by Loren Haas

Hardin Valley Academy’s theatre department has cast its musical for the 2017 spring semester, “Hairspray.” Junior Chloe Freeman will play the lead, Tracy Turnblad, in the famous musical about segregation in the entertainment industry.

“I wasn’t at school when I found out what the cast list looked like,” said Freeman. “So I was at my house with my mom, and my friend called me to tell me. I was so excited. I almost started crying because I had been so worried about it and was so happy. This has been one of my favorite shows since I was little, and being able to play Tracy is amazing.”

She is not the only cast member thrilled with her part. Senior Austin Rambo plays Corny Collins, the host of “The Corny Collins Show” that is the center of all the events in the production, and senior Ben Prager plays Edna Turnblad, Tracy’s mother. Seniors Bekah McNair and Annie Roberts portray the play’s antagonists, Velma and Amber VonTussle, respectively.

“The most difficult part for me is playing the villain in such a culturally sensitive show,” said McNair. “As Velma, I have to go against everything I am, because she’s a racist and a bigot, so I have to be incredibly mean to my cast mates and say a lot of things I don’t believe in. However, I think detaching myself from my role and understanding how Velma was raised to believe what she does will help me to play the role with my dignity intact.”

“Hairspray” begins as Tracy tries to achieve stardom by becoming a dancer on “The Corny Collins Show.” After being cast, she discovers increasing amounts of racial segregation within the show, and she and her fellow castmates try to desegregate the show.

As of right now, though, the cast is just beginning rehearsals for the show. So far, they have choreographed two of the dances and are learning some of the early songs.

“I love the music in this show, but Tracy belts so much, so I’ve had to work a lot on that” Freeman said. “I’ve been working it in voice lessons, and they’ve helped me a lot. I still have to practice and work on the belts, but I’m getting better every day.”

HVA theatre will perform “Hairspray” from April 21-23.