“Hairspray,” the buoyant musical based on Roger Waters’ 1988 film of the same name, doesn’t take itself seriously for one joyous second, though it contains serious social messages about racial tolerance and inclusion.
The show earned Tony Awards on Broadway and accolades all over the world. It has terrific roles for adults and young people alike. And that’s one of the reasons why it has become a favorite production at high schools all across the country.
A most recent production by the Acting Out Theater Company in Lawrence that was performed at Merrimack College earned one young Lawrence resident some high marks.
Kat Marinelli, a 17-year old senior at Central Catholic High School, played the role of Penny Pingleton, the best friend of lead character Tracy Turnblad. Both Tracy and Penny are social outcasts.
Penny is a juicy role and Kat played it with such finesse she earned a Best Youth Actress award from the Eastern Massachusetts Association of Community Theaters recently.
It’s a pretty good start for a young woman who plans on making the theater her life.
“Over one hundred different community theaters are nominated for different things,” said Kat of the EMACT Awards.
The event is very formal and Kat said she did not expect to win for a role she originally did not expect to get. She described Penny as “kooky.” and a much larger part in the theater version than one may remember from the original film.
The 1988 original was a straight comedy-drama with music. It takes place in the city of Baltimore in 1962 and tells the story of Tracy’s dream to dance on the local TV hit, the Corny Collins Show.
Tracy is an outcast because she’s overweight; very different from , Amber von Tussle, the reigning queen of the Corny Collins Show. The TV hit is sort of a local American Bandstand, and also segregated except for one episode a month.