The University of Central Missouri is bringing the 1960s to patrons through the production of “Hairspray” this week.
The musical runs Thursday-Sunday at Highlander Theater at UCM. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets start at $10 for students, $15 for seniors and military, and $20 for the general public.
According to Broadway Musical Home, the production was based off of the 1988 John Waters film and wasn’t turned into a musical until 2002 and later a musical film in 2007. It received several Tony Award nominations in 2003 including Best Musical, Best Musical Score, and Best Costume Design.
“Hairspray” is about Tracy Turnblad, a young girl in the 1960s who only wants to dance. Her dream is to earn a spot on “The Corny Collins Show,” where she attempts to challenge racial segregation and bring everyone together.
Mary Trotter, assistant professor of theatre and director for “Hairspray”, said the faculty decided on the production because of its popularity and requests from the students. Auditions were held the second day of classes and rehearsals began that Friday.
“It’s a really, really big show and we’re rehearsing in a very condensed time period,” Trotter said. “But the students are working really hard and having a blast and I think it will be great.”
Trotter said her favorite memory of the musical so far has been watching her colleagues work with the students and help shape the production.
“When you’re directing a big musical like this, there’s so much creative work that comes from other people,” she said. “You have to rely on your choreographer and music director quite a bit because they’re contributing in a creative way that you don’t experience when directing a play.”
This is Trotter’s second production at UCM after directing “Godspell” last spring.
“I hope we’re going to sell out a couple of nights, so I’d encourage people to get their tickets early,” she said.
Noelle Eithun, senior performance major, is playing the role of Tracy Turnblad. This is her first lead role, and she said it has been a dream role of hers for a long time.
“I feel like it also stems from the fact that I know exactly how it feels,” she said, “since I’m someone who’s a curvier girl and I’ve gone through many of the same kind of experiences in that way as well.”
Eithun said she can see herself in Tracy and the outlook the character has on the world and people around her.
“She’s very positive, uplifting, inspiring and confident,” Eithun said. “She’s just like how I want to be anyway, so it’s kind of nice to play someone so headstrong.”
Eithun said her main advice for anyone interested in theatre is to prepare and work hard for a role.
“You have to take every experience as a learning experience,” she said. “To understand that if it didn’t work out, it didn’t work out for a reason and something else is around the corner.”