PARKERSBURG - The Parkersburg Actors Guild will present the musical comedy "Hairspray" in April and May at the Guild Playhouse at Eighth and Market streets in downtown Parkersburg.
The show will be 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday, April 27 and 28 and May 4 and at 2:30 p.m. on April 29 and May 5.
Musical tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students. Tickets are available online at www.actorsguildonline.org.
Guild officials said the opening night of "Hairspray" Friday had already sold out coming into the opening weekend and the Saturday show looked like it also might sell out prior to the performance. The show will continue for two more weekends, although the May 5 show has been moved forward from its normal 8 p.m. showtime to 2:30 p.m. on that day to avoid clashing with any proms in the area.
Directed by Guild veteran Veronica Fields, "Hairspray" takes the audience to 1960s Baltimore, where the '50's are out and change is in the air. Loveable plus-size heroine Tracy Turnblad has a passion for dancing and wins a spot on the local TV dance program, "The Corny Collins Show."
Overnight she finds herself transformed from outsider to teen celebrity. Can a larger-than-life adolescent manage to vanquish the program's reigning princess, integrate the television show and find true love without mussing her hair?
For some cast members, performing in "Hairspray" is a longtime goal and a dream come true.
R.J. Lowe plays Edna Turnblad, Tracy's mother. In the original 1988 "Hairspray" movie, Tracy's mother was played by male actor Divine and that tradition has continued through the Broadway stage shows and the 2007 movie remake, which featured John Travolta in the mother's role.
"The role is always played by a man, in keeping with the spirit of the original," Lowe said.
"This has been a dream role of mine since the show opened in 2002. For a decade, I've been champing at the bit to play this role. It's a fun role and I knew I'd have a lot of fun doing it," he said.
Callie Tanner plays Tracy, something she has wanted to do since she saw the stage show at age 11. Tanner has been active in drama at Parkersburg South High School and at other local venues like the Smoot Theatre and the Guild Builders youth theater program, but this is her largest role to date.
"I've always been the character role, I've never been the lead" prior to "Hairspray," Tanner said. "It's been difficult but I'm so excited... The dancing is my favorite part of the show," she said, adding the cast put many hours of practice into mastering the dances which are a key component of the production.
The object of Tracy's interest and the lead teen dancer is Link Larkin, played by Jeremiah Watkins.
Watkins has appeared on the Guild stage during main productions and the Guild Builders, along with high school drama programs. He said he is nervous about the prominence of his current role but is looking forward to the production. Watkins said he also has looked forward to appearing in the play, having wanted to play Link since he saw the 2007 movie for the first time.