I always enjoy taking pictures of musicals and plays, which often run on the front page of the newspaper prior to the show and on a picture page after the production's run. You'll find photos from Windom Area High School's production of "Hairspray" on page 9 this week. I usually get a pretty good feel for the show while taking pictures at the dress rehearsal, but I realized when I attended Saturday afternoon's matinee of "Hairspray," that there's plenty I missed. Indeed, I'm so focused on looking for just the right shot or that comical, serious or unique facial expression while taking pictures at dress rehearsal that I often miss a line or something else that's happening in another part of the scene. Sitting back and enjoying the show Saturday was a real treat and I caught many lines and action that I missed in dress rehearsal. One thing I didn't miss was how great the show was. I comprehended enough of the show during dress rehearsal that I knew this is one that I just had to watch. It was absolutely outstanding. In fact, I would go so far as to rank this as one of the best musical productions I've seen in Windom. I'll admit that I would never make a very good theater critic. Everything I watch I enjoy. Moreover, when it comes to high school students I'm more likely to be a cheerleader than a critic. After all, these kids and directors put a lot of time and work into a show and they deserve our applause and congratulations. The choreography that went into "Hairspray" was amazing. There was a lot of dancing in this production and, if you remember the 1960s, dancing came with a lot of arm movement. How the cast and directors managed to have a full cast of 40 to 50 students dance on such a small stage without crashing into each other was truly a marvelous feat. But what I enjoyed most about the show was the music. It was great, fun music and it was evident that the cast was having a lot of fun with it. More importantly, it sounded professional. While all of it was very good, there were some surprises for me. The song, "It Takes Two," which featured excellent vocals by Patrick Green on lead with Corny Collins (Soren Rothstein) and Corny's male "Kids" (Thomas Wilde, Ethan Bordewyk, Ethan Pohlman and Ryan Fauglid) singing backup was outstanding - great sound, guys! Another vocal surprise was Daniella Bonilla, who played Little Inez. I don't recall hearing Daniella sing a solo before, but she had several spot solos throughout this production and it was a real treat to hear her. Nice job, Daniella! Several others who weren't surprises, but really packed a punch with their performances were Ashley Wilde in a lead role as Tracy Turnblad and Brigitte Beall as Motormouth Maybelle. Great singing and acting, ladies! Meanwhile, Alberto Contreras played a pretty convincing - and larger-than-life - role as Edna Turnblad (a female role traditionally played by a male) and her hubby Wilbur, Parker Alvstad, was a great complement to his "wife." Soren Rothstein as Corny Collins seemed a natural as a dance show host. Grace Becker and Sabrina Mau offered spot-on portrayals of the snooty mother-daughter duo Velma and Amber Von Tussle. And you could hardly wait to hear the next ditsy observation from Penny Pingleton (Victoria Schutz). Kudos to the cast, crew and directors - outstanding show!