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The musical 'Hairspray' comes to Clearwater

CLEARWATER — Karl Meineck's marriage is a drag.

His onstage marriage in the musical Hairspray is between his character and Edna Turnblad, a female character who has been performed by a man in drag throughout the production's history of films and on Broadway. Meineck plays Edna's husband, Wilbur, in the Clearwater City Players' performances this weekend at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

"This is my first marriage," he said jokingly. "It's a very important musical because of its historical significance."

Hairspray is set in Baltimore in the early 1960s, just as the Civil Rights movement was taking off. Tracy Turnblad, Edna and Wilbur's daughter, dreams of becoming a dancer on the popular TV dance program The Corny Collins Show. Once she lands a spot, she pushes to integrate the show.

The plump Tracy is played by Kristy Carlson, 19, of Tarpon Springs.

"(Tracy) is bubbly and even if she is a misfit, she still gets the guy in the end," Carlson said. "It will be fun and upbeat and have everyone dancing by the end of the show."

Edna Turnblad, played by John Travolta in the 2007 movie, is played in this production by Derek Baxter. "They're big shoes to fill," he said. "But you let the character take over. She's a very loving and caring mother, and you kind of adopt that role."

This will be the first time the Clearwater City Players will perform Hairspray, said the group's president, Patrice Pucci. This year is the organization's 40th anniversary.

The cast of 50 had six weeks of rehearsals for the two-hour show.

"It's a great time. People will come and be energized," Pucci said. "When they leave, they may feel a little bit happier than when they walked in."

Diedra Rodriguez can be reached at (727) 445-4154 or drodriguez@tampabay.com.

IF YOU GO

'Hairspray'

Where: Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater

When: 8 tonight and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $29, or $28 for groups of 10 or more, or $15 for students (available at least 30 minutes before show). Go to rutheckerdhall.com or call (727) 791-7400.

The musical 'Hairspray' comes to Clearwater 07/19/12 [Last modified: Thursday, July 19, 2012 5:51pm]
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