Vanguard’s Department of Theatre Arts Presents the Musical Comedy Hairspray Starting April 12

Vanguard’s Department of Theatre Arts will present a toe-tappin’ musical classic that’s all about taking hair and equality to new heights.

Opening Friday, April 12, at 8:00 p.m., the Department of Theatre Arts’ rendition of the musical comedy, Hairspray, will capture audience’s attention with humor, a good time and a message that blasts stereotypes and racial discrimination into thin air. The play runs until Sunday, April 28, in the Lyceum Theater located on Vanguard’s campus.

Written by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, Hairspray is set in 1960s Baltimore when the loveable plus-size heroine, Tracy Turnblad, follows her passion for dancing and wins a spot on a local TV dance program. The music is by March Shaiman and the lyrics are by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. The show’s director, VU musical theatre professor Vanda Eggington, has this to say about the show:

The first time I watched Hairspray and saw the first few numbers, I got what I call my “musical theater high”. Admittedly, the show was a little cartoonish. But oh my, the craft that went into it! The stunning choreography, the brilliant imitations of rock tunes from the 60’s, even the musical arrangements, with their hair-raising modulations and complex back-up singing – clearly, this show was put together by professionals working at the very top of their game. Hairspray has a kind of old world craftsmanship that you don’t see much these days, and I settled back in my seat expecting a riotous good time.

But then, about 10 minutes in, the cast sang a line that surprised me so much that I literally let out a yelp in the crowded theater. I won’t give away the moment here, but I was stunned to find this silly musical suddenly grappling with a serious issue. I know I might not look it (!), but I grew up during the period of this musical, and to have these old political and musical conflicts resurface, in a silly musical no less, was equally shocking and satisfying.

So, Hairspray turns out to be meaningful. To place the grand old musical comedy at the service of something other than a love story, to sing and dance our way through our checkered past – well, that’s just a little bit revolutionary, which matches up perfectly with the cultural and musical revolutions at the heart of Hairspray.

So, join us in the world of big songs, big hair and big dreams as we journey back to 1962 Baltimore where trend-setting Tracy Turnblad needs the help of her best friend, Penny, her big-hearted mother and the sassy Motormouth Maybelle to present a world in which, all it takes to make a dream come true is a toe-tappin’ beat and a lot of hairspray! Enjoy!

Ticket prices are $17 for general admission and $14 for seniors and children. To purchase tickets, click here or call the VU Theatre Department box office at 714-668-6145.

To learn more about the play, click here.

Vanguard’s Faculty Distinguished Speaker Series to Host William A. Dyrness, Ph.D., Professor of Theology and Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary, on Thursday, April 18.

Vanguard’s Office of the Provost and the Faculty Development Committee will host the next distinguished speaker lecture series on April 18 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Held in the Great Commission Hall, the series will feature William A. Dyrness, Ph.D., the professor of theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary.  Dr. Dyrness has prepared an engaging and timely lecture entitled: What Good Does Art Do? The Role of the Artist in Healing the Earth.

With more than 30 years of teaching experience in various countries including the U.S., the Philippines, Kenya and South Korea, Dr. Dyrness carries a wealth of knowledge and experience. He has published works in theology and culture, apologetics, theology and art, and global missions. At Fuller Theological Seminary, Dr. Dyrness teaches several theology courses.

In his many areas of expertise, Dr. Dyrness has researched, written and taught on subjects like theology and culture (especially theology and the visual arts), Protestant vision since the Reformation in relation to the visual arts, non-Western theology, Christian apologetics and global theology.

Also, Dr. Dyrness has served on the national boards of Christians in the Visual Arts and Development Associates International. And he is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church.

Currently, Dr. Dyrness is working on a major research project on the use of visual images in worship in Christian, Buddhist and Muslim communities, which is funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. In addition, he is co-authoring a book with art historian Dan Siedell on the religious influences of modern art.

Please RSVP for this event by contacting Julie Cowen (

To read more about Dr. Dyrness, visit his Fuller faculty biography by clicking here.

Vanguard Professor to Present Paper at Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) Conference on April 11

Vanguard’s Assistant Professor of Political Science, Kevin Walker, Ph.D., will present his paper, “When Progress Had an End: Happiness and Historicism in the Political Philosophy of Thomas Jefferson,” at the Midwest Political Science Association conference on April 11.

The paper explores two conflicting definitions Thomas Jefferson gave concerning happiness and the state. In his abstract, Dr. Walker states that understanding this “uniquely Jeffersonian paradox” should, in his opinion, help in recovering “the value of tradition as the vehicle of natural right and a surer protection of our liberties.”

To read his paper, click here and then scroll down to select his paper.

Vanguard to Host Chamber Music Concert on April 12

For a night of instrumental serenades, come to Vanguard’s Spring Chamber Music Concert on April 12.

The event starts at 7:00 p.m. in Needham Chapel. It will be an evening of duets, a triplet and a quintet playing instruments like the violin and piano to the organ and bassoon. Six pieces will be performed during the one-hour concert.

The chamber music pieces date back to the 1800s with one more modern piece from 1961. Eighteen students will perform in their separate groups contributing with their individual instruments. Composers include: Craig Phillips, Mel Bonis, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Marcel Tournier, Astor Piazzolla (arr. Jose Bragato) and Robert Schumann. In addition, various musical movements will be represented in the pieces performed.

This is a great opportunity to hear the musical talents of some of Vanguard’s gifted students.

To see contact information for the event, click here.

Vanguard to Host A Night of Spoken Word on April 11

Bring your snapping fingers for an evening of spoken word from performers Janette…ikz and Ezekiel from the Passion 4 Christ Movement (P4CM).

On April 11, Vanguard will host a spoken word event for students, faculty, alumni and the community. The event is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. in the Vanguard University Scott Courtyard.

P4CM brings together artists with a passion for Christ to creatively spread Biblical truth to the ends of the earth. Two of these artists, poets Janette…ikz and Ezekiel Azonwu, will be the featured speakers for Vanguard’s spoken word event. Another P4CM poet, Jose Palos, is in Vanguard’s School for Professional Studies. For a preview of their work, you can visit P4CM’s YouTube page.

Director of Diversity Programming and coordinator for the event, Thandiwe Dinani said: “Janette and Ezekiel are actually being brought back to Vanguard due to popular demand. We did an event last year, and students loved it so much that they asked if we could bring them again.” Last year, the event packed out the chapel and the café.”

Current students initially came up with the idea for a P4CM event at Vanguard.  After attending a P4CM event in Los Angeles, they encouraged Dinani to check out the movement and its artists. Impressed with their work and ministry, Dinani helped coordinate bringing artists to do an event at Vanguard last year. The turnout was great and the desire for more apparent.

After last year’s event, many students stayed and talked with Janette…ikz and Ezekiel about how they write and where they draw their inspiration. This impromptu question and answer time lasted for more than an hour. In response, this year there will be a free writer’s workshop in the Vanguard University Smith Hall, classroom 101 from 7 to 8 p.m. The workshop will provide an opportunity for attendees to improve their poetry skills with the help of Janette…ikz and Ezekiel.

You will also not want to miss Thursday morning campus chapel in Newport Mesa at 9:30 a.m., led by P4CM.

The spoken word event is free to college students and qualifies for chapel credit, so students should bring their IDs. It costs $5 for alumni and $10 for off-campus adults.

To learn more about the Passion 4 Christ Movement, click here.