Hairspray set to stun audiences

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By Brianna Gracia

Good Morning, Baltimore// Tracy Turnblad sings her heart out on the streets of Baltimore. Coronado’s production of the hit Broadway musical Hairspray will open on Feb. 9, running until the 12th, then continues Feb. 18-19 the following week. (Photo courtesy of the Coronado Theatre Department)

With a week left until opening night, the casts of Hairspray have been hard at work preparing for the big show. The process isn’t just about rehearsing; tons of work has been pitched in from different departments to bring the show to Coronado standard.

A show like Hairspray requires an advanced set and sharp tech crew to handle the complex scene changes. Motormouth Maybel’s Record shop wheels on and off stage, and is built of several parts. Furthermore, in “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” Edna Turnblad hides in a giant hairspray can. With so many intricate pieces, the tech crew has been working non stop, and their work is heavily appreciated.

“The hardest part is teaching so many songs and vocal parts in so little time,” senior Riley Crum said. “But it makes it easier working with really talented actors and amazing voices. ‘Big, Blonde, and Beautiful’ definitely has some of the hardest vocals in the show.”

There’s no musical without music. Hairspray’s soundtrack is composed of several numbers built on harmonies and complex vocals. Popular songs include “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” “Big Blonde and Beautiful,” and “Good Morning Baltimore.” 

“The way Motormouth Maybel sings is just so gorgeous and beautiful, and I just want to give off that same energy,” freshman Jazzmine Mullanyang said. “In the end, you just have to have confidence and sing your heart out.” 

Hairspray is known for its fast-paced, energetic dance numbers. Each step is crafted by the choreographer, Rommel, the professional choreographer who has worked with the theatre department several times before. He is assisted by dance captains Lily Guo, Leila Wong, and Kayla Wong. Some numbers were choreographed by Rommel; others were done exclusively by the dance captains. 

“My favorite number that I choreographed/taught was It’s Hairspray,” senior Kayla Wong said.  “I choreographed this number by myself, and it was definitely hard to come up with, stage, and teach, but once it all came together it looked amazing! It felt like a huge accomplishment for myself.”

While each dance has its challenges, some proved to be harder than others. Nonetheless, the cast of Hairspray pushed forward, spending hours of hard work learning each step. On weekdays, they go straight to the theatre after school, where they practice for about 3-4 hours a day! On weekends, the cast dedicates almost six hours to preparing for the production. 

“I’m so glad to be one of the dance captains this year for Hairspray,” junior Lily Guo said. “I got to work with the other two amazing dance captains Leila and Kayla. I love our cast; they’re so talented and amazing! We worked really hard for this show. The process might be stressful, but seeing everything coming together makes me feel like it was all worth it!” 

With so many numbers to teach, the captains certainly have their hands full.  

“The hardest to teach was probably ‘Big Dollhouse’ because it’s a tap number with a couple of formation changes,” senior Leila Wong said. “It’s difficult to teach tap to kids with no tap experience, so we had to select a few girls that had some tap experience and then create a simpler version of the tap they do in the Broadway show. But it was still fun!”

Cast members have spent the last few months singing, dancing, and rehearsing their way through trials and tribulations. The cast can agree that every role has its challenges, but theatre is all about discovering and expanding your acting limits. 

“The hardest part about being Seaweed is definitely the singing,” junior Lukas Pool said. “This is the first time I’ve taken any kind of singing seriously, and it’s been a lot trying to live up to the vocals his other actors have put on. “What I’ve learned from this role is how different musical theatre is. This is my first musical and it’s been an insane journey having to act, sing, and dance at the same time.”

Tickets are still available via the Coronado Theatre Instagram. If you want to cheer on the casts, there are four shows from February 9-12, and two more shows on the 18th and 19th. Don’t wait – the shows are nearly sold out.

“The Hairspray message to me means that I can be anyone I want to be and do anything my heart desires to pursue my wildest dreams!”  senior Leila Wong said.  “It’s also a show that takes us back to the 60s, and it really shows the change in how people view society and how everyone is accepted no matter what you look like! Overall, I hope everyone comes to watch and experience our show; it’s going to be so much fun!”