'Hairspray' to take stage this summer

The annual summer musical choice has been announced by the WWCC Foundation.

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WALLA WALLA -- It's going to be a big hair summer, musically speaking.

The plus-size musical "Hairspray" will be this year's summer production by the Walla Walla Community College Foundation. The production will take the stage at Fort Walla Walla Museum's amphitheater July 7-9, 14-17 and 21-23.

Director Jessica Barkl said today the pre-audition meeting will be 7 p.m. on Feb. 22. at the college's conference center and that she is encouraging people from as many different ethnic groups as possible to audition.

"I am really, really trying to advocate for a multicultural cast," she said. The show will need 45 people, 10 of them children and the remaining 35 ranging from teenagers to adult.

The play was chosen last May by the foundation's board of directors and the selection was finalized in December.

"Part of the reason it was chosen was because we do polls ever year about what the community would like to see and Hairspray has always been one of the ones right at the top," Barkl said. "But the rights weren't available (until) May of last year."

The original "Hairspray" was a 1988 film by John Waters starring Ricki Lake as Tracy Turnblad and drag performer Divine as Edna Turnblad, Tracy's shy and plus-sized mother. It also starred Sonny Bono and Debby Harry as Franklin Von Tussle and his wife, Velma.

The film was adapted into a Broadway stage musical from a book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan with music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman. It debuted Aug. 15, 2002, and ran for more than 2,500 performances before closing on Jan. 4, 2009. During its run, the production won eight Tony Awards including best musical, best book and best score.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318. Check out his blog at blogs.ublabs.org/randomthoughts.

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