June 16, 2016

This Month in Theater: Hairspray and Godspell

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Photo Credit: Ralph B. Maxwell, Jr.

(L to R) Delaney Morcom, Kelly Belle McCoy, Katelynn Tiller, Taylor Cleveland, Leslianne Hopkins, Georgia Laster and Claire Korzekwa

Hairspray: A celebration of early ’60s dance music, social change and teen dreams, Hairspray is a happy, Tony Award-winning musical about an outrageously optimistic dance show fanatic named Tracy Turnblad (Georgia Laster). She’s described as “pleasantly plump” and gets in trouble at school for “inappropriate hair height,” but she dreams of appearing on “The Corny Collins Show.”

Her chance comes when one of the teen dancers gets knocked up and auditions are announced for the open spot on the show. Soon this social outcast gains local fame, power and the attentions of the dreamiest guy on the show (Tyler Ord). She makes new friends, fights segregation and competes for the ultimate prize: to be crowned Miss Teenage Hairspray by Corny Collins himself (Austin Jenkins). Arts!Oglethorpe has brought together a huge cast of enthusiastic teenagers ready for summer theater fun—it’s exactly what you want in a show like this. It even has the perfect Edna Turnblad in Phillip Baumgarner of Athens Little Playhouse. What a treat!

Hairspray, which is based on the 1988 film by John Waters, is presented by Arts!Oglethorpe at the Historic Crawford School on Friday, June 17, Saturday, June 18 and Thursday, June 23–Saturday, June 25 at 7:30 p.m. with a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, June 19. Tickets are $13 in advance or $18 at the door, and available at 706-354-1339 or

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Photo Credit: Michelle Looney

Jeremiah Smith as Jesus

Godspell: This is the most feel-good of all the musicals about Jesus of Nazareth, opening on Broadway in 1971 and steeped in the music of its era combined with lyrics from traditional hymns. It’s in the style of a company of players who are transformed into disciples and followers, acting out the stories of familiar parables like the good Samaritan, the rich man and the prodigal son.

The “players” use jokes, games, storytelling, and most of all, powerful music by Stephen Schwartz (known for Wicked, Pippin, and Enchanted, among others) that includes the 1972 pop hit song “Day By Day.” A group like Cornerstone can be expected to bring a combination of joy and reverence to this production, which is one weekend only.

Godspell, which was written by John-Michael Tebelak and Stephen Schwartz, is presented by Cornerstone Productions at Cornerstone Studio on Thursday, June 23–Saturday, June 25 at 7:30 p.m. with 2:30 p.m. matinees on Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door, $10 for groups of 10 or more, and available at 706-705-2599 or