Friday, June 2, 2023

Hairspray a Hit, Examined Turbulent ’60s

The Ole Miss Theatre’s Nov. 1-3 production of Hairspray was one not to be missed.

With bright colored costumes and high-energy singing, the musical examines the serious issue of segregation in Baltimore, Maryland during the 1960s

The audience settles into their seats for Sunday’s afternoon performance.

Director Rene E. Pulliam introduces the show with a quote by film actor Viola Spolin.

“The audience is the most revered member of the theater,” Pulliam said.  “They make the performance meaningful.”

She admits that she was weary of seeing HAIRSPRAY the Musical when she first had the chance, fearing that the “glitz of Broadway” would distort the “poignancy of the (original 1988) film”, but was surprised by the way it still captured the political and social conflicts.

“The place the grand old musical comedy at the service of something other than a love story, to sing and dance our way through our checkered past – well that’s just a little bit revolutionary,” said Pulliam.

Junior Nina Farris plays Tracy Turnblad, a high school student who hopes to become a dancer on “The Corny Collins Show”, won the heart of star dancer Link and integrate the show to include African–American dancers.”

The set for Hairspray was impressive.

In an interview with The Odyssey Online, Farris talks about her love for the entire process of making the show.

“Doing a show is a collaboration of the director’s image and what the actors respond with throughout the progression of the play,” Farris said.

Other cast members include seniors Bryce Slocumb, Cameron Yates and Kayleigh Richardson.

According to UM Box Office supervisor Jennifer Pardoe, the show ‘s final production on Sunday, Nov. 3 sold out.

Emily Xie is a journalism student at Meek School of Journalism and New Media