Welcome to UWCEA’s performance of Hairspray!
Hairspray takes us back to the swinging sixties, a time of beehives, rock ‘n’ roll and the mini skirt. However, it was also a time of racial segregation. At the time when the play is set in the city of Baltimore, racial tension was a major issue in everyday life. The systematic separation of people into racial groups, in schools, restaurants, and even bathrooms is seen in our play when the Corny Collins Show hosts a ‘Negro Day’ once a month where black dancers are featured. The hairspray loving Tracy Turnblad, along with other key characters, fights for this practice to be abolished and to make “everyday negro day” in the hope of stopping racial discrimination and promoting equality. We will see at the end of our play if their goal is achieved.
The word ‘negro’ is used in the play to describe a group of people in the context of segregation in 1960s America. It is not a reflection of the values we hold, instead the opposite, as we strive to ensure all are equal.
Hairspray addresses issues of injustice and prejudice, intending to communicate a message of unity for a greater cause regardless of one’s appearance. We at UWCEA are part of a global movement, presenting this play not just about the amazing musical talents of our students but an opportunity to reflect on global issues that to this day need to be worked on together for change.