At the time of auditions in late June, I hadn’t been on stage since 2005, when I played Cherie, the character portrayed by Marilyn Monroe in the 1956 movie version of “Bus Stop.” It was a lead role, full of paragraphs of lines to memorize and deliver in character.
I was hoping for some small part in “Hairspray,” perhaps a single line I might walk on stage, deliver, and then disappear into the background. Such was not my luck, thanks to the structure of the ensemble cast and the director, Bryan Essary.
I have one line in Act Two, but I didn’t realize the nature of putting on such a large-scale musical production. There may be smaller roles than others, but there are truly no small roles. If someone isn’t at center stage or changing costumes, then that person is backstage singing as part of the ensemble cast. As for me, I never thought I could sing. Somehow, though, I’m now doing it -- and dancing, to boot.
For those who haven’t seen the movie or Broadway versions of “Hairspray,” the plot focuses on a televised dance show thrust into the midst of the turmoil of integration. In itself, “Hairspray” is a show of integration: not only of race, but of character, music, and dance.
To avert spoilers, I’ll avoid further synopsis. I will say that becoming part of a production of community theatre at CT-A is akin to joining a family.
(Daily Corinthian columnist Stacy Jones teaches English at McNairy Central High School)