When portly teenager, Tracy Turnblad, auditions for a TV dance show in racially divided 1960s Baltimore, little does she know her ultimate mission will become to totally integrate the program and help change the world. “That thinking’s downright revolutionary,” says Seaweed J. Stubbs, a star dancer on the TV station’s “Negro Day” who is enlisted by Tracy to help carry out her plan.
That’s the premise for “Hairspray,” a riotous musical based on the movie by John Waters, to be presented by Coffeyville Community College at 7:30 p.m. April 21-23 in the Spencer / Rounds Performing Arts Theatre. As always, admission is free.
CCC’s version of “Hairspray” is under the direction of Christopher Langsford and Allen Twitchell, with John Gilmore leading the musical combo and choreography by Fernando Gomez, a sophomore student from Wichita. Kristi Reedy-Long is the rehearsal accompanist.
The 2002 Broadway musical is by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan with music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman.
“This is the show that came up most often when I sought input from the students last fall as to our choice of spring musical,” said Twitchell. “It’s a challenge, as most musicals are, but we are fortunate to have the talent to meet that challenge, and I think the audience will really enjoy the show. Additionally, the show has a pretty powerful message about equality, tolerance and understanding.”
Playing Tracy is freshman Alexx Parsons from Wellington. Also in the cast are freshman Grant Nutter from Topeka as Corny Collins, sophomore Ricky Joe Pugh from Coffeyville as Edna Turnblad, freshman Rebecca Bell from Salina as Penny Pingleton, freshman Katherine Coleman from Clay Center as Velma Von Tussle, freshman Shelby Fausnaught from Parsons as Amber Von Tussle, freshman Ryan Garrett from Tulsa as Link Larkin, freshman Antanious Fanning from LaGrange, Ga., as Seaweed, freshman Ivy Gillyard from Warren, Mich., as Little Inez, sophomore Chelsie Burroughs from Coffeyville as Motormouth Maybelle, Aaron McCoach of Coffeyville as Wilbur Turnblad, and sophomore Hannah Emberton from Coffeyville as Prudy Pingleton and the Matron.
The ensemble includes Gomez, freshman Cory Conway of Towanda, freshman Rachel Giacin from Ottawa, sophomore Katelynn Harrison from Independence, sophomore Amy King from Delaware, freshman Ahrend Salas from San Jose, Calif., freshman Matt Thande from Parsons, and freshman Brandi Thomas from Kansas City.
The stage manager/technical assistant is freshman Amanda Anschutz from Topeka. Assisting with makeup and hair is sophomore BriA’na Lewis from Claflin. Operating the light board is freshman Elia Saucedo from Holton.
The original film, released in 1988, featured Ricki Lake as Tracy, Debbie Harry as Velma, Jerry Stiller as Wilbur and Divine as Edna. A 2007 remake starred John Travolta as Edna, Michelle Pfeiffer as Velma, Christopher Walken as Wilbur and Queen Latifah as Motormouth.
“Of course, we can’t recreate the movie,” said Twitchell, “but a lot of the same elements are present: the lively truth-telling songs, the quirky characters, the colorful costumes and the really big hair.”