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Lorain High School to put on 'Hairspray'

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LORAIN — Selena Vasquez is extremely talented, according to her castmates and director.

Selena will hit the stage next weekend as Tracy Turnblad, the lead character from “Hairspray,” the first show being performed in the new Lorain High School auditorium.

The 16-year-old sophomore — who goes to rehearsals after a full day at Lorain County Community College — said this is her first show in high school and she’s excited to tackle the head part.

“I just really like Tracy’s attitude and persona,” she said. “She’s a lot like my real life, and it’s cool to get to portray that on stage.”

Director Wendy Hall said people stand to learn a lot from Tracy, who is an overweight girl living in 1962 Baltimore with the dream of getting on a local dance show.

“The fact that Tracy works through this whole musical struggling with her body type and by the end of the musical she’s accepted and the hero of the show,” Hall said. “I think if you have a daughter, it’s a must-see show and a must-see character, and Selena does a knockout job of it.”

Junior Ayanna Cash said she also hopes people take away some of the lessons from the show regarding race relations.

“I think a lot of the issues they have in the show with how people view each other are issues we’re still having,” she said. “And I think people should come to see the show to see what the experiences were like then and kind of get the full idea.”

Hall said the race relations portion of the show was interesting to tackle with the students because they couldn’t comprehend why people would have wanted segregation.

“There’s a scene in the show where one of the characters says something about swimming in an interracial pool like it’s an insult or a bad thing,” Hall said. “And the kids really struggled to hit the reactions where they’re disgusted by the idea. It just wasn’t something they could relate to.”

Hall said because of the race relations storyline, the students are sometimes required to be separated for logistics.

“They all get along so well that it’s hard to keep them apart for too long,” she said. “They always want to talk and run ideas past each other and it’s humbling to see a cast and crew be so well connected with each other.”

Hall said the students are workhorses, always wanting to move onto the next song, the next piece of choreography, sometimes frustrated that the process is going too slow.

“They want to work,” she said. “They want to get this show as perfect as it can be.”

Hall said she thinks the new building has contributed to the cast’s newfound unity.

“I’ve taught shows at Admiral King and Southview high schools,” she said. “And I taught shows after the merger between the two, but this is the first time we’ve felt truly like one group and one school, like Titans.”

Lorain High School’s production of “Hairspray” will take place 7 p.m. Friday and March 25 at the school’s Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for senior citizens.

Contact Katie Nix at 329-7129 or knix@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @KatieHNix.

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