The air in the Lyceum was filled with aerosol and ‘60s rhythm and blues as the Vanguard theater department put on the musical classic “Hairspray.” “Hairspray” is a fun-filled musical that simultaneously exposes the racial tension of the 1960s and warms our hearts with characters we fall in love with by the end of the two-hour production.
“It has great music as well a really powerful message about tolerance,” said director Vanda Eggington. “I grew up during the Civil Rights Era, so this topic was very close to my heart.”
The musical opens with Tracy Turnblad, played by sophomore Ryanna Marsh, singing her good-mornings to Baltimore with the accompaniment of the band.
“I love being Tracy; it’s not only a huge role but a hard one. It’s my dream role and I was speechless when I found out I would be playing her,” Marsh said.
As true with any production of “Hairspray”, so much of the performance is what the actors choose to bring to the characters.
“I really loved working with some new kids on this production. We had to use some students who weren’t part of the Theater department so it was fun to get to know new kids and I think we really bonded as a family,” Egginton said.
Junior Troy Iwata shined as the classic character of Corny Collins, naturally the host of the Corny Collins Show. He had a beaming smile with every dancing step and his vocal ability set him apart.
Junior Luke Rhoades took on the female role of Mrs. Turnblad, even donning a pair of five-inch heels for the final scene. Freshman Kaciny Emile played rhyming and jiving Motormouth Maybelle and had star moments during the number, “I Know Where I’ve Been.”
Hearthrob Link Larkin was played by freshman Drew Bradford who was more adorable than suave but still won the crowd’s heart.
Bretlyn Schmitt captured the essence of Penny Pingleton with her quirky facial expressions and gawky charm.
The thing that will be most true about this production is that is will only get better; scenes and actors felt a little rushed and panicky at times.
“Ain’t no black and white in here; detention is a rainbow experience,” said the character Seaweed, played by junior Preston Butler. This was especially depicted in the set decoration of the colorful drapes in the background and vibrant costume choices.
There was a good use of the entire stage throughout the duration of the performance. The characters came into the aisles of the audience several times during the musical and there were also a couple scenes on a second story, which drew the audience’s attention all over the Lyceum.
“Hairspray” will be playing each weekend until the end of April in the Lyceum.
“I hope as many people come as they can because Hairspray has such a strong message and you can leave feeling hopeful. Life is so stressful, it’s good to have two hours to laugh and forget about your cares,” Eggington said.