Hairspray Dazzles and Sparkles

What a performance!

Melissa Gun, as Tracy, leads the cast

Hairspray, the school’s first full musical production for 12 years, has been an absolute triumph – a triumph of talent and teamwork!  From backstage crew to set and costume designers, from musicians to choreographers, from lighting crew to the leading lights of actors, singers and dancers on stage, all have shone brilliantly.

Tracy with Mum (Ruben Butterfield) and Dad (John Kenny)

Running from 30th January – 2nd February, every night was a sell-out.  In fact, even putting on an additional daytime performance on Monday 29th was not enough to meet the demand for tickets.  And audiences were not disappointed.  They emerged from the theatre with beaming faces, chattering with huge enthusiasm about the all-singing, all-dancing spectacle they had just witnessed.

Amber (Emma Smith) at odds with her mum (Jess Tasker)

Hairspray is based on the book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, with music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Whittman.  Set in Baltimore, USA, in 1962, it tells the story of plus-sized teenager, Tracy Turnbland.  Overcoming prejudice and contrary to expectations, Tracy wins a role on the Corny Collins Show, a local TV dance programme, and she becomes a celebrity overnight.  Not only does Tracy battle with self-consciousness about her weight, she also goes on to challenge the racial prejudices of the era, campaigning for the show’s integration of black and white.  The show finales with a dance dedicated to everyone.  They all dance together: black and white, fat and thin, young and old.

Velma (Jess Tasker) in full voice

Frankie Frize playing Seaweed Stubbs

The colourful costumes, bouffant hairstyles and lively dance music capture the 60s era perfectly, and Melissa Gun – who played the lead character – can be justly proud of bringing her character and her songs fully to life.  And the whole cast, too numerous to name here, can be congratulated in like-mode for producing an energetic and highly entertaining performance.

The Corny Collins Show

Evie Dodd as Penny Lou Pingleton

From auditions and casting, through rehearsals to final performances, the show has had an eight-month gestation period, and musical director, J. Wabiak, agreed that the whole process was not unlike “bringing a baby into the world,” with all the emotional investment that that entails, as well as the labour, the exhaustion but, ultimately, the joy of successful delivery.

Congratulations to all involved, but especially to directors, Mrs Wabiak and Mrs D Ripolles who coached, shaped and honed all this talent and pulled the whole fantastic show together!

Maja Flavell, Frankie Frize and Grace Ohia as The Dynamites

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