Friday, July 29, 2011

Hairspray & Mink Stole

“Hairspray” Cast Members to Hold Talkback on
Friday, August 5, 2011
Special Guest, Mink Stole, from the original
John Waters’  film to Join Us!

Talkback opportunity with cast/crew members from “Hairspray”
and special guest Mink Stole!

Friday, August 5, 2011, immediately after the performance of Hairspray.

The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

As a gift to our LTA patrons, the cast will be on hand to answer questions on the production of “Hairspray.” Find out what it’s like to stage a musical on the LTA stage, ask about auditions, choreography, or character development. Get an opportunity to ask Mink about the original film, or what life was really like in Baltimore in the early 1960’s. Bring your questions!!

This is open to everyone!  No special tickets or reservations needed.

To read an article featuring Mink and LTA's Hairspray, click the link below:

Mink Stole as Tammy Turner with actor Shawn Thompson as Corny Collins.
Photo credit:  Mount Vernon Gazette "Think Mink"


Showbiz Radio reviews HAIRSPRAY!

Brenda Parker (Motormouth Maybelle) and Zaria Stott (Shayna)

Photography by Doug Olmsted

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Another review!

"Little Theatre Gives a Perfect cut of HAIRSPRAY"

Derek Marsh (IQ), Gardner Reed (Corny Collins), and Ryan Walker (Fender)

Photography by Doug Olmsted

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


The reviews keep coming!

Arlington Connection (see page 13)

Vienna Connection (see page 10, with focus on cast member Shannon Kingett)

Reston Connection (see page 9, with focus on Director Sue Pinkman)

Mark Williams (Harriman F. Spritzer), Gardner Reed (Corny Collins),
and Janette Moman (Velma Von Tussle)

Photography: Doug Olmsted

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


The reviews are in......

Sam Jones (Link Larkin) and Christina Kidd (Amber Von Tussle)

Photography - Doug Olmsted

Thursday, July 21, 2011


LTA and Mink Stole are featured in the Alexandria Gazette Packet!  Click the below link and read the article on page 21!

Alexandria Gazette

Gina Tomkus (Gym Teacher)

Photgraphy: Doug Olmsted

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Since publicity is starting to get going for Hairspray, I figured, why not post a blog of my own? We open in three days. Pretty unbelievable. Two months ago I hadn't even auditioned yet, and here we are now with a full show on its feet. It is hands down the most challenging thing I have ever done, and easily the most rewarding. I have been so blessed to be surrounded by kind, hilarious, and ridiculously talented people, and the end result is a giant show that is full of heart, soul, and LOTS of sweating. :)

I fell in love with Hairspray when I was 15 years old. Ok, maybe it wasn't love yet...more like a big giant crush. This was before I had even seen the show--but my original cast recording was VERY loved, and I think there was a two month period where I forced my mom to play it in the car everywhere we went. I finally saw the show a year later...and then I really fell in love.

For a 16 year old girl who loved singing and dancing more than anything but who wasn't fully comfortable in her own skin yet (and yes, I'm talking about me, not Tracy Turnblad), finally having a character like Tracy to relate to was almost more than I could handle. When she sang I Can Hear the Bells, I cried and cried. It's so funny, because I think that song annoys a lot of people (it certainly annoyed all my friends who called me when I was in high school, thanks to my sweet ringback tone), but it might actually be my favorite part of the show. I think it's when you really fall in love with Tracy. Here is this person who people constantly discourage because of how she looks, but she will not be swayed. She is fully convinced that she can get everything she's ever dreamed of having, and then she DOES. She gets to sing and dance on TV even though she doesn't look the "type." She gets her dream guy. She succeeds at bringing people together even though society says it's not what's supposed to happen. Yes, I know (and knew at the time) that it's a musical comedy which is destined to have a happy ending, but when that final curtain went down, 16-year-old Shannon was irrevocably changed. I was completely inspired by the message the show sends and I knew that someday I had to play that part--not just because it's the lead, but because I wanted to have the chance to inspire someone else, to spread some Tracy-like confidence to another 16 year old girl who had big dreams but insecurities about achieving them.

And now it's finally happening. This is my chance. Am I focused on the music, the dances, and the scene work? Of course. But if just ONE person walks away from this show feeling better about who they are and what they're capable of achieving--I will have done my job--even if I forget the turn in You Can't Stop the Beat, or if my wig change means I end up looking like Tina Turner.

So I know I have been pestering everyone with eyes (thanks for the help Facebook and Gmail!) since I got in this show...but come see it. I have never been more proud to be part of something, and it's a show that everyone needs to see at least once (and the movie doesn't count). I cannot stop raving about my cast...there is not a weak link (no that's not a pun). All of the principals are fantastic, and our ensemble is RIDICULOUS and I love them all. And our crew has not disappointed either...our wigs, sets, and costumes are spectacular, a lot of our choreography is straight from Broadway, our orchestra is I have to keep going? My cousin came to rehearsal last night and was obsessed.

SO. Buy your tickets today! I keep checking, and every day more and more are gone! Opening weekend is sold out...don't wait and then find you can't come because tickets are gone (and our producers, who have been working for LTA for years and years, predict a completely sold out run)! Tickets can be purchased here by clicking on the big Hairspray can!

I love you all. And I hope that today all your dreams will come true. :)

-Shannon Kingett (playing Tracy Turnbald in LTA's Hairspray)
To read more from Shannon, visit her blog here.

Shannon Kingett is a James Madison University 2010 graduate with a degree in musical theatre.  She is the operations manager for the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra.  This is her first LTA performance.  Her favorite theater credits include Sarah Brown (Guys and Dolls), Bloody Mary (South Pacific), and Woman 1 (Songs for a New World).  She was also a backup singer for Ben Folds.  She would like to dedicate this performance to Mrs. Smith and Jim.  Love and miss you sky big.

Shannon Kingett (Tracy) and Sam Jones (Link Larkin)

Photography: Doug Olmsted

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Can a girl with big dreams and even bigger hair dance her way into your heart? LTA opens the season with the award-winning Broadway musical comedy based on John Waters’ film classic. Meet Tracy Turnblad, a lovable plus-size heroine in the 1960’s as she dances her way to a spot on a local TV dance program. Overnight she is transformed from a pudgy outsider to a teen celebrity. Tracy uses her newfound fame to integrate the show while kicking the program’s reigning princess to the curb and winning the heart of heartthrob Link Larkin.

More infomation can be found at

Photography by Doug Olmsted

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

LTA's Summer Camps

So after the lights went down on Move Over Mrs. Markham, Joanna Markham immediately left her elegant London flat and stodgy-yet-adorable husband to teach Shining Stars Drama Camp at LTA!

We are always caught between creating a show that the kids can be proud of so that they feel they really accomplished something, and the harsh reality that the camp is only a week long.  We started with an ambitious program, selecting seven songs from Bye Bye Birdie because of its relatively easy melodies and the relatability of the subject matter to our 3rd-8th graders (we can easily substitute the idea of the Jonas Brothers for Conrad Birdie).  We get kids who are at so many points in their artistic development – some very polished, experienced performers who have previously appeared on the LTA stage; others who just want to find out what this crazy theatre thing is all about. 

No matter where their starting point, it’s amazing to see the growth from the first day of camp to the last.  They run through the whole emotional cycle of a real show in one week:  first, excitement – “what are we going to do?”  Then, “We have to practice the dance again?  We’ll never learn this!”  Finally, “Hey, I think we might just pull this off after all.”

The adaptability and belief that these kids hold in their hearts that “Of course we’re ready to do the show and can learn a dozen lines and hundreds of lyrics in a week, why would you even ask the question?” leaves our staff with no choice but to believe in them, too.  Whether they are doing improvs based on notecards filled with answers about their favorite things, singing a solo “audition” for perhaps the first time in their lives, playing “Captains on Deck” and scrambling to touch the wall first when Michael calls “man overboard!”, playing “Name  That Show Tune” off Miss Shelagh’s i-pod with prizes for knowledgeable theatre buffs, or forming a spontaneous Conga line at an impromptu dance party to let off some steam, the kids have been exposed to a tremendous variety of experiences. 

Some results are predictable – for example, they know that no matter what, Miss Shelagh will never win a single round of Captains on Deck!  They know that Michael will make them do their jumping jacks twice if they continue beyond the requisite number.  And, as is always the case, we learn as much from them as they do from us.

Bring on the 2:30 showcase with the Hairspray backdrop behind them.  We are ready as we’ll ever be!

-Shelagh Roberts (Camp Director)