'Hairspray' to bring fun and message to GHS stage
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Thu., Mar. 3, 2011
The stage is set for the Glastonbury High School Drama Club's version of the popular musical, “Hairspray,” set in the early '60s, but the cast and crew say the entertaining and funny show also has a serious and timeless message.
Freshman Tré Frazier, who plays Seaweed J. Stubbs, said his character – a “cool” black kid in the play's segregated high school, teaches lead character Tracy Turnblat (played by Tori Wohler) how to dance, which helps her become popular and famous, via the local television dance show.
“The whole thing plays out by getting the Corny Collins Show integrated, instead of segregated,” Frazier said.
Stubbs also falls in love with Penny Lou Pingleton (played by senior Britta Rankl), which doesn't sit well with her parents.
“She is very 'not always there,'” Rankl said of her character, “and her mom is very strict. She falls in love with a black boy, and back then, that's not okay.”
Wohler said her character – an optimistic, but chubby teen – really wants everyone to get along, as much as she wants her own acceptance.
“She's really against segregation,” Wohler said. “It's her goal to get everyone together, no matter what their skin color is. I want people to connect with her, and to see the good in everyone, because that's what Tracy sees. It's a really uplifting part to play.”
“We chose the show because, for the last several years, the drama club had been doing dark, intense pieces,” said director Mary Cadorette-Harris. “We love the message of it – being about appreciation and acceptance – not just from a historical, interracial perspective, but from the many things kids in high school face, in whatever way.”
Harris, a veteran of television and stage, received an e-mail from a colleague that the school was looking for a director, which fit perfectly for her background, which also includes choreography.
Harris, a Connecticut native, has danced on broadway, and starred in television's “Three's a Crowd” with the late John Ritter, and has spent time in recent years teaching at the Hartford Conservatory and the Hartford Academy for Performing Arts.
Everyone in the show said it really has "something for everyone."
“I think it appeals to a lot of people,” said senior Matt Roser, who plays Link Larkin, who he describes as “the Justin Beiber of  Baltimore.”
"It's a huge show with a lot of kids and a lot of great music,” Roser said.
“I'm just really at a stage in my life where I just enjoy working with kids,” Harris said.
“There's a lot of bright colors, lots of dancing, and lots of warm moments,” said Frazier.
“I just love the energy, and how happy and exciting it is,” added Rankl.
“The show itself is so wonderful,” Harris said. “You just fall in love with it. It's so much fun.”
“Hairspray” will be performed March 11, 12, 18, and 19. Curtain is at 7 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the door - $5 for students, $7 for seniors, and $12 for adults.