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Hairspray tackles issues of race
Musical doesn't dance around issues of race, discrimination
Hairspray is set to hold audiences in place with three showings this weekend at the Park Theater. Pictured are cast members, front row, from left, Cassidy Prater and Ashley David. Back row, Antwaun Vaughn, Christian Weeter, Logan Taylor, Rachel Masters and Haili Evans.

The fairytales of “Snow White” and “The Little Mermaid” have been put on hold.
Dream Reality Group is tackling real-life issues of discrimination and racism in its fifth Park Theater production. “Hairspray” is set to debut this weekend with shows on Friday and Saturday.
The musical, set in the 1960s, follows the story of Tracy Turnblad, a pleasantly plump teen who dreams of gaining stardom on “The Corny Collins Show.” Tracy auditions and displays some dazzling dance moves, but is rejected because of her size.
A number of subplots exist, including Tracy’s desire to integrate “The Corny Collins Show,” which only allows blacks to appear during its monthly “Negro Day.” The musical also features an interracial relationship.
Director Logan Taylor admits this play goes beyond the far-reaching tale of a sleeping princess and tackles prejudices which permeate society today.
“The message of ‘Hairspray’ is so much different than anything else we’ve ever done,” said Taylor. “It deals with segregation, racism and issues of body image. Even though it is set in the 1960s, all of these issues are still relevant today.”
Taylor says it’s a show which can be enjoyed by everyone, even with its more mature content.
“It’s a family friendly production. It’s very upbeat, very energetic,” said Taylor. “We use some special effects we’ve never used before and overall it’s a very positive show.”
“Hairspray” includes a memorable cast of characters, topped by lead Tracy Turnblad who is played by Cassidy Prater. She is guided by a kind, but overprotective, mother who hasn’t left the house in years. Edna Turnblad is played by Ashley David.
The villainess is Velma Von Tussle, the producer of “The Corny Collins Show.” She works to keep the talented Tracy off the show in favor of her clumsy daughter. Velma is played by Rachel Masters.
Link Larkin is the teen heartthrob who unexpectedly falls in love with Tracy. He is played by Logan Taylor.
Seaweed Stubbs is one of the eye-catching dancers who shines during the monthly “Negro Day” on the show. He brings the interracial element into play with his relationship with a white girl. Seaweed is played by Antwaun Vaughn.
Seaweed is the son of Motormouth Maybelle, a record shop owner and host of “Negro Day.” Played by Haili Evans, Motormouth is sassy and strong-willed.
Rounding out the main characters is Corny Collins himself. He’s a glib and polished host who cares about social pro-gress, but is probably more concerned about his hair. Corny is played by Christian Weeter.
“This show is about growing and acceptance,” said Taylor. “It’s a story which really needs to be told.”
Auditions were held Sept. 24 and actors have been working steadily since that time to produce a refined show.
Tickets are available at the Park Theater box office, 506-2787, or online through Ticket Biscuit.
What: 'Hairspray'
When: Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.