Hairspray for Humanities

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Experiencing Hairspray
“Negro day is the best! I wish that every day was Negro day!” Those were the very scandalous words the Caucasian teenager, Tracey Turnblad, uttered while auditioning for the Corny Collins show. Who knew that such a young girl could cause such a controversial riot? Hairspray was the triumphant musical that changed the way people all across the world looked at segregation. I was privileged enough to see the powerful musical for myself. Not only did the musical have comedic singing and dancing, but a heartfelt message that showed to culture of the African-American society and how they were persistent, even in trying times. The skilled acting, the meaningful music, and the powerful message all made this small town production of Hairspray look like Broadway quality.

I saw the Rome Little Theatre do their production of “Hairspray” in February at the DeSoto Theatre in Rome, Ga. The cast and crew did a truly phenomenal job of capturing the essence of the 60’s. The costumes were able to capture the different economical standpoints each race had, along with the dialect being able to show the difference in how whites were able to have a greater education than the blacks. The entire time the actors were on stage they were as dynamic as they could be to convey to the audience the true depression and hurt that segregation in the 60’s caused.

Part of the reason the show was able to deliver the meaning it has, was its music. Songs such as “Welcome to the 60’s,” “Run and Tell That,” and “Without Love” are all powerfully lyricized songs that carefully illustrated the differences in Caucasian and African-American culture. The show ended with a striking musical number entitled, “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” The song and dance number was sung as the plot twisted and the “Corny Collins TV Show” was integrated for the very first time. The song merely stated that the world is changing, great things are going to happen, and even if you don’t like the way...
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