South collaborates with Creighton for production of Hairspray

Destiny Kraljev, Staff Writer

At the end of March, South will produce the musical Hairspray in collaboration with Creighton University, featuring 16 current South students. 

Hairspray tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, a teenage girl who fights against racial segregation and hopes to win the Miss Teenage Hairspray Competition while raising awareness for other girls who do not fit the conventional norms of beauty, like herself. 

South students auditioned for roles in the musical the first week of November. 

“For the audition, students prepared 16 measures of a song and been prepared to do a dance audition,” Kevin Barrett, Drama teacher and play director, said. 

Rehearsals will begin in late January, in the evenings after school in the theater and will continue through Spring break. 

Creighton was given a grant to promote the arts and chose Omaha South the school they wanted to work with. 

“I met the director of theater a few years back, which was when the idea was brought up, and this partnership has been in the works ever since,” Barratt said. 

Creighton is providing a percentage of the funding to put on the play, which helps with items including costumes and props.  

“This collaboration is an opportunity for students to work with professionals in this certain line of work,” Barratt said. 

A collaboration like this has never been done at South before so it is a good chance for students to get more information and to start preparing for jobs like play directing, acting, or even play writing.  

Hairspray has never been mounted at South so this will also be a growth opportunity for the teachers and staff helping with producing this play. 

South students earned 16 out of 40 roles in the upcoming production, including many of the lead roles. Almost all these students are members of the Ambassadors varsity show choir. 

Emma McKeone has been cast as Tracy Turnblad, the lead character. McKeone is a senior and is remembered for her turn as Ariel in The Little Mermaid last year. 

Anthony Mondragon will be portraying Link, the teen heartthrob and Tracy’s love interest. Mondragon is also a senior, he was most recently on stage as Chip in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, but some may remember him as Scuttle from The Little Mermaid last year. 

Nyla Dawson, who last took the stage in The Little Mermaid as one of Ursula’s sidekick eels, will be Motormouth Maybelle. Maybelle is the mother of Seaweed and Little Inez and owns a record shop in Hairspray. 

Isabel Gott will be playing Penny Pingleton, Tracy’s best friend, who ends up falling for Seaweed J. Stubbs, being portrayed by Allen Griffin. Both actors were in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Gott played Olive Ostrovsky and Griffin played Leaf Coneybear. 

Rounding out the South students cast in the show, as ensemble, Nicest Kids, and other roles are Jenna Janssen, Massimo Saitta, Christina Fischer, Mayra Zamarripa, Yolanda Henderson, Zach Hunter, Brenton Thomas, Robert Ibarra, Ximena Herrera-Baro, Mariana Hernandez, and Isaiah Zendejas.