High-energy ‘Hairspray’ at HVA April 21-23

Hardin Valley Academy theater department invites the community to flashback to the 1960s with its musical production of “Hairspray.”

The high-energy performances will take place 7 p.m., Friday, April 21, and Saturday, April 22, and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 23. Tickets will be sold at the door and are $5 for children and students and $10 for adults.

“Last year, we did ‘Peter Pan’ and I was kind of looking for something that could be as big as ‘Peter Pan,’ and this was the only thing that stood out to me as being big and fun, but it was a different genre than we have done,” said Teresa Scoggins, HVA choir director who is directing “Hairspray.”

“We’ve done classics and a few moderns here and there, but this is considered to be a modern musical,” she added. “The thing about modern musicals is there’s not set changes.

“It all kind of evolves as it goes, so there are no blackouts to worry about, but that’s what also makes them a little more difficult than the classic musicals.”

While the musical was set in the 1960s, it deals with political issues teens face today, such as bullying and integration.

“It’s interesting we chose this [musical] in the political kind of environment we are in right now,” Scoggins said. “I hope [the audience] sees the problems we have today existed in the ’60s, and though we progressed, we still have a long way to go.

“We think we’ve evolved a lot more than we have and the show’s really pertinent to what’s going on today.

“However, I hope it’s just a lot of fun for people to watch — high energy, lots of music, lots of dance,” she said.

The American musical, based on the 1988 John Waters’ film, “Hairspray,” centers on Tracy Turnblad, portrayed by HVA junior Chloe Freeman, a loveable plus-size Baltimore teen in 1962 who has one desire: to dance on the “Corny Collins Show.” When she realizes that dream, she evolves from a social outcast to a star.

“I love [playing Tracy]. I love it so much,” Freeman said. “This is one of my favorite shows. When we found out we were doing it, I was so excited.

“I really want people to know that no matter what their differences are and no matter the problems they think they have [the differences and problems] can be their strengths,” she said.

This is Freeman’s third production with musical theater and seventh show at HVA.

“My family’s really theater-oriented,” Freeman said. “My brother is choir director at Karns High School.”

She is one of about 80, including instrumentalists, who make up the participants in the musical, Scoggins said.

Freeman shares the spotlight with Ben Prager, a senior, who plays Edna Turnblad, Tracy’s mother.

“I knew I had somebody to play Edna Turnblad so I said, ‘If you want to do the show, go out and recruit for me.’ He did,” Scoggins said.

“Edna is generally played by a male,” she said. “It’s part of the essence of Edna. She’s this manly – looking figure who comes into kind of her own throughout the show as her daughter does.”

“It’s always been a dream role of mine,” Prager said. “When the 2007 movie came out and I saw John Travolta play [Edna], it was really kind of awesome to see someone be so happy. His character, at the end of the show, has lots of happiness and confidence.”

Prager also sees lots of character development, which he loves in a character.

Other members of the 60-member cast include Austin Rambo, who plays Corny Collins; Max Fleischaker as Wibur Turnblad; Julia Woods as Prudy Pingleton; Lauren Fletcher as Penny Pingleton; Bekah McNair as Velma VonTussle; Annie Roberts as Amber VonTussle; Tryston Hayes as Link Larkin; Richard Brown as Seaweed J. Stubbs; Lexis Rice as Little Inez and Christal Goins as Motormouth Maybelle.