By Dave Murdoch
Dannevirke High School's first major musical production in the town hall since 2016's very popular Disco Inferno is due to hit the stage on Wednesday, April 14 for a season of five shows.
This musical is the classic Hairspray - The Broadway Musical and was chosen because director Shasta Pene was astonished by the talent which emerged last year in the DHS Talent Quest. She resolved these amazing young performers needed a chance to shine.
She also chose the show because of its message – that we must learn to accept differences – ethnic, physical, intellectual – a message promoted by the star of the show Tracy Turnblad, who promotes the idea that people can put aside differences in the interest of performing in a music and dance TV programme.
Set in the 1960s when racial segregation was seriously being challenged, it has an element of relevance to today with the Black Lives Matter campaign.
Out of last year's talent quest among many excellent singers emerged Year 10 student Jordyn Walsh who astonished the audience with her voice and won the evening.
Thinking about the upcoming show, Ms Pene said, "I asked her to sing one verse of the opening song of Hairspray, Good Morning Baltimore, and I knew I had a Tracy."
Added to Jordyn is newcomer and very talented McKenzie Maru, seasoned stage performers Max Te Huki, Toby Walker and Tessa Higginson, together with highly skilled dancers from Origin Studios (Amy Macdonald is choreographer) and a cast of youngsters ready to be involved and the show took shape.
The time frame for the show is the first term of 2021, auditions being held late last year. The set is under construction, Joy Murdoch has a team helping with wardrobe, Rees Dougherty from Palmerston North is on lighting, Ray Borrie is on sound and a sizeable off-stage chorus comprising mostly high school staff and parents of students is there to bolster the soundtrack of the Broadway show purchased from Hal Leonard.
The underlying theme may be serious but the genius of the writers is the witty often hilarious script which features very lively show-tapping jazzy songs and dances allowing the performers to showcase their talents.
There is drama and protest, enough to have you on the edge of your seat, but overall the show is a celebration of young people fighting to be recognised for who they are in a fun show.
Come along and meet characters like Seaweed, Amber Von Tussle, Prudy Pingleton, Corny Collins, Maybelle Motormouth and IQ.
The show runs from Wednesday, April 14, each night until Saturday with a 2pm matinee and closing night.
Tickets cost adults $20, student/child $15, family $55 (2 adults 2 children) from the DHS office.