The Edna role is played by a man in drag and Levitt, who helped build his name on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” has worked hard on the iconic part, most famously played by John Travolta in the 2007 movie version. His goal was to make her a flesh-and-blood character and his own, allowing the audience will get to know her.
“This is an acting challenge, and I’ve taken it very seriously to cultivate my own version and be faithful to the character,” he said. “She’s a lot like the rest of us, wanting the best for her family and her life and I’ve learned a lot from her.”
An Ohio native who lives in Columbus, Levitt has visited Springfield previously, and is excited to have friends from Yellow Springs, Dayton and Columbus in the audience to watch him, as well as his parents, who will see him in the role for the first time.
“Springfield is a lovely little town,” he said.
A drag performer for more than 20 years, Levitt has seen the form grow exponentially as a part of pop culture, and he’s glad to see it being accepted more and more. He’s even formed The Nina West Foundation, based on his alter ego, raising funds for many charitable causes.
That background was also helpful in landing the Edna Turnblad role, and now he’s proud to be sharing it with audiences across the country, but especially here.
“This show just feels very, very comfortable. I’m excited to come to Springfield and entertain audiences from all over,” said Levitt.
Clark State requires masks be worn by audience members in the PAC to attend this performance.
HOW TO GO
What: Hairspray National Broadway Tour
Where: Clark State Performing Arts Center, 300 South Fountain Ave., Springfield
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 14
Admission: $30-70 (plus fees)
More info: 937-328-3874 or go to pac.clarkstate.edu/shows/2021-2022-season/