This summer, I got the amazing opportunity to play the lead role, “Tracy Turnblad”, in Random Farms’ summer mainstage Hairspray Jr. I was so excited when I got the news, because honestly, I wasn’t expecting it, as I was originally cast as Edna. Even as Edna I was so happy to play such a featured role. The girl who was originally cast as Tracy got an amazing opportunity to work for Nickelodeon, and because I was the second choice, I was asked right away. But really, this article isn’t about being the lead; it’s about the experience.
The month of July went by so quickly. I was meeting all of these amazing people and having so much fun. Just saying here: the experience wasn’t only magical because I played the lead, it was the meaning behind it. I remember watching the 2007 movie at my dance studio. I was only five, but I was Velma and got to dance to “The Legend of Ms. Baltimore Crabs” up on stage. As I got older, I would play the soundtrack over and over, and one day my best friend and I went to see it at The Westchester Dinner Theater. I was so memorized by the show, and my mom and I looked for years to see if a theater was doing it, but after a while, we gave up. I was and still am inspired by Tracy’s character and how she stood up for everything she believed in.
I remember at one of my voice lessons my instructor, Natalie, told me that the summer mainstage was going to be Hairspray Jr. I began practicing the audition cut of “Good Morning Baltimore” and finally the audition day came. I felt so proud of my audition, both the dance and the vocal parts. I was at rehearsal for a workshop when the callback list came out, and to find that I had gotten callbacks for Tracy, Velma, Edna, and Amber made me ecstatic! I was so happy with all of the progress that I had made in only one year!
When tech week came, it was bittersweet to know that we were almost done with the show. Our cast had grown so close; everyone was so supportive of each other and we even celebrated my birthday on the first dress rehearsal! Our opening night was so energetic and we all did an amazing job. By our second (and last) show, our energy wasn’t as high, for everyone had to say goodbye. We had all worked so hard, and it was sad to see it come to an end. When I came out of the hairspray can to bow, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was crying on the inside, but smiling on the outside. I don’t think anyone stayed sane that night. I cannot thank Alexis, Chip, and Anya enough for the amazing opportunity.
So it wasn’t just the part, or the experience, or the show. It was the cast. I still have what I like to call post-show depression. Sometimes I’m in the car listening to the Broadway radio and “Run and Tell That” will come on, or I’ll be at school and someone will find my Hairspray Jr. postcard in my bag, or I’ll be at home in my room which is filled with Hairspray bags, posters, and photos. But that post-show depression reminds me of the amazing experience I had, all the amazing people who I can call my best friends, and most importantly, it taught me an important message: “You Can’t Stop The Beat!”