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Omaha Magazine

Hairspray at the Orpheum: You can’t stop the beat (and wouldn’t want to)!

Jun 07, 2023 11:10AM ● By Tamsen Butler
hairspray musical review web exclusive

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Hairspray is a fun, boisterous musical focused on teenager Tracy Turnblad’s pursuit of getting cast on a local dance show in the ’60s, and then later integrating that show into her segregated community. Though the show deals with some heavy issues, the joyfulness of this musical cannot be overstated.

With social justice and body positivity themes throughout, this show still manages to serve up some delightfully goofy characters who belt out toe-tapping songs while delivering energetic choreography that keeps the audience engaged and entertained. The colorful and versatile set is a master class in set design.

Though the entire cast was well-received, the crowd erupted in enthusiastic applause when Andrew Levitt first appeared on stage as Tracy’s mother, Edna. Levitt’s comedic timing and stage presence demonstrate his years spent on Broadway and his lengthy career as the beloved drag queen, Nina West. Whenever Levitt was on stage, all eyes were on Edna.

The show ran just under three hours, including a brief intermission before Act 2. And while the intermission was nice for stretching our legs, we didn’t understand that it was probably to prepare us emotionally for the powerful I Know Where I’ve Been, an emotional song delivered masterfully by Asabi Goodman as Motormouth Maybelle and Company. The number moved more than one audience member to leap to their feet in applause at its conclusion.

Hairspray is an amusing, energetic show featuring a talented cast and a marvelous orchestra. Some mature themes are mentioned in this show, but most of the raunchy jokes will likely go right over the heads of younger audience members. Bringing kids to watch Hairspray will not only prove entertaining, but might also prompt some important discussions about social equality and body image—and will absolutely get some songs stuck in your head.

Performances run through Saturday, June 11th. For tickets and more information, visit

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