The early 1960s brought the heights of change in American culture. The advent of the civil rights movement spawned a melting pot of social and economic standards. Politics, pop-culture, fashion, drugs and rock-n-roll birthed new ideals for the social identity of America’s youth. And more often than not you could follow each strand of hair to such heights.
Perhaps the best way to bid farewell to the Omaha Community Playhouse’s outstanding 2011-2012 season is an upbeat celebration of what makes this country and our identity so unique. Hairspray opens in the Howard and Rhonda Hawks Mainstage Theatre on May 25 and runs until June 24.
Based on the 1988 John Waters film, Hairspray is a musical that redefines beauty, as a big girl with bigger aspirations becomes the newest local TV star.
“The dialogue is very funny and it’s really a tribute to the writers and the way they adapted the original movie,” said Director Susan Baer Collins. “Getting everyone to rehearsal,” she said is her biggest challenge. “30 people. A cast of 13 leads and the ensemble, and the ensemble is busy all the time.” Between staging a show of this magnitude and choreographing all the musical numbers, rehearsals can get a little tangled, much like hair.
Since early April, Kaylan Paisley, the show’s wig designer, has been bobbing and weaving wigs for nearly every cast member in the show. Some get more than one. “Hairspray is one of my favorite shows on the planet,” said Kaylan. “Hairspray has always been an inspiration to me. I got to see it on Broadway when I was in high school. The wigs in this show are characters all themselves. The main design behind it all is the bigger the better. Larger than life.”
When working with such large wigs, movement becomes an obstacle. Georgiann Regan, the show’s costume designer, ensures the wigs and the wardrobes are manageable for all the musical numbers and dance routines. “We use big zippers,” she said with a chuckle. “Just step in and out.”
Between the music, staging, choreography, wardrobe and the colorful mix of characters, it’s important that the entire mix blend well together so the inspirational message that Hairspray sends can be received: Love, peace and hair-grease.
Hairspray runs May 25-June 24 in the Howard and Rhonda Hawks Mainstage Theatre. Tickets are $40 for adults and $24 for tickets. For groups of 15 or more, tickets are $29 for adults and $18 for students. For tickets or for more information, visit the OCP Box Office, call (402) 553-0800 or click here.
Article by Chad Cunningham