Musical with a message set to dazzle audiences

Hairspray the Broadway Musical bursts onto stage next week, promising big hair and big fun.

Based on Hairspray, the 1988 cult classic movie, Hairspray the Broadway Musical tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, a plump teenager, in 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, at the height of the civil rights movement. Pinelands Players is breathing new life into the musical which starts at the Artscape Theatre on Saturday February 2.

Laura Bosman, chairperson of the Pinelands Players, says the musical is the culmination of a three-year plan.

Pinelands Players was dying when she took over three years ago, she says, and she decided to do a big production each year to revive it. She started with Shout! and followed up with The Full Monty.

Hairspray, her third act as it were, is the biggest production yet with 70 to 80 cast and crew and a R300 000 budget – a big chunk of that was used to buy the rights to the musical. “It’s going to be big. Big hair. Big girl. Swinging skirts. Lots of colour,” says Laura.

Most of the cast are either pupils or ex pupils of Milnerton High, and Laura says she is very grateful to the school for accommodating set building on its grounds.

Laura is not only the musical’s choreographer – she also plays the part of Prudence “Prudy” Pingleton, the uptight, bigoted mother of Penny, Tracy’s best friend.

As life imitates art, Laura’s daughter, Bryony Bosman, also plays her on-stage daughter, Penny.

Bryony, who just matriculated from Milnerton High, says there are some advantages to working with someone you know really well.

“It’s so easy on stage,” she says. “You can almost anticipate what they’re going to do.” She describes her character as a ditzy girl forever chewing away at a piece of gum.

Kerryn Silke is the understudy for the role of Tracy. A dramatic arts teacher at Abbotts College in Century City, Kerryn says playing Tracy is challenging – singing and dancing while wearing a fat suit is not for the faint-hearted. “It gets hot,” says Kerryn, adding that wearing the suit also brought back memories of the insecurities she faced, struggling with her own weight when she was younger.

“But there’s a bigger message here,” says Kerryn. “Tracy is insulted so many times, yet she stays humble and never gives up. You don’t have to follow what society dictates.”

Asked what she hopes the audience will take away from the show, Laura says: “Just smiles. It’s such a beautiful story and so relevant to South Africa. It was an obvious choice.”

The show will run from Saturday February 2 to Saturday February 16. Tickets range from R185 to R225 and are on sale at Computicket. Visit the Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/P2PinelandsPlayers/