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CHS can’t stop of the beat of Hairspray

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By: Robyn Epstein, Spring Reporter

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On March 22-25, 2018 Colonia High School theater production put on the musical, Hairspray.  Hairspray is a family friendly show containing meaningful messages inspiring viewers to stand up for what is right. This was the biggest money making show to cross the Colonia stage in 15 years. 

In 2003, nominated for a total of 13 awards, Hairspray won eight, including Best Musical, Book, Score and Direction. The production lasted over six years, with a total of 2,642 performances. Now, it has made its way to Colonia High School.

In her 16th year of directing at CHS, Stephanie Platko, theater arts and public speaking teacher, strives to perfectly cast each role with the best actor for the role. Her advisory team composed of Instrumental Music Director Kevin Perdoni, Technical Director Melissa Abrams, Set Construction Advisor Brian Long, Vocal Music Director Eric Johnston, Costume Designer Danielle Allen,  Lighting Designer Bob Seesselberg and Choreographer Quienzell Bunch put in countless hours of work after school and on weekends for three month.

In 1962, a quirky teenage girl, Tracy Turnblad, played by Kelly Branco, has one dream, to dance for Corny Collins, played by Ryan Campbell, on his show. She and her partner in crime, Penny Pingleton, played by Amanda Kavaja, have to rush home  after school in order to see the show.

When an opportunity comes around, many aren’t too pleased with her because of her size especially Amber, played by Julia Cleary, and her mother, Velma, played by Anastasia Francisquini. Amber’s boyfriend, Link, played by Sean Ragan, is the peacekeeper in this situation. Link is the heart-throb Tracy longs to kiss.

After a few times in detention and a heated dodgeball game, Tracy and her pals go to the other side of town with Seaweed, played by Dervens Celestin, and his gang of minorities. Even though Tracy was open about her thoughts on segregation, this is where she realizes enough is enough. African Americans and Caucasian people should be able to dance together.

After protests and a visit to jail, Tracy is finally able to succeed and the Corny Collins Show is finally and forever integrated.

Musical Review

Branco fit the role as Tracy Turnblad perfectly and her vocals were outstanding. Ragan played a great Link and was the heartthrob the character has to and should be. Campbell was a exceptional Corny Collins and his rendition of Nicest Kids in Town was fantastic. Every single person who helped out did their part to, overall, make the show as best as possible.

Anthony Piccininni’s role as Edna Turnblad stole the show. He was funny, caring, and a great mother to Branco’s character, Tracy. My favorite part of his performance was his big reveal at the end. When he came out of the confetti exploding hairspray can in that beautiful sparkling, red mermaid dress, the audience went nuts.

There were many show stopping numbers numbers in this musical. They include Good Morning Baltimore, I Can Hear the Bells, You’re Timeless To Me, and You Can’t Stop the Beat. My favorite song of the whole show was the song Run and Tell That sung by Celestin. It is an upbeat song with powerful lyrics.

Polished and toe-tapping was the dancing, especially by the nicest kids in town.

Other songs with powerful music and choreography were Big Blonde and Beautiful and I Know Where I’ve Been.  Motormouth Maybelle, played by Destiny Davis, sang both songs.  Big Blonde and Beautiful taught the audience to accept whatever they look like.

The show was overall great, however, the microphone sound would cut out here and there. Also, either some of the ensemble  characters weren’t miked and should have been or their microphones didn’t work at all. With great performances and acting by the cast, I feel that this took away from the show.

Even with the few errors, the cast and crew of Hairspray put on the performance of their lives. They should be absolutely proud of themselves.  

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CHS can’t stop of the beat of Hairspray