BY CAROL ROEHM
“Hairspray,” the Broadway hit musical and major motion picture, is coming to the local stage at Danville Area Community College.
The college’s liberal arts division and the DACC Players will present “Hairspray” at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, and at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, in the Bremer Theater on DACC’s campus.
This is the first time admission is being charged for a DACC performance because the college has to pay additional costs associated with a musical, such as royalties and hiring a sound technician.
“It’s extremely expensive to do musicals. It’s 10 times the price of a play,” said Glenda Boling, who is directing the production along with Phil Langley and Eric Simonson.
The musical, which is set in 1962 Baltimore, features 1960s-style dance music and rhythm and blues. The main character, plump teenager Tracy Turnblad, dreams to dance on “The Corney Collins Show,” a local TV dance program.
When Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight and launches a campaign to integrate the show. “Hairspray” is a social commentary on the injustices in parts of American society in the 1960s before the Civil Rights Movement.
With its 24 musical numbers and unique choreography for each one, “Hairspray” is a large production that has entailed months of preparation and work. Nicole Miller, a former DACC student, has choreographed the production.
“You will not be bored,” Boling said of anyone who watches the lively musical.
Langley said, “We start working on a play about eight weeks out, but we started working on this six to seven months out.”
Langley added he couldn’t be more pleased with the student cast.
“We looked at the available talent, and we found the perfect blend for the cast of the show,” he said.
One concern shared by Langley and the students involved in the performance is meeting audience expectations.
“Anytime you’re doing a musical that has been a Broadway hit and a major motion picture with wide audience appeal, you want to do the show justice with your interpretation,” Langley said.
Victoria Hunt, a DACC sophomore from Danville, is cast as one of the members of the three-girl singing group, The Dynamites, which is reminiscent of The Supremes.
“I sing and dance and have a couple of lines,” she said. “But in a musical you have to be more focused and concentrate on what you’re doing.”
Although Hunt was in show choir in high school, she signed up to take theater classes at DACC this semester when she learned this fall’s performance was going to be “Hairspray.”
“You start out liking the music but then, being an African-American, you get to experience what it was like in the ’60s,” she said.
She said the musical’s message about equality “is a great message for young people to learn.”
Zayne McCorkle, a DACC freshman from Westville, portrays Wilbur Turnblad, the father of the musical’s main character, Tracy Turnblad.
“I’ve been in musical theater all my life with DLO (Danville Light Opera) and Red Mask and at my high school,” he said.
“I have a rather comedic role,” he said. “I run a joke novelty shop called Har-De-Har Hut.”
McCorkle said he, too, is feeling the pressure of performing in a production that audiences know well.
“Everybody knows the play,” he said. “We’re (DACC) not as big as DLO or Red Mask and that puts on extra pressure.”
McCorkle said some of his cast mates had a little trouble relating to parts of the script.
“Dick Clark, Elizabeth Taylor and a lot of cultural references had to be explained,” he said.
Like Hunt, McCorkle said he and his cast mates took the musical’s message to heart. In fact, he said his favorite part of the production is the song, “I Know Where I’ve Been.”
“I love the emotion that is jam-packed in that song,” he said.
Aubrey Falconio, a DACC sophomore from Westville, landed the lead role as Tracy Turnblad in the second round of auditions.
Falconio said she has seen the movie “Hairspray” and saw the play performed in Bloomington during the summer.
“I really feel the pressure because the play is really different than the movie,” she said of meeting audience expectations.
The musical evolves around Falconio’s character.
“I’m barely ever off the stage, and I have the most lines and the most solos,” she said, dressed in a plaid skirt, bobby socks and puffed up, beehive-like hair.
“I love it, though. I really get into it,” she said.
Falconio said it was difficult to place herself in the pre-Civil Rights Movement era and to relate to that time.
“It was hard to put yourself in that mindset,” she said.
She conceded, “There are still parts that are unofficially segregated in today’s society. You want segregation to end, and you want everything to be integrated.”
“It has such a powerful message and when it comes together at the end, that’s my favorite part,” she said.
About 40 students are involved with the play.
The following students are members of the cast: Breely Arford, Sarah Albers, LeShawn Clark, Drew Corbin. Tyler Cox, Merrisha Davis, Jennifer Dilbeck, Stacy Draper, Aubrey Falconio, Sheanice Francher, Sawyer Harris, Victoria Hunt, Bryan Jenkins, Dustin Jones, Brooke Kuchefski, Manny McCool, Janette Mohammad, Katheryne Mailander, Seth McBride, Zayne McCorkle, Alex Morris, Dylan Negangard, Ryan Perez, Anree Pierce, DeShaunna Pitts, Quan Rivers, Devante Robinson, Kegan Summer, Shelia Terry, Kaylee Turner, Katie Walder and Tre’anna Whitford.
Danville Area Community College’s Liberal Arts Division and the DACC Players will present the musical “Hairspray” at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, in the Bremer Theater on DACC’s campus.
Advance ticket sales will continue until 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, with tickets selling for $5 for adults and $3 for students.
Ticket prices at the door will be $7 for adults and $4 for students. Advance tickets are available in person at the cashier’s office on the first floor of Vermilion Hall or by sending ticket money and indicating the performance time and day to the Cashier’s Office — Vermilion Hall, Danville Area Community College, 2000 E. Main St., Danville, IL 61832.
Advance sale tickets will be held at the door for each performance. Tickets are valid only for the performance specified. If tickets need to be changed, advance notice must be given. Exchanges are subject to seat availability as there are no reserved seats.