South Pasadena Middle School singers, dancers, actors, and technicians are proud to present their production of the hit Broadway show, Hairspray, opening this weekend and running for six performances at the SPMS main auditorium.
“You can’t stop the beat” in this big and bold musical about one girl’s inspiring dream to dance. The 1950s are out, and change is in the air! Hairspray, winner of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, is a family-friendly musical, piled bouffant-high with laughter, romance and deliriously tuneful songs. It’s 1962 in Baltimore, and the lovable teen, Tracy Turnblad, has only one desire – to dance on the popular “Corny Collins Show.” When her dream comes true, Tracy is transformed from social outcast to sudden star. She must use her newfound power to dethrone the reigning Teen Queen, win the affections of heartthrob, Link Larkin, and integrate a TV network… all without denting her fabulous ‘do! Featuring three incredible casts of SPMS students, a splashy revolving set by Hollywood designer Phil Browne, vintage costumes, and catchy songs, the musical spreads the important messages of equality, self-acceptance, and inclusion.
The students are really enjoying this new collaboration with SGVMT, which allows them to not only perform in the show but also offers crew positions. “Working the stage crew is awesome” says 6th grader Wyatt Dostal, “I’m learning a ton about set construction and lighting, and I’m making new friends along the way.” Echoing that sentiment is Paul Zenas, “SGVMT has been great. All of the instructors are really nice and try to make it fun for everyone.”
SGVMT Managing Director Ray Rochelle tells us, “the kids at SPMS are like sponges; they take in everything you say as a director and process those ideas from an organic, fresh perspective.”
Co-choreographer and Broadway veteran, Linda Igarashi, explains that Hairspray contains not only big production numbers with a lot of high energy dancing but also has important historical relevance, being a piece that focuses on desegregation in the 1960’s. “It has been a powerful educational tool in teaching these great kids at South Pasadena Middle School about this period of time in American history”, says Igarashi, “Hairspray is a fantastic musical theatre piece!”
Director Elder C. Timbol tells us “during auditions there was just so many talented kids trying out for all of the leads, that after the first day, we knew we needed to create multiple casts to let the talent at the school shine. So we did: we created three incredible casts!”
This production marks a new partnership between South Pasadena Unified School District and San Gabriel Valley Music Theatre, to bring SGVMT’s educational program the Broadway Locker to SPMS. The Broadway Locker creates a conservatory style learning environment on the campus teaching students acting, text analysis, character development, vocal technique, dance, design and stage craft while rehearsing a big Broadway show. This student production is directed by stage veteran Elder Timbol and choreographed by Broadway star Linda Igarashi and Felicity Morris. SGVMT’s producing artistic director Bobby Hundley and managing director Ray Rochelle serve as guest artists teaching SPMS students master classes in musical theatre and working one on one with them on the production.
Since 2004 the San Gabriel Valley Music Theatre has produced over twenty professional musicals, concerts, and revues at the historic 1,300 seat San Gabriel Mission Playhouse. This summer SGVMT is partnering with the Mission Playhouse to offer a program entitled “Summer Stock for Students”, from July 16th-August 4th, where students will learn how to put together their own summer stock musical theatre troupe, rehearse, produce, and act in a show on the beautiful Mission Playhouse stage.
HAIRSPRAY runs April 27 through May 6 at South Pasadena Middle School. For Tickets visit http://www.ticketor.com/SGVMT. $20 Reserved Seating. $10 General Seating.