Voyager revives musical theatre with ‘Hairspray’

Performances set for Thursday and Friday evening at Mariner High School
By Nicholas Johnson | May 10, 2017

Voyager Middle School hasn’t put on a musical theatre production in 10 years – until now.

A small cast of students led by teacher Annamarie Jordan is set to perform the Broadway musical Hairspray at 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, May 11-12, at Mariner High School. Tickets are $5.

“We are super excited to be bringing musical theater back to our school,” Jordan said.

The play takes place in 1962 and is about the plump teenager Tracy Turnblad’s dream to dance on The Corny Collins Show, a local dance program. Her dream comes true and she becomes a celebrity overnight and meets a colorful array of characters.

Auditions were held in February and almost-daily rehearsals began soon after, Jordan said.

Eighth-grader Ethan Long plays Tracy Turnblad and seventh-grader Gary Doughty III plays Edna Turnblad. Eigth-grader Gabriel Jenkins plays Corny Collins.

Sixth-grader Blythe Gorham plays Penny, and eighth-grader Ed Zambrano plays Seaweed. Eighth-grader Madalyn Vandegrift plays Velma, and eighth-grader Natalie Oritz plays Amber. Eighth-grader Charleen Baimuke plays Motormouth, and sixth-grader Arlicia Martinez-Wallette plays Little Inez.

“We had a small cast this year, but they have been dedicated and are a very talented group of young people,” Jordan said. “I am very proud of the work and creativity they have put into this show, and it will be apparent opening night.”

Voyager students also helped with set design, while Mariner students, along with Mariner drama teacher Kristin Simeone, helped with dress rehearsals. Those high school students will also assist with sound and lights during the two performances, Jordan said.

“There is a lot of work that goes into a musical theater production and we have had a lot of help,” Jordan said, citing help from Principal Wes Bailey, parents, staff and Mariner students.

Jordan said this year’s show will be the first in a revival of the school’s annual productions thanks in part to encouragement from a student she had taught 10 years ago. That student, who played Tracy Turnblad in a Mariner production of Hairspray, has a younger brother at Voyager and decided to pay Jordan a visit upon hearing of the upcoming show.

“The way her eyes lit up when she talked about the experience made me want to bring them back,” Jordan said of the musical productions the school used to put on.

“I had taken a break from them to complete my National Board certification and then do my administration credentials and I just hadn’t gone back to it, but when she talked about it and her eyes twinkled, I just had to do it.”

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.