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Rotary Club sponsoring dinner show of ‘Hairspray’

By Charles Warner cwarner@civitasmedia.com

April 18, 2014

UNION — The Broadway musical about an overweight teenage girl whose dream of appearing on TV dance show in early 1960s Baltimore becomes a struggle against racial injustice will be brought to the local stage by the Union County High School Department of Visual & Performing Arts.


“Hairspray” was originally a 1988 romantic musical comedy film directed by John Waters that, in 2002, was adapted into a long-running stage musical that ran for more than 2,500 performances before closing in 2009. The Broadway production, which won eight Tony awards in 2003 including Best Musical, was adapted to the screen in 2007.


Both the play and the movies tell the story of Tracy Turnblad, an overweight teenage girl living in 1962 Baltimore who, with her best friend, Penny Pingleton, are big fans of the Corny Collins Show, a local TV dance show. The girls audition to appear on the show and Tracy becomes a regular, much to the dismay of Amber Von Tussel, a mean fellow high school student who becomes even more infuriated when Tracy wins the heart of Amber’s boyfriend, Link Larkin.


In addition to pursuing her own dreams, Tracy gets involved in the fight against segregation, trying to get the Corny Collins Show integrated. Blacks are only allowed on the show on “Negro Day,” hosted by Motormouth Mabel, the owner of a record store. Mabel’s son, Seaweed J. Stubbs first becomes friends with Tracy, teaching her some dance moves that helps her get on the show, and then later becomes Penny’s boyfriend.


The story of Tracy, Penny, Seaweed, Motormouth Mabel, Corny Collins, Amber, and the rest of the characters of Hairspray is being brought to the stage at Union County High School by the school’s Department of Visual & Performing Arts.


On Tuesday, the cast of Hairspray performed excerpts from the songs in the play for the Union Rotary Club which is sponsoring a Dinner Show performance of the play in the UCHS Cafetorium at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 24.


Among the songs the Rotarians at Covenant Baptist Church heard Tuesday were Tracy Turnblad (Reid Bailey) singing the play’s opening song “Good Morning Baltimore;” Motormouth Mabel (Jocelyn Henderson) performing “I Know Where I’ve Been” about the long struggle for racial equality; and the whole cast singing the finale “You Can’t Stop The Beat.”


One of the more unusual aspects of the play — and the movies — is that Tracy’s mother, Edna, has always been played by a male actor and that continues to be the case with this production.


Rotarians watched as Tracy sang “Welcome To The 60s” to her mother, Edna (Jacob Boineau), who later performed a duet of “You’re Timeless To Me” with Tracy’s father, Wilbur (Alex Childers).


Tickets to Thursday’s dinner show are $15 and can be purchased from any Rotarian, at Union County High School, Correll Insurance, or Wanda Littlejohn at Arthur State Bank on Main Street.


In addition to the dinner show, the play will be performed on Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 27 at 3 p.m.