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'Hairspray:' You cant stop the beat
Musical ready to hit the stage at Emma Kelly Theater
W Hairspray group
The cast of "Hairspray" will bring dance, music and "fabulous hair" to the stage at the Emma Kelly Theater July 22-24. - photo by Special

    The Sixties were a time of revolution that brought us JFK’s presidency, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, controversy in Vietnam, and great music. The Broadway hit, "Hairspray," is a fun, musical social commentary on the American 60s. The Averitt Junior STARS production will demonstrate that even today, we can’t “stop the beat.” "Hairspray" will be performed in the Emma Kelly Theater by the Averitt STARS on July 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. and July 24 at 2 p.m.
    “I have always wanted to play Tracy,” said Monica Mead, the Waynesboro, Ga., native who portrays the spunky lead character in the production. “She inspires me because she doesn’t let the fact that she’s different stop her from following her dreams and making a difference in her world.”
    Tracy Turnblad, a plump teenager, dreams of dancing on The Corny Collins Show. She is discouraged from auditioning because of her size, although she is a better dancer than most of the kids on the show. Once Tracy musters the courage to audition, she is thrilled to be chosen to appear. She then becomes an overnight celebrity. After her success, Tracy launches a campaign to breakdown other social stereotypes on the show and in her hometown.
    “I love the fact that Tracy sees more to people than just what they look like on the outside,” Mead continued. “She doesn’t see fat or thin, black or white, she sees people as equals and friends … Plus, she has fabulous hair!” Mead concluded with a laugh.
    The show is presented by Averitt Junior STARS, and the cast of 35 has been hard at work since auditions began in January. This full-length version of "Hairspray" is certainly not shy on talent, both on the stage and behind the curtain.  The cast is under the direction of Averitt-veteran Angie Hamilton, musical director of Janice Smith, and choreographer Lindsey Durden, a dance major who just completed her first year at a university out of Las Vegas.
    Following an early Hairspray tradition, Tracy’s mother, Edna, will be played by Scott Marchbanks.  Georgia Southern University students are also present in the talented cast, with Brooks Adams as the Corny Collins Show host, and Brain Strickland as Seaweed.  Sydney Davis, an up-and-coming local actress of 15, will play Penny, Tracy’s perky best friend.
    “I was so excited when I heard we were doing 'Hairspray.' The controversy will be interesting,” Davis said. “We have such a great cast, and this would be the perfect opportunity for newcomers to the Averitt Center to come and experience what we’re all about!”
    “I couldn’t have asked for a more talented and dedicated cast,” said Hamilton. “They have had a lot of fun, yet have worked hard to bring you the best show they can.  And I know they’ve forged true friendships that will outlast the performances, so the show has already had a positive influence — bringing together talented kids who didn’t know each other and creating a theater
    “This highly talented group has worked very hard to bring this entertaining musical to the Emma Kelly Theater. If you don’t attend one of these performances, you’ll be sorry you missed it,” said Tim Chapman, Averitt Center for the Arts Executive Director.
    "Hairspray" is sponsored by Ogeechee Technical College, East Georgia Foot & Ankle Center and hair is designed by Scott Durden, of the new Pow-Dur Salon.
    Tickets can be purchased by calling (912) 212-2787 or by visiting the Emma Kelly Theater Box Office in downtown Statesboro Tuesday – Friday, 1 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

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