By Megan Bartlett & Mary Husser
On Apr. 19-21, the DHS Drama Club in association with International Thespian Troupe #679 put on a production of the Broadway musical “Hairspray.” The first theatre production of “Hairspray” originally stemmed from the 1988 film directed by John Waters. In 2002, the movie was adapted into a Tony Award winning musical. 2007 saw it recreated to introduce themes of integration and the concept of an underdog beating the odds.
To pull off the production of a film consisting of different ethnicities and a lot of roles, there had to be minority casting.
Among those who tried out for a minority role was freshman Malcolm Brooks, who went into auditions determined to get the part of Seaweed, and walked out successful.
“They automatically knew it was me,” Brooks said. “I was on stage and it just clicked for them. The way that it was, I feel like it showed that this school isn’t just a white school, it’s a mixed school, and we have a whole bunch of different races coming together.”
Senior Jeannine Wolf also auditioned for “Hairspray,” but as a dare by a friend.
“It was funny,” Wolf said. “I just figured ‘Oh yeah, I’ll try out but I won’t get a lead or a part,’ and then I walked out of the tryouts with a lead.”
Being a musical, most lead roles in “Hairspray” required at least minimal vocal talent. Having an important part meant bringing Wolf’s voice out of the hypothetical closet and into the open to her peers.
“I don’t really sing in front of my parents or a choir, I sing in the shower,” Wolf said. “So, I was nervous. But now it’s not like I can lock up my voice or my acting in a box anymore and keep it from everybody. ”
The cast put hours of work into perfecting their performance. For four months, two hours a day were spent rehearsing. The week of the show, rehearsals were extended to seven hours a day.
“It is a lot of hard work,” Wolf said. “You definitely have your tradeoffs, I could be involved in this one activity or extracurricular but instead I’m doing the musical. Your friends become your cast members. It’s like
I’m just hanging out with a different group of friends. It was a good experience.”
In the end, the show came together. There was a high turnout for all three nights, which was a success for the DHS Drama department.
“I was really pleased with everyone; I thought they did a great job,” Wolf said. “Thursday was our opening night, and that was only the third time we had run through the play from start to finish. I was impressed with everyone.”
Senior Andrew Sheets appreciated “Hairspray” as his last high school production.
“Hairspray was a phenomenal show,” Sheets said. “It’s always fun to watch the underclassmen grow and mature under the pressure of performing. It was a great way to end my Dow Drama career. It’s also interesting to see people who are new to the program because their talents are so surprising.”
As a senior as well, Wolf will also take a lot away from the production.
“At first, I was like, ‘okay, I don’t really know any of these kids because we come from a lot of different groups,’” Wolf said. “I was like, ‘I don’t really talk to these people.’ Not in a mean way though. After the show, we’re just so close. These are some of my best friends. The chemistry was strong. It was just cool to work with everyone. I wouldn’t give up the experience for anything; its definitely taught me a lot of life lessons.”
Even as a freshman, Brooks was grateful for the experience, and the friends he was able to take with him.
“Hairspray is amazing, and I love the people that I work with,” Brooks said. “I love everybody that did it, and I think that musicals and plays are something that are really helpful to people. It was a really great play and everyone really worked together on it. We came together. The way the performance went, I felt like we were a family more than a bunch of friends just doing it.”