Sass, spunk, passion and a whole lot of dedication â€” these words can only begin to scratch the surface of what it takes to be a cast member of the musical Hairspray. Unbeknownst to others, a core group of students has been hard at work in the Sexson Auditorium, singing, dancing and acting away in preparation for its opening on Feb. 22.
Directed by Theater Arts Instructor Richard Kuller, the cast consists entirely of students who are triple threats: people who can sing, dance and act, all at the same time. â€œThis show is bigger and more complicated than any we have ever done,â€ Kuller said.
â€œYou know what a popular show this is,â€ Kuller mused. â€œItâ€™s got more moving parts than most of the shows we have ever done. Itâ€™s got more dances, more moving body parts, more scene changes â€” scene changes happen during numbers instead of after them â€” a lot of difficult timing, [and] weâ€™re going to have a big orchestra.â€
â€œThis show is an undertaking, for sure,â€ said choreographer Christopher Curry, kinesiology.
Walking into the auditorium, one can see how meticulously each cast member practices, whether they are a principal actor or a member of the ensemble. From small groups vigorously running routines, to Kuller scrutinizing and adjusting dance numbers and songs, no person is left lazing around.
According to stage manager Kira Alemania, music, the auditioning process started during winter break. Subsequently, rehearsal began on the first day of the spring semester, lasting four and a half hours a day, six days a week, with occasional breaks in-between.
Lead actor David Park, music, who plays Link Larkin, elaborated. â€œ[We rehearse] everyday, at least five hours a day, with a few days off. Itâ€™s been really long and tough and stressful for sure, but also itâ€™s really rewarding. [The audience] wonâ€™t know how much effort and work went into all of this.â€
Although the cast rehearsed without props, costume, and makeup, they still worked scrupulously. Even then, lightheartedness underlies the atmosphere.
â€œWeâ€™re all family now,â€ said Joseph Garcia, theater, who is playing Corny Collins. â€œI like the camaraderie, thatâ€™s the best part â€” the family part. Even better when youâ€™re on stage and people are applauding and laughing, thatâ€™s the most thrilling thing about theater, and thatâ€™s why I do it.â€
With the calendar winding down till opening day, the cast is feeling the pressure.
â€œA lot of effort and a lot of money went into this,â€ Kuller said. â€œAt this time, in almost every show, people are feeling a bit of panic.â€
â€œBut, as the song [Another Opâ€™ninâ€™, Another Show] says: â€˜Four weeks, you rehearse and rehearse, three weeks and it couldn’t be worse. One week, will it ever be right? Then out o’ the hat, it’s that big first night!â€ Kuller sang enthusiastically.
Curry echoed this sentiment. â€œWeâ€™ll pull through of course, we always doâ€”thatâ€™s show business.â€
Hairspray officially opens on Feb. 22 at 8 p.m.