Head-turning support for ‘Hairspray’


Better get in quick. Wakatipu High’s latest annual musical, Hairspray, runs for four nights from next Wednesday, but Saturday’s show’s already booked out and Friday bookings are also close to filling the school theatre’s 350 seats.

Set in Baltimore in the US in 1962, against a background of social change, the musical features lovable plus-size teen Tracy Turnblad, played by Bethany Graf, who turns from social outcast to sudden star when her dream to dance on a popular TV show comes true.

Cast member Isabella Newell, left, and band member Rachel McCarthy. PHOTO: PHILIP CHANDLER
Cast member Isabella Newell, left, and band member Rachel McCarthy. PHOTO: PHILIP CHANDLER
Year 13’s Isabella Newell, who plays Tracy’s best friend, Penny Pingleton, says with curtain call closing in, "it’s stressful but it’s getting there".

"Definitely people have more energy now we’re getting closer.

"It’s a little bit intimidating trying to live up to everybody else, but it’s fun to do a well-known show."

The 17-year-old, who only had an ensemble role in last year’s musical, says "I just feel like it’s so much work, but when you’re on stage at the end, I feel like you get the rush".

"And, also, the people you meet during [rehearsals], I feel like we’ve become such a tight-knit little group."

Along with Alex Scoles and Ava Boyd, Isabella also gets to direct a scene, and just generally help the musical’s director, drama teacher Jake Hansen.

About 100 students are involved with Hairspray including about 50 on stage, up from only about 30 last year.

The band, numbering 15 musos under the direction of music teacher Alison Price, is also bigger this year.

For Year 13 student, keyboardist Rachel McCarthy, it’s her fourth musical, and she’ll also lead the band during Act 1.

"I just love the songs and seeing how all the things are put together," she says.

Tickets are for sale via iticket and the school’s website; doors open 7.15pm for 7.30 start; snacks sold before the show and during intermission help fund school arts groups.

 

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