AC works; so does ‘Hairspray’

Friday’s capacity opening-night crowd enjoyed air-conditioned comfort and a whale of a performance of Hairspray, the Broadway Musical, as four giant tubes sucked heat and humidity out and four more returned cool air to the third-floor performance space at St. Patrick’s Club Building. A generous gift this week from Near West Theatre friend and Hairspray wig specialist David Cooper covered most of the costs of renting the cooling system for the eight-show run. Seated in the audience Friday, Cooper received cheers and applause as a spotlight found him and Executive Director Stephanie Morrison-Hrbek thanked him during her curtain speech.

There were many more such raucous moments of appreciation in the two-hours-and-a-half that followed. The urban-and-suburban cast of Near West’s 35th summer youth theater production unleashed a joyous, rambunctious and at times slightly bawdy version of this story about race, body image and the changing social mores of 1960s America. Tickets remain available for tonight’s 7:30 performance (Saturday, July 21). Buy online till 4 p.m. today and after that at the performance space, 3606 Bridge Ave., Cleveland, where the ticket table opens at 6:30 p.m. The show then runs two more weekends, through Aug. 5. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under. A $20 Star Seatgets you special benefits.

"Hairspray" air conditioning, July 21, 2012

Two ground-level units on the west side of St. Patrick’s Club Building are supplying air conditioning via third-floor windows for the 8-show run of Hairspray. Photos by Hans Holznagel.

"Hairspray" air conditioning and generator, July 21, 2012

A generator (right) powers ground-level air-conditioning units, which each use four ducts to connect to the theater’s performance space.

"Hairspray" front AC, July 20, 2012

At the front left corner of the performance hall, the top ducts send cold air in; the bottom holes draw heat and humidity. At right is the edge of the colorful Hairspray set, seen during pre-show setup on opening night.

"Hairspray" back AC, July 20, 2012

Ducts at the back of the house also give relief to spotlight operators and other techies in the balcony, who typically endure the worst of summer-show heat.

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About Near West Theatre

Our Mission Statement: "Near West Theatre builds loving relationships and engages diverse people in strengthening their sense of identity, passion, and purpose, individually and in community, through transformational theatre arts experiences." View all posts by Near West Theatre

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