'You Can't Stop the Beat'

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:29

Monroe-Woodbury High School’s production of 'Hairspray’ opens tonight Central Valley — The first of three Monroe- Woodbury High School Drama Club performances of “Hairspray” begin this evening, March 25 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Hairspray is the story of teen Tracy Turnblad, (Lisette Kortright) whose dream of becoming a regular on her favorite dance show becomes a reality. Tracy and her best friend Penny Pingleton (Meredith O’Brien) teach 1962 Baltimore a lesson on integration when Tracy uses her celebrity status to break through racial barriers. Tracy runs into some opposition when dance show regular, Amber Von Tussle (Lilliana Kulak) and her controlling stage mom, former Beauty Queen, Velma Von Tussle (Olivia Melendez) are threatened by Tracy’s unconventional talent and her passion for equality. Monroe-Woodbury is one of the first high schools granted the rights to produce the Broadway version of Hairspray and features 120 students in the cast and crew, directed by Stacy Hintze, with musical direction by Dr. David Crone and choreography by Susan Lennon. “It has been a huge challenge,” said Stacy Hintze who brings 23 years of directing experience to the production. “The show is ridiculously fast paced, with sophisticated writing that allows young artists to challenge their acting chops. I have been so privileged to work on this show with such an incredible group of kids. Their dedication and love of theatre has been the driving force. With an incredible cast of supporting actors, three separate choruses and an overall sense of pride and enthusiasm, we feel exceptionally confident that Hairspray will exceed expectations.” Among the campy cast of characters are the touching portrayal of Tracy’s parents Wilbur Turnblad (Jake Centra) and, in keeping with Hairspray tradition, the role of Edna Turnblad will be played by Carl Storkman. “The message of Hairspray grows stronger as time goes on and the meaning grows more special,” cast member and Drama Club Officer Michael Tarasoff (Mr. Pinky) said. “During the rehearsal process, I have become closer with my cast members and care for them like a family. The music is difficult to learn, but great, and the humor is the dry edgy type that I can’t get enough of.” Added sophomore Lilianna Kulak (Amber Von Tussle): “Hairspray has a lot of huge characters that the cast got to play and an amazing vocal score, but the sheer amount of dancing in this show is quite the challenge.” Show officials said he musical score “is upbeat, toe tappin’” and provided by students who are members of the pit orchestra under the direction of Richard Regan. Set design and construction materialize through the work of the technical crew guided by Rick Cronk. Lighting and sound are contributed by the audio-visual crew under the direction of Earl and senior Heather Young. Costume coordination is run by Mary Turner and senior Tara Fragiacomo.

If you go
Hairspray showtimes:
Tonight, March 25 ,at 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 26, at 7 p.m.
Sunday, March 27, at 1 p.m.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students.

Meet the cast
Lissette Kortwright - Tracy Turnblad
Carl Storckman - Edna Turnblad
Jake Centra - Wilbur Turnblad
Dorian Skinne r- Seaweed J.Stubbs
Meredith OBrien-Penny Pingleton
Ariana Nardella-Prudy Pingleton
Velma Von Tussle - Olivia Melendez
Amber Von Tussle - Lilly Kulak
Link Larkin - Andrew Petrilak
Little Inez - Jacqueline- Charlot
Motormouth Maybelle - Julia Morales