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A Musical Comedy that blasts stereotypes and racial discrimination into thin air

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.