) and Paul Rider (Wilbur Turnblad). The two actors are incredible in displaying their love for each other which has not grown stale over the many years they’ve been together and also in displaying the love they have for their only child Tracy.  Tracy’s love interest is the irrepressibly handsome Link Larkin whose heart is in the right place but he is also overly ambitious. Larkin is played in this production by New Yorker Luke Striffler who has previously been in the UK Tour of Avenue Q as . Striffler plays the part to perfection and does a really good Southern American accent which is really rather sexy.  Her best friend and easily my favourite character in Hairspray is Penny Pingleton. She is played by Lauren Hood who previously appeared as Laura in the UK Tour of the musical Dreamboats and Petticoats. I identify more with Pingleton than any of the characters. I’m quite dippy too and her reaction to meeting her love interest Seaweed J Stubbs makes me think of my own reaction to a hot man! I also find her very funny and Hood times Pingleton’s one-liners to perfection.  Pingleton’s boyfriend Seaweed J Stubbs is played by former The X Factor runner up Marcus Collins but he wasn’t performing in this particular show. Instead Stubbs was played by the amazingly talented Nathaniel Morrison who has previously been in Sister Act alongside Whoopi Goldberg at the Palladium. His chemistry with Hood was brilliant and he gave incredible swagger to a character who is all about the swagger.  His mother, Motormouth Maybelle is played by Sandra Marvin who as has previously performed in Cole Porters’ The New Yorkers’ at the Sadlers Wells Theatre. The range that that woman can hit is unreal and she had many high notes to hit that showed off her amazing vocal ability on the day.  Her daughter and Seaweed’s sister Inez is played by Gabrielle Brooks. She previously starred in BBC’s Coming Down the Mountain alongside Nicholas Hoult and in. She plays the role to perfection and brings a lot of youthful energy to the performance.  Former Eastenders actress Lucy Bengamin played Velma Von Tussle, t at The Corny Collins Show who is against Turnblad been on the show because of her weight and is also a racial bigot who doesn’t want to see Tracy’s vision of racial integration on the show realised. Near the end of the musical when she is told that she has a top position in an organisation for women of colour, her reaction is done with such fantastic acting and timing on Benjamin’s part.  Her daughter is played by Gemma Sutton who previously starred as alongside Marti Webb and Mark Evans in the UK tour of Oklahoma! She starred as Laurey and it was in 2010. She gives an incredible performance as Tracy’s nemesis.  Corny Collins is a character that always makes me laugh and I loved James Marsden playing him in the film. Australian actor Josh Piterman played him here and he didn’t disappoint. He had the cheesy smile and false charm of Collins to a tee and gave a great performance. Though there was many other fantastic performances in the musical, other standouts included David Ribi as Sketch who was recently in the West End and also the UK and European performances of Dremboats and Petticoats. Though this was a small part he really shone through. He’s incredibly natural actor who seems to act from his heart. You wouldn’t even know he was acting. It seems like second nature to him. And that’s the kind of acting I really love. My three favourite actors Al Pacino, Ben Whishaw and Chris Colfer all seem to possess that natural acting style.   Also I really enjoyed the girls from Dynamite who were clearly very talented. Jocasta Almgill as Peaches, Lori Baker as Cindy and Sophia Brown as Pearl. Their vocal ability was effortless and their harmonies together were fantastic. That blend of voices is such a hard thing to do but they done it to perfection. And I loved their clothes.  The entire cast was really good though and managed to put on a fantastic show as a team.

The entire crew did a fantastic job too but I must give special mention to a few elements that I felt were really amazing. I’m a fashion student so I was bound to be critical of costume but William Ivey Long who has previously worked on Hugh Jackman: Back On Broadway didn’t disappoint. The clothes remained true to the era in which the musical was set and the unveiling of Tracy’s and her mother’s dresses in Mister Pinky’s store was perfect because the outfits worked. This needed to be right as it’s such a big moment in the piece because Edna hasn’t been out of the house in years and suddenly she’s enjoying herself in this new, beautiful outfit. I absolutely loved the dresses Dynamite wore as I previously mentioned and also the blue, sparkly dress Penny wore near the end was lovely. How the costume designer used the storyline as a basis for the clothes to show how the characters like Tracy, Penny and Edna progressed is what good costume designing is all about. I thought the male members of cast looked incredibly dapper in their outfits.  Wig and Hair designer Paul Huntley also did an incredible job. Tracy’s and Edna’s hair are so hard to do so that was an achievement in itself. Other notable hairstyles were Velma’s and Link’s.  Music and Lyrics/Arrangements was composed by Marc Shaiman who works as a executive producer, co-lyricist and music composer for TV show Smash with partner Scott Wittman who provided us with Lyrics. They have previously been nominated for both Grammy and Emmy Awards for a song they wrote for Smash called Let Me Be Your Star. They were also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Musical/Comedy TV series. It’s easy to see why because the music is such a crucial part to any musical and their work on the music really brings Hairspray alive for the audience.  Jack O’ Brien had the very responsible job of Director. He has previously worked on The Full Monty on Broadway for which he received one of his four Tony Awards. He done a great job in making sure the production went brilliantly.  The dancing is a major part of Hairspray and each member of cast was so slick. I honestly think if I tried some of them moves I’d break my neck! So Choreographer Jerry Mitchell who also worked on The Full Monty did an outstanding job. He made sure the moves were down to a tee and that everyone was in perfect time and in sync with each other. It was a masterclass in how routines should be done by groups of people.  Set designer David Rockwell who previously worked on Kinky Boots and Hairspray which he earned Tony, Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk nominations. There is so much going on with the Hairspray set that he did so incredibly well. A notable scene is when Tracy along with Edna and Penny is watching The Corny Collins in Tracy’s, Edna’s and Wilbur’s house and the show is on in the studio over the other side of the stage. It is hard enough to do a set for one scene but to do two scenes in one is outstanding and shows a wealth of talent.  Nicholas Skilbeck who was musical director for Sweeney Todd’s revival last year was musical supervisor here and done amazingly well.  Peter White was Musical Director. He previously worked as Assistant Musical Director for the West End’s version of Avenue Q. He also did really, really well.  David Grindrod Associates who previously cast Once for Dublin and the West End were charged with finding the cast and as everyone was amazing in their roles it is clear they did a great job.  Special mention must go out to the original writers of the book Mark O’ Donnell and Thomas Meehan. The most important people in the process in my opinion because without their vision Hairspray simply wouldn’t exist so I thank them both for writing a story I love with ambition, depth, fun, lots of lovable characters that you care about and for having such an amazing message of equality, hope and compassion. Both have deservedly won Tony Awards in 2003 for Hairspray. O’ Donnell also wrote Getting Over Homer while Meehan wrote books for musicals including Annie Warbucks.   

Standout songs on the night for me were Good Morning Baltimore, I Can Hear The Bells, It Takes Two, Welcome to the ’60s’, Run and Tell That, Big Blonde and Beautiful, Timeless to Me, I Know Where I’ve Been and You Can’t Stop the Beat while standout scenes were Good Morning Baltimore, TV Station WZZT and Turnblad Home, Turnblad Home and Streets of Baltimore, Patterson Park Playground, Motormouth Maybelle’s Record Shop both times, The Har-De-Har Hut, Tracy’s Jail Cell and Penny’s Bedroom and The Baltimore Eventorium.   

I completely the day out with my sister. She completely enjoyed it too. We got our photograph taken for a Bord Gais promotion. We also took our own photographs and had a drink and a few cigarettes inbetween and before the performance. When we left we got a bit soaked with the rain that came but thankfully got shelter before we got too wet. My sister had a wonderful night too. Thank you to the staff at the Bord Gais Theatre for all their help and fantastic customer service on the day and also thank you to the cast and crew of Hairspray for a fun day out. But most of all, thank you to my sister Sharon who made the day perfect for me. We had the most fun, immature time and that’s what it’s all about. Thank you sis. Love you.