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Theater department fine tunes for ‘Hairspray’ debut

Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012

Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2012 01:10

montage

MONTAGE PHOTOS/SHAUNDA WICKHAM

USF students get ready for a dress rehearsal of Hairspray on Wednesday night. Below, the cast practices choreography for the play, which will run from Oct. 11 to Oct. 14 and Oct. 17 to Oct. 21 in Theatre 1.

 

Inspirational, but exciting are the words that embody the fast-paced, but fun-moving musical “Hairspray.”
The musical opens with a loud ringing of Tracy Turnblad’s, the main heroine, alarm clock signaling the start of her journey, which is followed by the passionate music of the live band accompanying the students 
performing in the musical.
Hairspray is an upbeat, exciting story about a girl’s adventure, filled with moments of happiness, sadness and, at times, inspiration. Set in Baltimore, Md. in 1962, Turnblad, who is played by Raechelle Egan, a senior majoring in theater performance and interpretive sign language, loves to dance and wants to be on “The Corny Collins” show, before she is stopped by producer, Velma, and her daughter, Amber, who try to ruin her chances of staying on the show. 
It is more than just the dance sequences and enjoyable songs that make this a one-of-a-kind musical. Underneath the optimistic songs and the diverse characters, the story has a deeper storyline about change, integration and the courage to stand up for what is right.
Egan’s optimistic and naive character drives the story.  
Egan said the audience should expect Hairspray to be different from the 2007 version starring Zac Efron and Nikki Blonsky. 
In fact, she said the Director, Andrew Frye, drew inspiration more from the 1988 version of Hairspray, directed by John Waters in order to give Hairspray an “edginess” to it. 
Egan said she wants to portray that “edginess.” 
“(Tracy) also has this edge,” she said. “And that’s what I try to bring to Tracy.”
“Good Morning Baltimore”, “I Can Hear the Bells”, “Welcome to the 60s”, and many of the other familiar songs can all be heard in addition to several new songs and scenes inserted by the director to build story and depth to each character in the story.
The actors convey the emotions and expressions of every character, bringing out the spectacular scenes in this musical creating a compelling story like the Broadway version. The audience is able to laugh and cry with the character, sympathizing alongside and rooting for equality to prevail.
The choreography blows away the audience keeping the crowd in as the songs and the singing of the characters make one tap of his or her foot on the floor with the beat wanting to join along with the cast.
For those going to see the show this weekend and following days, it is a show that is sure to grab the hearts of the young and the young-hearted. 
While it was created in 1988 on film, the story shows many themes that speak to everyone and covers a range of topics that are still relatable to today.
“I think it’s the energy,” Egan said. “The fact it makes you feel those things in everything so it’s against the odds.”
Tickets are $15 for students and $20 for general admission. Shows run from Oct. 11 to Oct. 13 and Oct. 17 to Oct. 20, and begin at 8 p.m. and on Oct. 14 and Oct. 21 at 3 p.m. in Theater I.

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