Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Reflection on Hairspray: The Musical
“You can try to stop the paradise we’re dreaming of, but you cannot stop the rhythm of two hearts in love to stay….you can’t stop the beat.”
So as of November 27, 2010, I officially wrapped up my last performance of Hairspray: The Musical. For those of you who didn’t know, I was cast as Penny in the Viviana Theater’s production of this intense, hilarious, and heartwarming musical. Ever since I saw the movie (made famous with stars such as John Travolta, Queen Latifah and Zach Efron), I knew that it would be a dream come true to be a part of this musical one day.
What I didn’t know was that I would walk away from this experience with much more than just memories of fun dances to catchy songs. I would walk away with the satisfaction that I was part of something that promoted equality, peace, and love for all while illustrating the stupidity and nonsense that results from ignorance.
I guess you could say I entered this experience similar to the lead character; I was an “outsider” coming into a theater company where mostly everyone in the cast new one another. I had to put myself out there, and at times, prove to others that I wanted this dream as much as the next cast member. Fortunately, walls were broken down and I ultimately became a member of the community that I now consider my family. If this dream was achieved, why can’t others?
From an overweight teen’s desire to dance on an “American Bandstand” type television show to an African American mother’s desire to find equality in the world, Hairspray emphasizes the fact that no dream is to big. No dream is impossible. And at the end of the day, we are all human beings, with an equal chance to achieve our dreams.
A defining moment in the show for me was when we performed “I Know Where I’ve Been.” This poignant, emotional ballad epitomized the theme of the play: the struggles and the risks that are taken make the achievement even more rewarding. While the musical is set in the 1960s, the song is still relevant today. There is still so much prejudice and hate in this world. Ignorant people attempt to choose the destinies and lives of others, often leading to fatal ends. I’m so disgusted and horrified by the recent deaths in the young homosexual community, and I could go on for days about the topic, but instead, I’m going to leave a message of hope that I learned from Hairspray.
While it may look like an endless battle now, there is a light at the end of the darkness. Each struggle builds strength for the next, and one day, you will have enough to conquer those that stand in your path.
As Hairspray notes, “There's a road / We've been travelin' / Lost so many on the way / But the riches will be plenty / Worth the price, the price we had to pay.”