Hope Summer Repertory Theatre launches its 45 eight-time Tony Award-winning musical based on the 1988 film. On Friday, June 17 p.m. at the DeWitt Theatre, we welcome you to Baltimore, 1962. Kids tune in to variety shows, do their homework with a pencil and paper, and jumpers and rompers are the height of fashion, but segregation still prevails through schools, shops, and even television shows.

Enter Tracy Turnblad, the plump underdog with a big dream and even bigger hair. Tracy is a high school student hoping for a chance to perform on the popular local dance program, The Corny Collins Show. On her journey to stardom, she meets a diverse band of characters. She soon finds that while fighting for her own dream there is a much larger hurdle to overcome. Tracy realizes the adversity her new friends face.

The 1950s and 60s were a time of great change. The Civil Rights Movement had a major following that was making strides toward equality for all. One prominent example is the Supreme Court case of Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954 which declared that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." This was a great step forward for the movement, but there was limited guidance and enforcement of this new law. Hairspray takes place during one the most tumultuous times in our nation’s history, focusing on America’s need for unity and the fact that family runs deeper than the color of our skin.

Tracy personifies the constant hope that we, as a community, can always improve. Our history is an important factor to remember as we move forward in this life, learning and growing from our mistakes. Not only does Tracy “blow the lid off the Turnblad family tree” with her fierce spirit and willpower, but she conquers adversity by bringing together an entire community through what she does best: song and dance.

The production is directed by long-time HSRT member Fred Tessler. In an interview, he shared the message he would like the audience to walk away with; “You can be whatever you want to be so seize the opportunity. Just be who you are. Don’t be afraid to look at things in a new way.” Hairspray is a timeless, energetic musical with vibrant characters, catchy tunes, and a great message. Tracy Turnblad proves that one person can change the world no matter the challenges they face. 

Hope Summer Repertory Theatre (HSRT) is West Michigan’s premier professional theatre company for the last 45 years. The company is a unique blend of distinguished professionals and young theatre artists from all over the United States, creating an intergenerational synergy between our emerging and advanced artists. The theatre is distinguished by the wide variety of plays and musicals performed by one resident acting company. This wide variety of repertoire is unified by the goal to explore and celebrate the joy and complexity of the human condition. The company numbers over 100 annually taking up residence for the summer in Holland; producing 6 shows in rotation every summer on the DeWitt Theatre stage—a 494 seat thrust space and the DeWitt Studio—a 125 seat theatre in the round.

Hairspray stars the talents of a thirty member cast and an extensive production team:Cast: Jeremiah Beasley (Gilbert), Tom Bengston (Spritzer/Principal), Emily Brett (Tammy), Noah Bridgestock (Sketch), Lydia Burke as (Dynamite/Shayna/Cynthia Watkins), Meredith Casey (Brenda), Jamie Colburn (IQ), Nate DeCook (Fender), Chip Duford (Edna Turnblad), Tom Emmott (Wilbur Tunblad), Josh Franklin (Corny Collins), Shannon Huneryager (Prudy/Others), Bridgette Karl (Lou Ann), Eli LaCroix (Brad), Darius Lee (Duane), Hannah Levine (Tracy Turnblad), Mariah Lyttle (Dynamite/Judine), Jake Mate (Velma's Assistant), Samantha McHenry (Penny Pingleton), Alissabeth Morton (Amber Von Tussle), Alexis Nwokoji (Dynamite/Kamilah), Aramie Payton (Seaweed J. Stubbs), Robert Riordan (Link Larkin), Chaz Sanders (Duane), Akia Smith (Lorraine), Lance Spencer (Stooie), Shonda Thurman (Motormouth), Karen Vesper (Velma Von Tussle), Maya Voorhorst (Shelley), Julia Whitcomb​(Little Inez).

Creative Team: Fred Tessler ​(Director), Alex Thompson​(Music Director), Joe Niesen (Choreographer), Tyler M. Perry ​(Scenic Designer), Kristen Ahern​(Costume Designer), Stephen Sakowski​(Lighting Designer), Amanda Werre​(Sound Designer), Brian M. Robillard (Production Stage Manager), Jordan Kruis​(Stage Manager), Megan Meier​(Assistant Stage Manager), Eliza Burwell​(Assistant Stage Manager), Caitlin Billings (Publicist).


Music by Marc Shaiman

Lyrics by Scott Wittman & Shaiman

Performance Dates | 8:00 pm shows: June 17, 18, 23, 29, 30 • July 5, 7, 13, 15, 20, 28 • August 6*, 8, (*denotes 2:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m. shows)