Warren County Middle School students prep for ‘Hairspray’
Around 50 Warren County Middle School students will be contributing to the school’s rendition of “Hairspray,” which will show three times this weekend at its auditorium.
Band teacher Pamela Dyke said this is the school’s third musical production. She directed the previous two shows and said the program has grown in popularity.
“It just seems like it’s kind of caught excitement over the years, not only with the kids but with the parents and some of the community as well,” she said.
She said “Hairspray” also has a larger pool of faculty lending a helping hand, along with a number of parents offering their volunteer efforts. This year, Dyke is in the program as producer and musical director.
Director La Tasha Do’zia-Earley said the show is a junior version of the award-winning musical, condensed to a little over an hour rather than the original’s full 2 1/2 hours. While a film version came out in 2007, Dyke said only some of the children were familiar with the premise – a tale of integration on a swinging ’60s TV show set.
“We really had to explain a lot of the story to them – it was really pretty educational,” she said.
“It’s all about being able to find where you fit and where you belong and being able to work together to make an awesome show,” Do’zia-Earley said.
Do’zia-Earley’s certainly no stranger to the stage – she’s played the role of “Hairspray” character Motormouth and is founding artistic director of Selah Theater Project in Front Royal. During her first year directing for the school’s performance, she said students had to get used to the tight ship she runs.
“I was bringing in something completely different and new as far as how I direct and move,” she said. “There were no excuses for absences and delays.”
It’s been a big commitment from all involved – rehearsals started in December and picked up after winter break, increasing to every day after school just before the big weekend. Do’zia-Earley said she could see the students’ growth in learning responsibility and accountability through their rehearsals.
“The next step of it is just an outlet,” she said. “Being able to sing, dance and act every day after school is a huge outlet for a lot of them that don’t normally have the opportunity to artistically express themselves.”
Dyke said that the show has given all different kinds of students the chance to hone their performance and public speaking skills – from athletes to musicians and everyone in between.
“It’s a great experience for them to … work with all of us professionals on all those aspects of performance,” she said. “There are a lot of kids who need something else to be involved with, and when you’re in theater, everyone’s accepted. We have a really wide mix of kids and they really all get along very well.”
IF YOU GO
• “Hairspray” will be performed at Warren County Middle School at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday.
• Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students.
Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org