Local actors fill Starlight’s ‘Hairspray’



July 27-August 2 at Starlight Theatre

The feel-good musical sensation returns to Starlight for the first time since 2006!

Starlight Theatre is pleased to announce that Broadway star and two-time Tony nominee Brad Oscar will lead the cast of the musical comedy phenomenon Hairspray, playing Starlight Theatre July 27-Aug. 2, as part of the 2018 Shawnee Mission Health Broadway Series. Hairspray’s director, principal and ensemble cast will also include a number of performers with Kansas City roots, many of whom are making their return to the Starlight Theatre stage!

Set in 1960s’ Baltimore, Hairspray tells the story of 16-year-old Tracy Turnblad, who intends to groove her way onto TV’s most popular dance program, “The Corny Collins Show.” After auditioning and ultimately winning a role with the show’s dance company, Tracy becomes an overnight sensation and uses her newfound influence to advocate for the show’s racial integration. With the help of her fellow cast mates, Tracy tries to change the world, dethrone the reigning  Teen Queen and win the affections of heartthrob Link Larkin… all without denting her ‘do!

Hairspray took Broadway by storm when it debuted at the Neil Simon Theatre in August 2002. It went on to win eight Tony Awards in 2003. This feel-good musical highlights the importance of self-love, inspires audiences to dream big and features such beloved songs as “Good Morning Baltimore,” “Welcome to the 60’s,” “Without Love” and “You Can’t Stop the Beat.”

A Broadway veteran and two-time Tony Award nominee, Brad Oscar stars in the iconic role of Edna, Tracy Turnblad’s mother, in Hairspray. Oscar’s most notable Broadway credits include The Producers (Franz Liebkind/Max Bialystock), The Addams Family (Uncle Fester), Big Fish (Amos Calloway) and most recently, Something Rotten!, in which he originated the role of Nostradamus. Hairspray is the critically-acclaimed actor’s second production at Starlight—he was previously seen in The Producers as Max Bialystock in 2010.

“As Starlight’s only self-produced show of the season, tremendous amounts of hard work and focus are put forth by our highly talented cast and crew for Hairspray,” said Rich Baker, Starlight President and CEO. “I am confident this production will delight audiences with its infectiously fun singing and dancing, its witty humor and its beautiful messages of acceptance and unity. We are thrilled to be able to deliver a first-rate production and to showcase so much homegrown talent on the Starlight stage!”

Broadway veteran turned Kansas City local Jerry Jay Cranford serves as the show’s director and choreographer. Some of Cranford’s previous credits include Aladdin (Starlight Children’s Theatre), Madagascar: A Musical Adventure (Coterie Theatre) and Les Misérables (Merry Go Round Theater).

Kansas City native Jessica Alcorn portrays the lead role of Tracy Turnblad. Alcorn grew up training at Miller Marley School of Dance and MTKC and has performed with many theatre companies throughout the metro. Her most memorable roles include Princess Fiona (Shrek), Paulette (Legally Blonde) and Little Becky Two Shoes (Urinetown).

Other performers in Hairspray who are either based in Kansas City or have roots in the community or nearby are:

Cathy Barnett (Velma Von Tussle) adds Hairspray to her already impressive repertoire of Starlight appearances (Footloose, Grease, The Producers and The Sound of Music). She has appeared in numerous Kansas City theatres and also portrays the Hallmark greeting card character “Maxine.”

Don Denton (Corny Collins) spent his high school years in Topeka, Kan., often performing at the Helen Hocker Theater. Denton played Kenicke in Starlight’s production of Grease last summer.

Eric Geil (Link Larkin) earned his Equity card at Starlight when he performed in The Sound of Music in 2014. Geil returns to Starlight after portraying Roger in Grease (2017). In between his Starlight gigs Geil performs with the national tour of The Book of Mormon.Katie Karel (Penny Pingleton) is a local actress who is reprising her role as Tracy Turnblad’s best friend, Penny Pingleton, after portraying Penny in New Theatre’s 2012 and 2015 productions of Hairspray. Karel performed in Starlight Children’s Theatre productions of The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley.

TJ Lancaster (Male Authority Figure) has previously appeared in multiple Starlight Children’s Theatre productions including The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley, Peter Cottontail III and Narnia: The Musical.

 Erin Riley (Amber Von Tussle) is a New York-based actress who is making her return to Kansas City theatre for the first time in nearly 10 years. Riley’s last Kansas City-area production was West Side Story at the Lawrence Arts Center in which she portrayed Maria.

 Bruce Roach (Wilber Turnblad) returns to the Starlight stage for the first time since The Sound of Music (2014) and Mary Poppins (2015). He has worked extensively with the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, the Unicorn Theatre and the Coterie Theatre.

 Shon Ruffin (Little Inez Stubbs) is ecstatic to make her Starlight Theatre debut in Hairspray. She has performed at The Coterie, Spinning Tree Theatre, New Theatre Restaurant, The Unicorn, the Black Rep Theater and at the KC Rep.

 Chioma Anyanwu (Ensemble, Dynamite) makes her Starlight Theatre debut in Hairspray. She has been involved with several Kansas City-area theatres and is a third year graduate student in UMKC’s MFA Acting program.

 Justin Armer (Ensemble, Council Member) appeared in Starlight Children’s Theatre’s production of Aladdin (2012) and was a Blue Star Ensemble member in Starlight’s production of Footloose (2013). Armer is currently pursuing a BFA in Acting from the University of Oklahoma.

 Darrington Clark (Ensemble) is making his Starlight debut. He has been in numerous productions in Kansas City, including at the Coterie, MTH and Spinning Tree Theatre.

 Marty Craft (Ensemble, Council Member), now a New York City resident, grew up in Overland Park, Kan., and returns to Starlight after more than 12 years where he appeared in Footloose (2005).

Carter Ellis (Ensemble, Council Member) credits Starlight as the place that sparked his love of theatre, where he has previously appeared in productions of Xanadu and Cinderella in 2011 and 2015, respectively.

Gabbie Fried (Ensemble, Council Member) was a member of the 2010 Starlight STARS and is appearing in her second Starlight show after performing in last summer’s production of Grease. Fried is now based in New York City.

Courtney Germany (Ensemble, Dance Captain) was a 2006 recipient of Starlight’s Vincent Legacy Scholarship, has been a teaching artist and assistant for multiple Starlight education programs, has performed in the Starlight Annual Benefit Gala several times and is appearing in her second Starlight show in Hairspray.

Janae Hammond (Ensemble) is currently studying Musical Theatre at Missouri State University and is making her Starlight Theatre debut in Hairspray.

Kayli Jamison (Ensemble, Council Member) is originally from Kansas City, but has lived in New York City for the past three years. She is making her Starlight Theatre debut in Hairspray.

Donovan Woods (Ensemble) makes his Starlight Theatre debut after appearing in productions at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, the Coterie Theatre and the Unicorn Theatre.

The Blue Star Teen Ensemble in Hairspray is comprised of eight talented high school performers whose schools participate in Starlight’s Blue Star Awards program. The ensemble members and their high schools are: Janie Carr (Shawnee Mission East), Joey Ferguson (Lee’s Summit), Katie Hulla (Saint Thomas Aquinas), Holly Jackson (Shawnee Mission West), Amari Lewis (Sumner Academy of Fine Arts and Sciences), Katie Venteicher (Saint Thomas Aquinas), Megan Walstrom  (Shawnee Mission East) and Savanna Worthington (Shawnee Mission East).

Tickets for Hairspray at Starlight Theatre are on sale now and start at $14. Tickets are available online at kcstarlight.com, by calling 816-363-STAR (7827) or at the Starlight box office at 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, Mo., 64132. All performances begin at 8 p.m.

Discount prices for groups of 10 or more are available by contacting group sales department at 816-997-1137 or groups@kcstarlight.com. Please note that kcstarlight.com is the only official ticket source for all shows in the 2018 Shawnee Mission Health Broadway Series. If you purchase tickets from another website or ticket broker, we cannot guarantee those tickets are legitimate.

For more information, please visit www.kcstarlight.com, or on Facebook and Twitter.

 About Starlight Theatre

Starlight Theatre is the largest and oldest performing arts organization in Kansas City and the second-largest outdoor producing theatre in the country. Opened as a theater in 1950 and as a not-for-profit organization in 1951, Starlight presents and produces Broadway musicals and concerts. It also offers extensive community outreach and educational programming, including classes, scholarships and Starlight’s Blue Star Awards, one of the largest high school musical theatre award programs in the nation.

Located on 16 acres in Swope Park, Starlight’s venue includes rehearsal halls, gift store, club area for dining, concessions, gardens, fountains and a 10-story, climate-controlled stage. For more information, visit www.kcstarlight.com.



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