Walled Lake Central fixed on ‘Hairspray’

By: Eric Czarnik | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published March 12, 2013

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WALLED LAKE — Acting students at Walled Lake Central High School will put on their dancing shoes when the school presents the musical “Hairspray” this month, starting March 14.

Director Mary Rashid called “Hairspray” a big show with plenty of dancing, strong music and memorable characters. She also pointed out the perfect timing of the presentation with some of the musical’s anti-racist themes.

“Truth be told, this is the 150th year of the Emancipation Proclamation and Rosa Parks’ 100th birthday, and I’ve wanted to do ‘Hairspray’ for a long time,” she said.

“Now it’s time. We don’t have a large African-American population, but I’ve got a great turnout. This show, everyone knows because of the movie.”

“Hairspray,” inspired by a 1988 John Waters movie of the same name, and which later inspired a 2007 movie version of the musical starring John Travolta, is the story of a plus-sized teenaged girl named Tracy Turnblad who successfully desegregates a TV dance show in the 1960s.

“She gets the guy, she beats out the prom queen and she integrates the show, all without denting her ’do,” Rashid said. “The story is very upbeat. It treats the important subject matter in a way that gives you hope.”

According to the production, the musical is a combined effort of more than 150 students, alumni, parent volunteers and school staff members. Walled Lake Central sophomore Abby Claybaugh is playing the role of Tracy and said she is excited to perform it.

“She has big everything,” Claybaugh said. “She is chubby, she has a big personality, a big heart.”

Caleb Baird, a high school senior, said this show is his first production at Walled Lake Central, though he added that he has performed in community theater before. He is playing the role of Tracy’s mother, Edna, which is usually portrayed by a male actor.

“She starts off reserved, but when her daughter, Tracy, starts going against the social norms, she gets worried because she doesn’t want her daughter to get hurt,” Baird explained.

“Developing the character is really fun because there are no boundaries with Edna. You can kind of go where you want with it. You can be funny and be serious.”

Walled Lake Central High School, 1600 Oakley Park Road, will present “Hairspray” March 14, 16, 17 and 21-24. Opening night tickets are $10 for all seats, and the other days’ tickets are $17 or $15 for students and senior citizens.

Learn more about tickets and show times at www.wlcstickets.com or at (248) 956-4980.

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