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South Boston News
The Prizery’s Summer Theatre cast rehearses for “Hairspray,” which opens next Thursday night. (Photo courtesy Dianna Allen Portrait Design) / June 12, 2014
The Prizery’s annual Summer Theatre season opens next week with the first of two big musicals: “Hairspray,” familiar as the movie starring John Travolta (as the mother), Queen Latifah (as Motormouth Maybelle), Zac Efron and Michelle Pfeiffer, promises to delight, says Prizery Artistic Director Chris Jones.

“I always considered it just a fluffy little show — but I love the music,” says Jones, who confesses that he has been won over by the positive messages of racial harmony and “children leading the way.”

The upbeat, nonstop “Hairspray” is set in Baltimore in the early 1960s as the city, and its teenagers, deal with social change. The show is family-friendly. As with all “Hairspray” productions, the role of the mother is played by a man, “But not in a campy way,” Jones says.

“I know I brag about talent every year,” says Jones, but he says this summer’s cast and crew are exceptional. Jacob Waid has a degree in opera performance and plays both the father in “Hairspray” and the lead of Jean Valjean in “Les Misérables” (opening July 11).

“He’s something to toot our horn about,” Jones said.

Jones says April Hill, an adjunct professor at Elon University, near Burlington, N.C., is new as the musical director. “She is making a difference,” he says.

While the Summer Theatre casts have always hailed from far-flung places and this year is no exception — one young woman is from Canada — many are more local: Six young people in the professional company are from Elon (which sent 40 to audition); others hail from the University of Kentucky, Morehead State, East Carolina, Shenandoah, Radford, Longwood and Averett universities.

“Our biggest contingent of students comes from Virginia,” notes Jones, who hopes their families will be able to catch their shows. Some non-professional performers come from Halifax County and Danville.

Speaking of “show”: The cast plans a flashmob in WalMart this Saturday at noon. They’ll perform a number — and wait for unsuspecting shoppers’ reactions.

Also supporting The Prizery: Lace up your running shoes for MotorMouth Maybelle’s Mini Mini Marathon on the night of June 28. The pre-party starts in the parking lot about 10 p.m., with the 5K run/walk at 11 p.m. “We’ll dance. We’ll shimmy. We’ll shake and we’ll groove. But please be careful … Just don’t dent your ‘do!” warns its sponsor, the South Boston Running Club. The cost is $25.

“Hairspray” opens Thursday, June 19, and closes July 5; some shows are matinees. Tickets: (434) 572-8339 or

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Forget the John Revolta version- the 1988 John Waters original still sets the "Hairspray" standard!


Divine is all I have to say. This newspaper tells the untruth.

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