Hairspray Production 2018

Hairspray Production 2018 • Culture • Te Aroha College

Roughly fifty years ago, major developments in racial integration and African-American Civil
Rights, which would transform American (USA) society, were being played out across the country. The
changes could be seen in Baltimore, where Hairspray is set, and in Winston-Salem. In February,
1960, ten white students from Wake Forest joined black students from Winston-Salem State
University for a sit-in protest of Woolworth’s segregated lunch counter. (Though the protest
began a week later than a more famous Greensboro sit-in, the Winston-Salem action reached a
successful resolution in May, two months ahead of the victory in Greensboro.) The first black
student ever admitted to Wake Forest University, enrolled in the fall of 1962 and completed his
degree in 1964.
Hairspray offers a cheerfully nostalgic look at the social progress of that era. However, it provides
more than an overt celebration of a past achievement. With a plus-sized heroine and a leading
female character conceived as a role to be performed by a cross-dressed male, Hairspray
underscores other ways our popular culture tends to exclude or marginalize groups of people.
And, it reminds us that “dancing together” is an ongoing project. Overall, this musical is subtlely
subversive, kind hearted, and lots of fun. We hope you’ll enjoy our production.

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