Based on the 1988 John Waters film starring Ricki Lake, the musical takes place in 1962 Baltimore. Big-haired and boisterous Tracy Turnblad dreams of dancing on the hit television program, “The Corny Collins Show,” and falling in love with the dreamy Link Larkin. When Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes an overnight celebrity which allows her to launch a campaign to integrate the show. The original Broadway production of the musical won eight Tony Awards in 2003.
“Hairspray is very much a show about dreaming of a better world and believing that the good in people will prevail, that we can all be accepted and loved as we are,” said director Kate Muchmore, visiting assistant professor of theatre. “It has been a delight to see IC students and Jacksonville community members come together to share their dreams and produce this wonderful, musical, lively, and spectacularly fun show!”
The cast of 33 includes Illinois College students, faculty, staff and community members. First-year student Clare Frachey of Rochester is cast at Tracy, while junior Ross Barker of Freeport is playing the role of Link Larkin. Other principal cast members include Jacksonville residents Kyle Cummings (Corny Collins) and Autumn Brown (Amber Von Tussle), and Anna Booher of Springfield (Penny Pingleton).
Illinois College students Zipporea Abdulmalik, Kate Baker, Aba Crentsil, Aniefiok Ekong, Jami-Di Gearhart, Chris Harris, Khaleelah Johnson, Kathryn Long, Allen Miggins, Taylor Molandro, Matt Nall, Andrenique Newbon, Sheldon Null, Wendy Orhin, Taylor Smith, Jon Stallons, Kate VonDeBur and Cory Washington, and are also cast in the musical.
Faculty and staff members cast in the production include Kevin Klein, professor of economics (Wilbur Turnblad), Kristin Van Aken Jamison, director of communications and media relations (Velma Von Tussle) and Jeremy Hommowun, residential life area coordinator.
Jacksonville and surrounding community members Kiara Caskey (Inez Stubbs), Mark Coultas (Edna Turnblad), Kendi Klein, Gabe Knott, Zach Pickens (Seaweed Stubbs), Evan Rumler and Tiffany Williams (Motormouth Maybelle) round out the cast of characters.
The producing arm of the department of theatre, TheatreWorks mounts one musical every three years. Undertaking a large production like “Hairspray” has been a combined effort of many in the college and local communities.
“We chose ‘Hairspray’ as our first musical in years because it is an exciting show with a poignant message, and we felt we could entice theatregoers who might be unfamiliar with TheatreWorks to come to campus and see what we do on our stage,” explained Craig Steenerson, associate professor of theatre. “We have been fortunate to receive assistance from many businesses and individuals in the community which has allowed us to produce a show with fine acting, dancing and singing, as well as first-rate sound, lighting, costumes and live music.”
Director of Choral Activities Abby Musgrove is providing musical direction, Jacksonville resident Sarah Frye is the show’s choreographer, and Jane Brownback of Ashland serving as costumer.
“Hairspray” performances will be held in McGaw Fine Arts Center’s Sibert Theatre on March 24, 29, 30 and 31 at 7:30 p.m., and March 25 and April 1 at 2 p.m. Tickets are priced at $10 for adults and $7 for children 12 and younger. Contact the IC TheatreWorks Box Office at 217.245.3471 to reserve tickets or order online here