Eastland Performing Arts
'Hairspray' promotes message of tolerance
Rehearsing a scene from the Eastland Peforming Arts production of "Hairspray" are (from left) Michaela Bateman as Lil Inez, Marisa Reigle as Amber Von Tussle, Logan Baker as Tracy Turnblad, Jordan Stinson (top) as Edna Turnblad, JT Thompson as Link Larkin, and Clay Davis as Corny Collins. Buy This Photo
Plump is powerful and big hair is a style statement in the Eastland Performing Arts production of Hairspray.
The musical's original Broadway production ran from 2002 to 2009 and won eight Tony Awards.
Director Doreen Dunn said the comedy is a "dance musical" that also sports a more serious theme -- a teenager's campaign for tolerance.
"We have some fabulous dancers," she said. "I love the music and spirit of the show. It is so all-inclusive and promotes tolerance of all differences, with humor."
The story is set in Baltimore, Md., in 1962 and follows plump teenager Tracy Turnblad's dream to dance on The Corny Collins Show. Once she wins a place on the show, she begins a campaign to integrate the show, as she doesn't think it is fair that black teenagers are allowed to dance in the show only once a month.
Performances include the opening night Anita C. Miller Scholarship Fund benefit at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 18, at the Reynoldsburg High School Theater, 6699 E. Livingston Ave.
Tickets are $12, and all proceeds go directly to the Anita C. Miller Scholarship Fund.
Dunn said the benefit performance includes pre-performance refreshments at 7 p.m.
"Anita Miller was on the board of education for Eastland and for Reynoldsburg and managed to get everyone to agree to start an arts program," Dunn said. "She believed that the arts make a huge difference in children's lives and wanted to have a dedicated program where students could get serious training in acting, dance and music."
Dunn said the Anita C. Miller Scholarship Fund Committee gives annual scholarships from $1,000 to $3,000 to outstanding performing-arts students.
Miller also served as a Truro Township clerk and in numerous volunteer positions. She died in 1998.
Succeeding performances of the musical begin at 8 p.m. Friday, April 19, and Saturday, April 20, with a matinee performance at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 21, all at Reynoldsburg High School.
Tickets are $9 for adults; $6 for senior citizens and $5 for students. For ticket information, call 614-501-4071.
With music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, the musical is based on the 1988 John Waters' film, Hairspray.
Dunn said more than 100 students are involved in the production, along with the Reynoldsburg High School Orchestra, directed by Kathy VanSant. The choreographer is Gale LeVan.
Reynoldsburg senior Logan Baker plays Tracy but has to wear a padded suit under her costumes to get to Tracy's girth.
Baker said the suit is "really warm."
"It will be a challenge because I was really warm just standing around in the suit," she said. "But I love playing Tracy. She is a really funny girl and dances to the beat of her own drum. It has been a blast."
She said the story is inspiring.
"I like the fact that Tracy cared for everyone, not just the white kids, but the black kids and all kids," she said. "The story shows that kids can make a difference, even back in the 1960s. The message is that everyone should have an equal opportunity to do the things they love to do."
Baker said Ashland University is the top college she is considering after high school. She plans to major in theater, musical theater and music.
Other Reynoldsburg students in leading roles include freshman Kelsey Matthews as Penny; senior Marisa Riegle as Amber; sophomore Ariana Bravard as Velma; junior Jordan Stinson as Edna; sophomore Jaymi Horn as Motormouth; senior Michaela Bateman as Little Inez; junior Jordan Thompson as Link; sophomore Sherman Ingram as Seaweed and juniors Natalie Love as Prudy and Sergio Cardenas as Wilbur.
Supporting roles are played by juniors Clay Davis (Corny), Craig Fowlkes and Jasmine Patterson, from Canal Winchester; juniors Shawanda Don, Jasmine Ellzy and Ayla Artler, from Groveport Madison; senior Corrine Buuck and junior Bhavika Maru, from New Albany; junior Cody Thomas, from Liberty Union; and seniors Megan Williams, O'livia Artis and Rebecca Blackburn, from Pickerington.
The Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools is an educational extension of 16 school districts in Fairfield, Franklin and Pickaway counties.