The McDaniel theater program is known for putting on quality performances. Generally the performances are dramas but the program puts on one or two musicals a year. This year’s choice was Hairspray, starring my friend Kelsey Gondek as Tracy Turnblad. Of course, I knew other members of the cast and they were all excellent, but I was most impressed by Kelsey. You get to know a person around campus just by sight and through small talk, but you never really see their true capability until you see them in their element. Kelsey was in her element. I didn’t know the person I was watching on stage; she became Tracy Turnblad and that is just one of the nice parts of the theater program: it allows you to see aspects of people you didn’t know existed.
I saw the performance last Thursday with my friends Barnabas and Jon and was awed by the professional quality with which some of the numbers were executed. I suppose when you go to a school production of almost any musical, there is always an element of expectation resting in the back of your mind that the show will not be enjoyable. If I’m being honest, I came into the performance with this mindset. When that curtain opened I was expecting a tone-deaf recreation of the movie’s poppy opening song “Good Morning, Baltimore.” However, Kelsey appears lying in her bed singing, hitting every note perfectly and starts the musical off in a great, upbeat fashion.
The rest of the musical was all well done. The best number was, as usual to this musical, “Momma I’m a Big Girl Now.” Something about that 50s doo-wop style of music appeals to me, and clearly I wasn’t alone because the music had everyone in Alumni Hall dancing in their seats. From the shows I have seen the theatre program put on, I could tell that this performance was better than the rest.
Hairspray is a great example of activities to do during the week at McDaniel. The theatre puts on many different shows during both the Fall and Spring semesters, not to mention countless student run performances. Cocktails and Tails From the Clit are both student-run sketch-comedy shows that talk about the triviums of being men and women respectively and there is also an improv comedy group that has shows from time to time. Theatre is a great activity to either become involved in, or of which to become a regular attendee.