Big fun from with ‘Hairspray,’ Shine! Summer Camps
Winner of eight Tony Awards, the Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance musical production of Hairspray has extended its run in the Triad through July 28 at 1047 W. Northwest Blvd. Hairspray is based on the New Line Cinema film, written and directed by John Waters, the book written by Thomas Meehan and Mark O’Donnell, and original music by Marc Shaiman with lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Hairspray is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International, which also supplies all authorized performance materials.
According to the press release, Hairspray is a family-friendly musical “piled bouffant-high with laughter, romance and deliriously tuneful songs” that takes place in Baltimore, circa 1962. Hairspray tells the story of how plus-size teen Tracy Turnblad’s dream comes true when she gets to dance on the popular “Corny Collins Show.” Once this “lovable teen is transformed from social outcast to sudden star,” she must dethrone the reigning Teen Queen, win the affections of her crush Link Larkin, and integrate a T.V. network, “all without denting her ‘do!”
(Speaking of hairdos, local Triad hairstylist Mary Lea Williams designed and styled all of the wigs for the show.)
Jamie H. Lawson, the artistic director of Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance, took over the position in 2001 and has been with the group for the longest duration of its existence. He said that they have a tight group of 200 people. Some are regulars, and some are new to the performing arts scene. Lawson said everyone is basically a volunteer and that he and some designers receive small stipends for their efforts, as well as occasional additional music or scenic directors.
Theatre Alliance performs shows once a month each year, in addition to other special projects along the way, such as the Shine! Theatre Camp. Lawson said it is a labor of love, and being the only director makes it easier to organize it all. Lawson’s double major in theatre and communications at High Point College (now known as High Point University) serves him well in working with different people day and night. His day job is more formal and his nights and weekends at the theatre are anything but formal.
“Hairspray has been such a fun experience with a great message,” Lawson said. “Doing theatre as much as I do, I see shows that either leave you with a message or are entertaining without as much substance, but this show has both.”
Lawson said the community theatre is all about diversity on the stage and in the audience. He said he hopes that the fun the cast has spills over to the audience.
“You’ll have fun if you come see it, I promise you,” Lawson added.
Sponsors for Hairspray include Mike Lewis and Associates, Attorneys at Law; Lida Calvert Hayes and David Hayes and YES! Weekly.
“We’ve been very lucky to have a lot of support from our private donors, as that keeps us going as a nonprofit,” Lawson said. “Without them, we wouldn’t exist.”
SixPix reservations are available for season members who can save on transaction and credit card fees and get six tickets to any show in the 2019-2020 “Feels Like Home!” season. These tickets can be used anyway, and those interested can purchase a SixPix online, over the phone or through Paypal.
Shine! is a theatre camp hosted in partnership with Theatre Alliance and led by volunteers, Jaye Pierce and Jenny Lawrence. Both are organizers of the summer camp and have expressed an interest in giving back to the community. Lawson said that Shine! began ruminating about three years ago after the organization wanted to help a local nonprofit assist blind youth with a theatre experience. Pierce and Lawrence wanted it not to be as rushed, so they decided to extend it to two weeks instead of one. Thus, Shine! was the result.
Shine! is open to those with special needs ages 8-18.
“As adult actors, when we perform, we worry about our hair and costumes being just so and getting all of our lines right,” Lawson said. “These kids just do it, and it’s magical! They are here to have a good time, and it’s special to watch.”
The 2019 Shine! camp will be held July 22 through 26 and July 29 through Aug. 2 at from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Campers must attend both weeks and both performances. Lawson said campers would learn the ins and outs of theatre with opportunities to assist behind the scenes or on stage. The final performance is of Frozen, Jr. This performance will be a fully staged youth production on Aug. 2 with afternoon and evening performances. “Mega-auditions” (auditions for several “month-long” shows at a time) are held three times a year, usually on Saturdays starting at 8 or 9 a.m. and are announced on Twitter, Facebook and Theatre Alliance’s website home page. No experience is necessary, and all are welcome to audition for a show. Lawson said it’s OK if you’ve never “done theatre” before because it’s all “a learning experience.” The next round of mega-auditions will be Aug. 10 for Disaster: The Musical, Tommy, as well as select roles in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.
TERRY RADER is a freelance writer, poet, singer/songwriter, wellness herbalist, flower essences practitioner and owner of Paws n’ Peace o’ Mind cat/dog/housesitting.
Hairspray: 8 p.m. on 7/17, 7/18, 7/19, 7/20, 7/25, 7/26, 7/27, 7/28 and 2 p.m. on 7/21 at Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance, 1047 W. Northwest Blvd. (336)723-7777. Tickets start at $16, SHINE! Summer Camps, July 22-26 and July 29-Aug. 2, Frozen Jr. is on Aug 2, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., see website to register and for more details at www.wstheatrealliance.org.