Skylight Music Theatre today announced that due to overwhelming demand, nine additional performances have been added to Skylight’s holiday show,Hairspray. The show, which opens Friday, November 16 will now run through Sunday, December 30, 2018 with special early bird and family-friendly performance times added throughout the run.
This bold, beloved blockbuster Broadway musical will be presented in Skylight’s beautiful Cabot Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway, in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.
Skylight Artistic Director Ray Jivoff also announced that Bethany Thomas has been cast in the featured role of ‘Motormouth Maybelle.’ Thomas is currently starring in Songs for Nobodies, a one-woman show at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, where she was also seen in The Color Purple, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Ragtime. Thomas, a recording artist who has appeared on Empire(FOX-TV) and in numerous productions in Chicago and Milwaukee, will make her Skylight Music Theatre debut. Motormouth Maybelle was played by Queen Latifiah in the 2007 film version of Hairspray and by Jennifer Hudson in the 2016 NBC Live broadcast.
Jivoff also announced the 17 area high school students who will perform in Hairspray’s youth ensemble. “These talented teens from Milwaukee area high schools will be playing kids their own age in the show,” said Jivoff. “A central storyline of Hairspray takes place at an American Bandstand-style TV dance show showcasing the infectious music and latest 1960s Baltimore dance hits.”
Hairspray is the story of plus-size teen Tracy Turnblad who dreams of dancing on The Corny Collins Show, a dance show similar to American Bandstand. She wrestles with body image issues and bullying and undergoes a transformation from social outcast to sudden star. She uses her newfound power to integrate a TV network and win the affections of heartthrob Link Larkin.
“Hairspray is a hilarious musical with depth and heart,” said Jivoff. “It deals with important issues facing our community with wit, a great score, a diverse cast, exuberant dancing and memorable songs such as ‘Good Morning Baltimore’ and ‘You Can’t Stop the Beat.’”
Lili-Anne Brown will direct the show, making her Skylight debut. She is the former artistic director of Bailiwick Chicago, where her work garnered numerous awards. Most recently Brown directed an acclaimed production of Caroline, or Change at Firebrand Theatre in Chicago and will be Associate Director for a 2019 production of Next to Normal directed by Tony Award-winning director David Cromer at Writers Theatre in Chicago.
“There is nothing about Hairspray that doesn’t make you smile,” said Brown. “At the same time, this is a story about anti-racism and body-positivity. Hairspray has a heart of gold, with its message of accepting one another and being kind to one another.”
The Broadway production of Hairspray won eight Tony Awards in 2003, including Best Musical. It features music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, with book by Mark O’Donnell & Thomas Meehan. Hairspray is based on the 1988 John Waters film.
Lili-Anne Brown (Stage Director)
A native Chicagoan, Brown works as a director, actor and educator, both locally and regionally. She is the former artistic director of Bailiwick Chicago, where she directed Dessa Rose (Jeff Award), Passing Strange (BTA Award), See What I Wanna See (Steppenwolf Theatre Garage Rep), and the world premiere of Princess Mary Demands Your Attention by Aaron Holland. Other directing credits include Caroline, or Change (Firebrand Theatre)
, Tilikum by Kristiana Colon (world premiere, Sideshow Theatre), Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (American Blues Theatre) among others. She is a graduate of Northwestern University.
Cindy Blanc (Music Director) is a native of Monroe, Wis. and lives on five acres of solitude in the southern part of the state. She holds degrees in music education and performance and was music director/ supervisor at Timber Lake Playhouse in Mount Carroll, Ill. (2010-2017), The Armory in Janesville, Wis. (2005-2010), and is currently a freelance accompanist, parish musician and music teacher, orchestra percussionist, and private music instructor.
Bethany Thomas (Motormouth Maybelle) Regional: Songs for Nobodies, The Color Purple, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Ragtime, Man of LaMancha, A Christmas Carol (Milwaukee Rep); A Moon For The Misbegotten (Writer’s Theatre); Marry Me A Little (Porchlight Music Theater); Fool Me Twice, Deja Vu (Second City); The Tempest (Chicago Shakespeare); Porgy and Bess (Court Theatre); Hair (Paramount Theatre); Iphigenia In Aulis (Getty Villa); Little Shop of Horrors (Geva Theatre). TV: Empire (FOX). Bethany is one quarter of Jon Langford’s Four Lost Souls (self-titled album on Bloodshot Records) and released her own EP called “First.” BethanyThomasMusic.com.
Performances of Hairspray are Friday, November 16 through Sunday, December 30 in the Cabot Theatre, Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway in the Historic Third Ward of Milwaukee.
Tickets & Box Office
Tickets are $30 – $75 (plus tax and fees) and can be purchased in person at the Broadway Theatre Center Box Office, 158 N. Broadway, by calling (414) 291-7800, or visitingwww.skylightmusictheatre.org
Box Office hours are Monday – Saturday, noon – 6 p.m. The Box Office window is open two hours prior to each performance. Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more by calling (414) 299-4964 or email [email protected]org