Temecula Valley Players bringing ‘Hairspray’ to Temecula

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Temecula Valley Players’ production of “Hairspray” opens this weekend at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater. Temecula Valley Players photo

Temecula Valley Players is bringing the 2003 “Best Musical” and Tony Award-winning “Hairspray” to the Old Town Temecula Community Theater for performances that opened June 6 and end June 23.

All Tracy Turnblad wants to do is dance on the “Corny Collins Show,” the popular local music and dance television program in 1962 Baltimore.

When the teenager’s wish comes true she suddenly transforms from social outcast to breakout star and she has to find a way to use her stardom to dethrone the reigning “Teen Queen.”

Winning the affections of heartthrob Link Larkin and integrating the television show network is just a part of her plan.

The play is based on the 1988 John Waters film, “Hairspray.”

Director Jennifer Stuart usually works in youth theater, and she said that’s why Temecula Valley Players called on her to take on the challenge of directing a cast ranging in age from teenagers to adults.

“I felt like it would be a different challenge creatively,” Stuart said.

Iris Zietlow stars as Tracy Turnblad; Dylan Wager is Link Larkin; Jason Green is Edna Turnblad; Franke Leon plays Wilbur Turnblad; Anthony Moss plays Seaweed Stubbs; Jillian Barnett is the goofy Penny Pingleton; Ari Palacio plays TV show host, Corny Collins; Carissa Fagan is Velma Von Tussle; Emily Nightingale is the Teen Queen, Amber Von Tussle and Kim Allen stars as Motormouth Maybelle.

“I absolutely love working with this cast,” Stuart said. “I am in awe of the talent that they bring. Not only are they triple-threat performers, but they also have the work ethic and the passion for what they do.”

Stuart said she loves “Hairspray” because of the upbeat music and clever dialogue.

“My favorite part of this musical is the character of Tracy and how inspiring she truly is,” Stuart said. “When she auditions for an open spot on a television show, she is turned away due to her size. However, she doesn’t let that deter her and with help from her friends, she learns some dance moves and is able to snag a spot on the show.”

Stuart is inspired by Tracy’s determination to integrate the racially segregated show.

The cast of Temecula Valley Players’ “Hairspray” performs a scene during a recent rehearsal. Temecula Valley Players photo

“I love that ‘Hairspray’ tells such a moving and important story,” Stuart said. “There is one lyric that really resonates with me and gets to the heart of this piece. Motormouth Maybelle sings to Tracy on their march for equality, ‘There’s a dream in the future. There’s a struggle we have yet to win. Use that pride in our hearts to lift us up tomorrow ‘cause just to sit still would be a sin.’”

She said the cast has embraced the message as well.

“(The cast) knows the importance of this show’s message and are proud to share it with audiences,” Stuart said. “I am so beyond blessed to have the opportunity to teach them as well as learn from them.”

Stuart said the actors in this production haven’t had much time to prepare but is confident in the cast.

“These talented actors worked on this show for only five weeks,” she said. “They rehearsed three to four days a week late at night with smiles on their faces and unwavering energy and commitment to their roles.”

She said she can’t wait for the curtains to open and promises a fun experience for ticket holders.

“People should come to see this show because it makes you want to sing and dance,” Stuart said. “This is such a talented cast that you won’t want to miss it, and you will root for Tracy on her mission for equality and inclusion.”

“Hairspray” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. June 6, 7, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22 and at 2 p.m. June 9, 16 and 23.

All performances will be held at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater, 42051 Main Street, in Temecula.

Tickets prices range from $12 to $27 and can be purchased at the theater’s box office or www.tickets.temeculatheater.org.

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com.