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Hairspray (#110 of 4)

On the Rise Aaron Tveit

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On the Rise: Aaron Tveit

Universal Pictures

On the Rise: Aaron Tveit

Among the many young stars who’ve recently made the leap from stage to screen, like Spring Awakening’s Lea Michele and The Book of Mormon’s Andrew Rannells, Aaron Tveit finally seems to be having his well-deserved, medium-bridging moment. Already something of a revered superstar in the theater world, the prolific Tveit (pronounced te-vate) has been doing curtain calls for most of his life, including during his time at Ithaca College, when he won a role in the national tour of Rent. Then there was his turn as Link Larkin in the national tour of Hairspray, which, in 2006, yielded his Broadway debut. A role in the Three Musketeers came after, and then, in 2008, a now-celebrated performance as troubled son Gabe in Next to Normal, a Pulitzer-Prize winning work. There was a role in Wicked, a role in the musical version of Saved!, and in 2009, the landing of the coveted lead in Catch Me If You Can, the Broadway rendering of Steven Spielberg’s portrait of Frank Abagnale Jr. For playing the charming, jet-set conman, who wooed women out of their clothes when not shedding his own, Tveit, now 29, garnered nominations from the Outer Critics Circle and the Drama League, and was also up for a Fred Astaire trophy for Best Male Dancer on Broadway. He’d become an indisputable hotshot of the New York stage, and this was all before Tom Hooper came calling with an offer to star in last year’s Les Misérables.

Take Two #12: Hairspray (1988) & Hairspray (2007)

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Take Two #12: <em>Hairspray</em> (1988) & <em>Hairspray</em> (2007)
Take Two #12: <em>Hairspray</em> (1988) & <em>Hairspray</em> (2007)

[Editor’s Note: Take Two is an occasional series about remakes, reboots, relaunches, ripoffs, and do-overs in every cinematic genre.]

In the month since the last Take Two column, a civic rift has formed in my semi-hometown of Baltimore that, to my mind, says everything that needs to be said about the city’s current identity. It was discovered that Denise Whiting, owner of the iconic Café Hon in Hampden, has in fact held the copyright to the even more iconic word “hon” since 1992. Click the link to get a whiff of the pre-Christmas protest that Hampden residents organized on 36th St. (better known as the “Avenue”), the neighborhood’s main drag over which the Café’s two-story foam flamingo looms like a kitsch Godzilla.

It so happens that my last apartment was near enough to Café Hon that our kitchen window looked down on its rear parking lot. The living room window, however, faced the intersection of Roland Avenue and 36th, where a Royal Farms sidewalk offered local drunks and addicts a stage for nightly freak-outs and blow-ups. This was a relative step up for my wife and me; we moved to Roland in December 2008 after a shooting took place at the bar across the street from our first place, also in Hampden. Only a few months before that, a parked white pickup truck erupted and burned to ash outside our bedroom in the middle of a Saturday night. In early 2009, a row house by the post office spontaneously combusted, singeing its two immediate neighbors and sending all five of the resident family’s children to the emergency room. The blaze was rumored to have started when the owner lit a cigarette near his stockpile of compressed air tanks. Apparently he was trying to build a cooling system on the cheap.

Single Review: Laura Bell Bundy’s “Giddy on Up”

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Single Review: Laura Bell Bundy’s “Giddy on Up”
Single Review: Laura Bell Bundy’s “Giddy on Up”

Country music and Broadway tend to have very little in common: Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 musical and Reba McEntire’s lauded star turn in Annie Get Your Gun are perhaps the highest profile crossovers between the two disparate worlds in recent memory—not counting Randy Travis’s gay panic when confronted with Adam Lambert’s WTF cover of “Ring of Fire” on American Idol. Enter Kentucky native Laura Bell Bundy, whose film credits include “That girl who grows up to be Bonnie Hunt in Jumanji” but who is better known for her stage work, having played Amber in Hairspray and having originated the role of Elle Woods in the Legally Blonde musical. If Bundy learned anything from her years on stage, it’s how to make an entrance, because her debut single and video, “Giddy on Up,” are hands-down the most fascinating opening salvos to come out of Nashville in years. Granted, “fascinating” doesn’t necessarily equate to “good,” but Bundy actually wants her audience to have a strong opinion, and that’s a risk worth talking about. Which brings the conversation to this:

Watching Movies: Shameful Movies of Odie’s Past

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Watching Movies: Shameful Movies of Odie’s Past
Watching Movies: Shameful Movies of Odie’s Past

3. No Porn. This was a film festival, not a bachelor party. And Vincent Gallo might have shown up, which was the last thing I needed.

My “festival brochure” follows, but before it does I ask: what movies would you run at your own personal SMOOP, and why? Don’t be shy. If I have to be ruined, I’m taking all of you with me.