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Hairspray twists to Murry's; Shrek hits stage in Rogers

by Eric E. Harrison | July 19, 2015 at 1:52 a.m.
Laura Hood Babcock is Ballet Arkansas’ new ballet mistress.

A plus-size teenager finds herself at the forefront of more than one civil rights movement as she dances her way onto a 1962 Baltimore TV show that's breaking all kinds of racial and size barriers (not to mention beehive hairdo records) in the musical Hairspray (music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman, book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, based on a screenplay by John Waters), opening Tuesday at Murry's Dinner Playhouse, 6323 Colonel Glenn Road, Little Rock.

Bethaney Gere plays trailblazer Tracy Turnblad, with director Don Bolinger as her mother, Edna; Garrett Whithead as her heartthrob, Link Larkin; Ken Goodman as TV host Corny Collins; Katherine Yacks as friend Penny Pingleton; Emory Molitor as viciously snobby Velma Von Tussle; Lauren Linton as her equally snobby daughter, Amber; and Nisheeda Golden as Motormouth Maybelle.

LaDarius Jamerson, Dominique Duarte, Jeff Bailey, Amy Walker, Cory Williams, Micheal Lowe, Elijah Ash, Brad Garrett, Jeremy Matthey, Sydney Ippolito and choreographer Moriah Patterson round out the cast.

The show runs through Aug. 29. Curtain times are 7:45 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday (12:45 p.m. matinee only Wednesday, July 29 and Aug. 5), 12:45 and 6:45 p.m. Sunday. Doors and the buffet open 90 minutes before curtain. Tickets are $32-$36, $26 for children 15 and younger; show only, $25 and $15.

Call (501) 562-3131 or visit the website,

Ballet additions

Ballet Arkansas will start the 2015-16 season with a new ballet mistress -- Laura Hood Babcock -- and two new company dancers, Meredith Short of Little Rock and Lynsie Ogden of Thornton, Colo., joining 11 returning company members.

Babcock danced principal, soloist and corps de ballet roles with American Ballet Theatre (under the direction of Mikhail Baryshnikov) and the Pennsylvania, Cleveland, Eglevsky (in Bethpage, N.Y.) and Santa Barbara and San Diego ballet companies. She has coached and taught at American Ballet Theatre, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet School, San Diego Dance Academy, Arkansas Festival Ballet and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Short received her early training under the direction of Rebecca Miller Stalcup, Melinda Tobian and Mark Bush at the Arkansas Academy of Dance and Arkansas Festival Ballet, and is a recent graduate of the University of Oklahoma.

Ogden, a graduate of the University of Utah, trained with the Academy of Colorado Ballet and the Schiff Dance Collective in Boulder, Colo., and was a member of Utah Ballet, Montgomery Ballet in Alabama and Fort Wayne Ballet in Indiana.

Visit the website,

SMTI showcases

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre's annual Summer Musical Theatre Intensive program will present its first Young Artists Showcase, cabaret-style, with senior students (ages 16-23) performing dance, vocal and performance pieces, 7 p.m. Monday, and juniors (ages 13-15), 7 p.m. July 27 on The Rep's MainStage, 601 Main St., Little Rock.

Tickets are $5; proceeds will benefit the Rep's Young Artist's Scholarship Fund. Lobby and concessions open at 6:15 p.m. Call (501) 378-0405 or visit the website,

Monstrous musical

Rogers Little Theater will stage Shrek the Musical (music by Jeanine Tesori, book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, based on the DreamWorks movie and the book by William Steig) in a dinner theater setting, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, July 30-Aug. 1 and Aug. 6-8 and 2 p.m. July 26, Aug. 2 and 9 at the Victory Theater, 116 S. Second St., Rogers.

Dinner seating begins 90 minutes before curtain, nondinner seating 30 minutes before curtain. Tickets are $48, $60 for two-seat, nonmeal cabaret tables, $17 for show-only balcony seats. Call (479) 631-8988 or visit the website,

Dulcimer workshops

The Ozark Folk Center State Park, 1032 Park Ave., Mountain View, will host its annual Mountain Dulcimer workshop Thursday-Saturday and a Hammered Dulcimer workshop July 30-Aug. 1.

Mountain dulcimer performers and instructors are Bing Futch, Jack and Mary Giger, Lee Cagle and Duane Porterfield, the 2014 National Dulcimer Champion. Hammered dulcimer performers and instructors are Joe Jewell, Rick Thum, Linda Thomas and Ilace Mears.

Classes are available for all performance levels. There will be concerts each night during each workshop. Registration fees -- $75 per day, $200 for all three days -- cover all workshops and admission to the park's Craft Village and concerts. Call (870) 269-3851 or visit the website,

Style on 07/19/2015

Print Headline: Hairspray twists to Murry's; Shrek hits stage in Rogers


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