“HAIRSPRAY” SHINES IN PERFORMANCE OF "EPIC PROPORTIONS"

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Musical continues Sept. 17-19 in Visionary production at Pt.. Loma High

Review by Kathy Carpenter

Associate and Youth Reviewer www.sdtheatrereviews.com

September 14, 2015 (La Mesa) - Visionary Community Theatre and Visionary Youth Theatre join together for an outreach program of epic proportions to present "Hairspray." What do you get when you mash up several high schools and a professional choreographer? Great dancing, singing, and acting.

When I arrived at Point Loma Performing Arts Center at 2335 Chatsworth Blvd. for opening night of Hairspray, I did not know what to expect. All I knew was a little dance studio located on El Cajon Blvd. in La Mesa was doing another play.

Attending Visionary plays in the past has always been a pleasant surprise, but nothing compared to the caliber of this production.

Joining together with Point Loma High School for in  2014 - 2015 for an outreach program, brought together the best of several high schools: Helix Charter, Chula Vista, and Olympian. Foothills. Add a few recent graduates from Helix, and Point Loma, plus a few students from the dance studio, and you have a night of fun-filled entertainment.  Helix High is a past outreach school of Visionary.

Visionary is making a huge impact in the community by bringing  professionalism to high schools’ theatre.As I watched,  it did not take long for me to realize this was not an ordinary high school play. The quality of the show definitely compared with the professional youth productions in San Diego County I've been attending over the past few years.

Hairspray takes place in the turbulent sixties. When big, bold and beautiful teenager Tracy Turnblad gets a  featured role on The Corny Collins show (the Baltimore equivalent of American Bandstand) she wants to integrate the show. She believes everyone is equal and wants to make every day negro day.

Carly Stacey, a recent graduate from Point Loma High, had the chops and high spiritedness to carry off the leading role. Daniel Castro, who I have been a fan of for several shows, played Tracy's love interest, Link Larkin, what a  sweetie!

Spencer John Powell as Edna Turnblad, (also the choreographer and director), almost stole the show. He was fabulous.  Powell is also the cofounder of Visionary Dance Theatre as well as Visionary’s community and youth theatre programs based in East County.

Penny Pingleton, played by Calliope Marin, from Chula Vista High, was extremely likable.  Motormouth Mabel, played by Dovie Braxton, may have flubbed some lines but nailed the vocals. Jarel Lewis played the talented Seaweed. Little Inez was played by the remarkable Zayda Estrada. Lenelle Wylie made an excellent Velma Von Tussle. Nicole Isabelle from Olympian High School, rocked Amber Von Tussle, and  Kerri Schulman nailed  the Matron/Gym teacher. Overall this is an amazing cast including many I have not mentioned.

Support community and high school theatre by coming out to one of the remaining shows this weekend. You will walk away with a smile on your face!

For tickets, visit http://visionarydancetheatre.org/Visionary/hairspray