“Welcome to the ’60s”

Wright State theatre department presents “Hairspray”

Photo of three actresses spraying cans of hairspray.

Beth Conley (center) stars as Tracy Turnblad in Wright State’s production of the musical “Hairspray.”

Get ready to grab your can of Aqua-Net and say “Good Morning, Baltimore” because Wright State is staging the smash-hit musical Hairspray.

This energetic comedy is all about bright colors and non-stop fun. It will make you laugh and leave you humming its string of catchy tunes.

“It’s probably one of everybody’s favorite family-friendly musicals these days,” said W. Stuart McDowell, chair of the Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures.

Hairspray’s music combines the foot-tapping dance beats of the 1960s with Motown-style rhythm and blues. It includes memorable songs like “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” “Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now” and “I Can Hear the Bells.”

The story centers on Tracy Turnblad, a plump Baltimore teenager who dreams of dancing on the Corny Collins Show.

After being rejected for the cast due to her size, Tracy learns that others can’t join the cast due to the color of their skin. Her quest for integration, equality and acceptance puts her right in the middle of the civil rights movement and captures the attention of teen heartthrob Link Larkin.

Photo of a female student singing, other students in the background.

“Hairspray” tells a powerful story of equality and acceptance.

“It’s a musical with a great theme about tolerance and diversity,” said McDowell. “And it’s woven together with this great music. It’s just plain fun.”

The musical, based on the 1988 John Waters film starring Ricki Lake, won eight Tony Awards and ran on Broadway for over 2,500 performances.

A 2007 film adaptation of the show starred John Travolta (in the gender-bending role of Edna), Christopher Walken, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Queen Latifah and Dayton native Allison Janney.

Wright State’s production is directed by Joe Deer, who staged WSU Theatre’s 42nd  Street, with choreography by Teressa McWilliams (Thoroughly Modern Millie) and musical direction by Rick Church. The cast includes students Beth Conley as Tracy Turnblad, Drew Helton as Edna Turnblad and Ian Devine as Link Larkin.

Performances run October 27­–November 13 in the Creative Arts Center. Tickets ($20 for adults; $18 for students and seniors) can be purchased by calling the Theatre Box Office at (937) 775-2500.

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