OWhether you’re a fan of the original John Waters cult film, the Tony Award-winning Broadway production, or the John Travolta/Zac Efron revival of the film, “Hairspray” is a show that brings great singing, dancing exceptional and a lot of fun.
And now, the nationwide tour of “Hairspray” takes place at the National Theater until May 15, promising lots of laughs and a soundtrack that includes memorable tunes such as “You Can’t Stop the Beat” and “Good Morning Baltimore”.
The show stars Andrew Levitt, better known as Nina West from RuPaul’s “Drag Race,” and Niki Metcalf, who plays the mother/daughter tandem of Edna and Tracy Turnblad. The setting is 1962 Baltimore, a time of racial problems and people struggling to fit in. High schooler Tracy is one of the latter, but she shows the size of her heart is as big as the rest of her, and uses a sudden burst of fame to dethrone the reigning Teen Queen, find love, and fit in. a TV show, all without shaking his precious ‘do.
The show also stars Sandie Lee, Billy Dawson, Will Savarese, Emery Henderson, Jamonté D. Bruten, Kaelee Albritton, Addison Garner and Christopher Swan.
Swan plays Tracy’s father and Edna’s husband, Wilbur. A Virginia-born former Army veteran, the actor can’t wait to get back to the area to star in one of his favorite shows.
“Our production was supposed to come out just before COVID hit, and we all went through the rehearsal process, but next thing you know, it all stopped before we even announced the casting,” Swan said. “It came back, and I had worked with the director before, and he was able to get me a video audition and the majority of us were cast on Zoom, which is amazing because the casting is so amazing .”
The actor was familiar with the original film, charmed by its unique story, but never saw the musical production or heard any of the songs. Once he got the role, he watched the “Hairspray Live” special and fell in love with the production.
“It really captures a lot of the original John Waters movie, but also expands on it with this wonderful score and these characters,” Swan said. “It really is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. People who leave the theater at night, there is just a joy that emanates from them.
Although he has an impressive acting resume, Swan noted that he has never played a character like Wilbur, describing him as “someone with 99% heart”.
“He’s all about selflessness and caring for others, especially his wife and daughter,” he said. “It was wonderful to get on stage and play someone who is so optimistic and just believes that everything is going to be okay. He spreads joy and love and has a smile on his face most of the time. he is on stage.
Swan is paying props to Levitt and Metcalf, saying the two bring a lot to their roles and are equally thrilled to be a part of this tour.
“I was a little intimidated at first working with Andrew, but he’s been an absolute joy,” he said. “He loves this role that he’s playing and respects it so much and always gives 110%. And he’s just brilliant in the role.
As one of the production’s veteran actors, working with a group of young people in their twenties, Swan is often peppered with questions about the industry and is always happy to offer advice and his own industry experiences. .
“Some of these kids are fresh out of theater programs and look at my life on stage and ask me how I approach things, which is good,” he said. “We have wonderful young actors on the show and we really enjoy acting. I’m always flattered when I can pass something on to them.
He invites everyone to see “Hairspray” and experience heart, humor and good music and can pretty much guarantee that they will have a great time.