It's 1962. John F. Kennedy has just been elected president. The Vietnam War is beginning. Racism and sexism are at a new height, with racial segregation leaking into every interaction. But in Baltimore, Maryland, Tracy Turnblad, an overweight teenage girl, is doing her part to end the discrimination with singing and dancing. SCH Academy brought the Swinging Sixties back to life in their production of the musical Hairspray.
Hairspray, the stage musical, was based on the 1988 movie of the same name, and went on to win eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It tells the story of young, ever-optimistic Tracy Turnblad, and her quest to be on the popular teen show "The Corny Collins Show", despite her size. Tracy dances her way to way to stardom, overcoming discrimination for her weight, confronting bullies, falling in love, and leading a revolution to end racial segregation.
SCH Academy accurately portrayed the prejudice and bigotry of the time, but also showed off the glittering, dramatic, and bright new world of the '60s. The production was driven by strong leads, bold voices, and a high energy ensemble.
Karah Barrist led the show with her cheeky, cheerful, and energetic portrayal of Tracy Turnblad. Barrist's strong voice and ever-present smile complemented Jack Allison's genuine and charming portrayal of the dreamy Link Larkin. Both leads had strong chemistry throughout the show, and brought energy and romance to production.
Amid the bright lights and dark discrimination, Maya Jones's portrayal of the soulful Motormouth Maybelle stood out. Jone's impressive voice shone in showstoppers like the sassy Big, Blonde, and Beautiful, and brought the audience to their feet in the impassioned I Know Where I've Been. Jone's remarkable portrayal was accompanied by Robert Hass (Wilbur Turnblad) and John Funchion's (Edna Turnblad) comedic energy, and the spirit of the ensemble as a whole.
The bright world of the Swinging Sixties was brought to the stage through the sparkling costumes, bold music, and eye-catching sets. The stage crew seamlessly changed between scenes, and the technical crews held strong, after overcoming a few obstacles in the beginning of the performance. Though at times singers were hard to hear, they were balanced out by the high-energy cast, lively humor, and a visible love of the show.
SCH Academy's production of Hairspray captured the heart of the Sixties, bringing to life the bright lights, colors, and music of the era, while also facing the difficult issues of racial segregation, bullying, and standing up for what you believe in.