As you know, I am making my farewell* to Musical Theatre playing Edna in Hairspray this coming April. The show is a joint production between the Theatre Arts program at Mercer County Community College and The James Tolin Memorial Fund. MCCC has a small Theatre Department, especially when compared to some of New Jersey's 4-year colleges and Universities. The college's Kelsey Theatre regularly hosts many local theatre companies as part of it's regular season. The Pennington Players; Maurer Productions OnStage; Playful Theatre; Yardley Players; Shakespeare '70 and of course, the JTMF (among others) all call the Kelsey 'Home.' They also bring in professional touring companies and special events as part of their regular season, all in an effort to support performing arts in central New Jersey.

JTMF tends to produce small, LGBT-centric comedies like Paul Rudnick's Jeffrey; Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song Trilogy and Charles Busch's Psycho Beach Party. We've always wanted to do a musical (I've been pushing for Victor/Victoria* for years), but we just haven't had the budget. So, when the college approached us with the idea of a joint production of Hairspray, we jumped at the opportunity. Of course, the deal came with two caveats: Our founder had to be the show's stage manager (and she's one of the best around) and I had to play Edna. Well, flattery will get you everywhere, despite what you may have heard. 

Two and a half weeks into rehearsals, and I already have dozens of friends, co-workers and acquaintances who have purchased tickets to see me sing and dance in heels and a dress. But I must admit that I am most flattered by an email I received today from my buddy Sean, who writes a fabulous blog called Just a Jeep Guy. Sean was one of my first followers, and he I comment regularly on each other's blogs. His weekly "Mug Shot" contests, Sunday Funnies and Dogably Pawfect Saturdays are among the many reasons so many folks read him.

Anyway, today I got an email from Sean which read (in part): "Guess what I got today?" And then there was that picture of a ticket to Hairspray which you see above. "Any chance I could get a backstage pass?" he wrote. Yes, Sean. I'll give you a personal tour, if you want. I am very excited to meet yet another of the folks with whom I've been corresponding on line for so long. I'm so happy that Sean is coming all the way from up from D.C. just to see our little show (Pax - you've been challenged here - and you live in NJ!).

Should you decide to take the leap and see Uncle P in his natural element, tickets are on sale (but going fast) here. You can also order by calling the Kelsey box-office at 609-570-3333. I can't promise a perfect production, but I will promise a fun evening or afternoon, great songs and me singing my heart out in several fabulous costumes.

Partial proceeds from the show benefit The Open Arms Foundation; The James Tolin Memorial Scholarship at MCCC and The Tyler Clementi Foundation.

Here's a clip of comedian John Pinnette playing Edna on Broadway:

More, anon.

*I'd come out of retirement to play Teddy in Victor/Victoria, in case anyone is casting...
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