The Magic of It All: Hairspray
by Lydia Prendergast
The lights. The costumes. And that darn confetti that just won’t seem to leave. This year’s production of Hairspray was one for the books, but what went into making the show? And what really happened behind that gold curtain? While partaking in the show, I was able to see the musical come together from the start. And let me tell you one thing: it took a whole lot of work.
Auditions occurred back in December, right before Christmas break. Everyone was bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to sing their hearts out to Mrs. Brobst and her entourage of stage managers and assistants. After everyone was informed of their roles and the first real rehearsal came around, the cast was eager to dig into the music and dance. Being part of the ensemble (still a very important part of the show), I had time to spare during many rehearsals. I found this to be very beneficial, because not only was I able to get a break (3 hour rehearsals after school every day are tiring--but very worth it) but also I was able to really see the show come together. Slowly but surely you could tell that we were putting on a production and not a jumble of a few songs and dances.
If I’m honest, the show was kind of a mess until about two weeks before we performed. The week before tech week was one of the worst. Everyone was exhausted, the work was tedious, and we didn’t have costumes, a full set, etc. But something happened the Friday night before we dove into tech week. The set started to come together, and the gold curtain came. When usually the entire cast and crew were totally exhausted at the closing of a long week and the ending of a Friday rehearsal, something instead just clicked. I remember it clearly. We were dancing to Welcome to the 60s (if you saw the show you know it--the song is probably stuck in your head now), and it was as if a magical button was pressed. The stage lights came on, a few lead roles were starting to accumulate costumes, and for some reason the energy was at an all time high. Katie, our director, cried tears of joy that night when we finished. From that point on it was a whirlwind of makeup, costumes, tech, singing, and all things Hairspray. Tech week seemed to fly by but also last a lifetime all at once, and the end product, months of hard work, finally came together.
If you didn’t make it to the musical, you really did miss out. The colors were vibrant, the costumes bright, and the actors sparkled with pride. There was a full house every single night, with a standing ovation not only at the end of the show at curtain call but also for the amazing Motormouth Maybelle (also known as Selina Williams-Pascual).
Danielle Delaney, who played Tracy Turnblad, described the experience of putting on the show: “My favorite part of the musical was right after our first show when we walked off. The rush of knowing that all our hard work just got shown to hundreds of people was amazing, and everyone just cried because of how happy we were.” I was also able to speak with Kayla Fitzgerald, who played the role of Amber VonTussle, Tracy’s enemy, about her thoughts on the show. She explained, “Canton High's production of Hairspray was one of the greatest experiences of my life. At the beginning, I was skeptical that our small drama club was going to be able to put on such a complex and difficult show. However, I was definitely wrong. From our very first rehearsal, I knew we were going to have something special....After thinking back on the experience, I realize that choosing a favorite part would be impossible. I could never choose between the many rehearsals, cast dinners, or amazing performances.” The entirety of Drama Club and all of CHS have been glowing because of this stellar performance, and I’m so glad to have been a part of it!