Hair to give Travolta a spray

By Spencer Fowler Steen

Students from Echuca, Shepparton, Kyabram and Melbourne are giving up a week of their holidays to perform the musical Hairspray in Shepparton on Saturday.

The 35 students, aged 14 to 19, will be working eight hours a day leading up to the play, learning lines and choreography.

Initial Stages theatre company director Helen Janke said many unlikely friendships had been formed in past performances, and she expected this year’s cohort would do the same.

“They become a real family because they work so intensely and closely for the week,” she said.

“By the end of the week, there’s tears everywhere because they have to go back to their own towns.”

Class action: The Hairspray cast comprises 35 students from Echuca, Shepparton, Kyabram and Melbourne schools.

Hairspray is an award-winning 2007 American musical about teenager Tracy Turnblad’s dream to dance on a local TV dance show.

When Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes famous and uses her new status to campaign for racial integration on the show.

Choreographer and a performer in the play, Robert Baxter, said it was tough teaching a whole show in a week, but he was having a lot of fun.

“The play is very fun and exciting and the dancing is very high energy,” he said.

“You’ll enjoy it no matter what age you are, it’s going to make you happy.”

Stage manager Casey Fogerty said one of the lead roles — Tracy's mum, who is traditionally played by a man — would be played by Goulburn Valley Grammar School’s Tom Cucinotta.

“Our little Tom is more talented than John Travolta,” she said.

Grace Newman from Notre Dame College will take on the role of Tracy, and said she was “keen as a bean” to perform on Saturday.

“You can expect a lot of fun as well as great choreography from Robert Baxter,” she said.

“It’s a very talented cast and it’ll be a really good show.”

Tickets are $17.50 and are available at the Riverlinks box office or online at

The show will run for an hour and is showing at 2 pm and 7 pm on Saturday at WestSide Performing Arts Centre, Mooroopna.