story and photos by Lauren Leatherby, special to The City Wire
ROGERS — Saturday night (Feb.18 ) at the Victory Theater was a evening full of singing, dancing, laughter and a whole lotta hairspray.
Local performers with Rogers Little Theater delivered a smashing performance of Hairspray to a full house. The show included a special appearace by Brad Reed, lead anchor for Fox 24-TV News Edge. Reed’s lines are typically recorded and replayed every night because his 9 p.m. newscast does not allow him to get to Rogers in time, but Reed was able to make it to the theater for Hairspray’s mid-schedule performance.
RLT is the first community theater in the state to dare stage a production of the show, said Randall Lothes, who plays the part of Edna Turnblad in the production. The show is action packed, with much dancing, singing and dialogue, sometimes all at once.
“Hairspray has been on Broadway, and it’s been on professional tour for a long time. It was only recently released to be produced by community theaters,” Lothes said. “We got the amateur rights for it, and we all knew it was a great show. We thought it would be a great kick-off to our shows this summer.”
Choreographer Zack Denison, who is from Rogers but now dances and acts in New York, brought much energy and creativity to the local production. Denison had learned the Hairspray dances from the musical’s original Broadway choreographer, Jerry Mitchell, and adjusted the moves for the Rogers theater’s smaller stage.
“(Denison) visited from New York for a short amount of time because he’s very busy,” Lothes said. “He brought the choreography he knew from the Broadway production, so we are actually performing the same moves that they do on Broadway.”
The actors’ talent and hard work was evident as they hit every note adn step throughout the play’s nearly 20 songs.
“I worked half a year to get this part,” said Kayla Faye Hendrix, who plays the production’s lead role of Tracy Turnblad. “I’ve had an obsession with this musical since I was a little girl, and no one around this area ever did it. Finally, I found out that Rogers Little Theater was putting it on, and I just wanted to be in it so bad.”
The performance culminated in the song “Can’t Stop the Beat,” during which the entire cast came onto the stage for a grand finale of fun choreography and soaring vocals.
Additional Hairspray performances are Feb. 19 and 23-26. Tickets to the dinner theatre are $45 and balcony seating is $16.