By Anir Senyah
The New Citizens Press
E. LANSING, MI – The fantastically fun musical Hairspray opened on Broadway in August 2002 to rave reviews, winning eight 2003 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. And now, the people of mid-Michigan will be swept away to 1960s Baltimore in this mega-hit, piled bouffant-high with laughter and romance – and enough deliriously tuneful songs to fill a nonstop platter party.
The Wharton Center brings a smash broadway musical to its venue at a time when laughter is needed in wake of the natural disasters that have been occurring in recent weeks.
Hairspray is a set in the early ‘60’s at a time when racial tensions were high. In 1960, the Civil Rights Act of 1960 was signed by former President Dwight Eisenhower. Also for the first time the Presidential Debates were televised for the first time. During this time Martin Luther King, Jr. and John F. Kennedy were topics of conversation at the dinner table.
The ‘50’s were out and a change was in the air. Attitudes toward race were being influenced by politics and especially music. This play explores the relationship between youth culture and the development of music genres, and the way in which it influences Baltimore’s Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, has only one passion—to dance. She wins a spot on the local TV dance program, “The Corny Collins Show” with steps she learns from Seaweed Stubbs, the son of Motormouth Maybelle (the host of once-a-month “Negro Day” on The Corny Collins Show.) She becomes an overnight, is transformed from outsider to irrepressible teen celebrity.
Even though this musical explores social issues some of which are race, weight and self acceptance, the exploration takes you on a wonderful ride into the “big hair day” and the “power to the underdog’s way” kind of feeling. For a wonderful time see this comical musical it will lift your spirits and encourage you at a time when our country needs it most. This is a family friendly musical so bring the whole family but discussing the racial tensions of the ’60’s before you go would make the musical a more enjoyable experience for the younger generations. For more information log on to www.hairsprayontour.com.
Hairspray will be showing October 18-23, 2005 and ticket prices are $38.50-$68.00. The box office phone number is 1-800-WHARTON or log on to www.whartoncenter.com.