In his first year as Houston County High School’s theater director, Brett Taylor chose the play “Hairspray” for the school’s spring production.
Taylor is no stranger to the award-winning Broadway play.
“I had a great group of talent for this production, which really holds a special place for me. This will be the fourth time I have worked on a production of “Hairspray.” I wanted to do something that I was familiar with for my first year,” said Taylor.
Twice Taylor has acted in a production of the show — with Macon Little Theater and with the Georgia Repertory Theatre — both times in the role of Corny Collins. He also choreographed a production at a middle school while a student at Columbus State University.
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“We just had such great talent for the roles and I am so proud of our students, to take on the challenge of a big show like ‘Hairspray.’ They have risen to the task,” said Taylor.
It wasn’t only the talent he had at Houston County that helped him to choose the show; Taylor said that he also wanted to share the lessons of “Hairspray.”
“It has a beautiful message — that regardless of your shape, size or color, you are something wonderful to this world. I wanted the students to embrace that and then share that message with our community,” said Taylor.
Taylor is a 2012 graduate of Houston County High, where he was an active member of the school’s drama department.
“I know it seems a bit cliche, but this really is my dream job. I always knew I wanted to come back here, to my home. I just didn’t think it would happen this fast, right out of college. This is a great program and I just want to build on that, make it my own. I hope to be here 30 years and hope that my students learn a lot, grow and make lifelong relationships. I want the kids that come out of my program to be able to express themselves and to use the experiences of theater in their everyday lives,” said Taylor.
According to Taylor, “Hairspray” is set in 1962 and the main character, Tracy, does not have the picture-perfect look.
“Her big goal is to get on the TV show and to integrate the TV show where whites and blacks can dance on TV together,” said Taylor. “It is a show about everyone is important and everyone belongs.”
Tracy is being played by 11th grader Jamie Stricklen, who, according to Taylor, has all the qualities of the character.
“Jamie is such a hard worker — I saw that when she was in the ensemble during our One Act performance. She has a lot of Tracy’s qualities, she is fun, she is loveable plus she can move, to sing and to act. I knew that the audience would fall in love with Jamie as Tracy, and that is important because you have to root for Tracy. We want the audience to come have a lot of fun watching the show and be proud of what we have done to share this special story and message,” said Taylor.
The cast has over 50 students participating. Other students with main roles include Tyler Stella, Julian Santos, Alex Frizzell, Emma Darveau, Grace Thomas, Cathryn Whittington, Adonis Gibson andAlex Vining.
“Hairspray” will be performed at the Houston County High Theater for the Performing Arts on March 22-25. Showtimes are at 7 p.m. on March 22, 23, 24 and at 3 p.m. on March 25. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. For more information about purchasing tickets, contact Houston County High School.
Alline Kent can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.