U-46 Summer Theatre to present 'Hairspray' July 18-20 at Larkin High School

  • School District U-46 Summer Theatre will perform "Hairspray" July 18-20 at Larkin High School in Elgin.

    School District U-46 Summer Theatre will perform "Hairspray" July 18-20 at Larkin High School in Elgin. Courtesy of District U-46

 
Submitted by Elgin Area School District U-46

High school students from across Elgin Area School District U-46 are participating in the Summer Theatre production of "Hairspray."

The musical opens at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 18, in the auditorium at Larkin High School. Performances will continue through the weekend.

This production features more than 110 students in the cast, crew and pit from all five U-46 high schools: Bartlett, Elgin, Larkin, South Elgin and Streamwood.

Larkin graduate Bella Cwik returns to the stage in the lead role of Tracy Turnblad. Cwik competed in the IHSA State Theatre finals in poetry reading and dramatic duet acting. She will be attending New York University's theater program this fall.

The main cast is rounded out by Bartlett graduate Luis Martinez performing as Link Larsen, Elgin rising junior Arianna Mendez portraying Penny Pingleton, Larkin graduate Jeremiah Hubbard as Seaweed J. Stubbs, South Elgin graduate Marcus Pallan as Edna Turnblad, Streamwood rising junior Joshua Lindahl as Wilbur Turnblad, and South Elgin rising junior Nicholas Domschke as Corny Collins.

Many of the actors in lead roles and the ensemble cast were part of Bartlett High School's and Streamwood High School's Group Interpretation theatrical productions that were presented at the IHSA Group Interpretation State Competition in March.

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Director Jennifer Prise and musical director Meagan Zahora chose the musical for its themes and message of racial equality that are still relevant and applicable to today's society, as well as the call for a racially diverse cast, which is also representative of U-46's student population.

Students were thrilled when they learned that "Hairspray" was to be the summer production.

The Summer Theatre program has grown exponentially these past four years, Prise said.

Karen Brhel of South Elgin High School, Hector Hernandez of Streamwood High School, and Michael Miserendino of Bartlett High School started the program in the summer of 2016 with the production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" performed at the Steel Beam Theatre in St. Charles.

Approximately 30 students were involved with the production in its inaugural year.

In the summer of 2017, the team produced "Almost, Maine" and performed it at Bartlett High School. In the summer of 2018, the team produced "Les Miserables," and performed it at Larkin High School.

Now with "Hairspray," the program has expanded to involving more than 110 students in the cast, crew, and pit.

"Students are thrilled to be participating in the summer musical, and we saw a record number of students audition for the production," said Prise. "We're hoping that the momentum will continue for years to come."

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