`Hairspray' auditions are coming -- run and tell that

Tryouts for parts in movie version of play set April 1 at Hippodrome

March 23, 2006|By CHRIS KALTENBACH | CHRIS KALTENBACH,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

Long to show off your beehive hairdo to millions? Think your mastery of '60s-era dance steps is second to none? Brothers and sisters, your chance to shine is coming to town.

Auditions for parts in the big-screen version of Hairspray, the musical, have been set for noon April 1 at The Hippodrome, 12 N. Eutaw St. And this isn't just another search for background extras and other small to barely there parts. Auditions are planned for three major characters, including the central character herself.

That would be Tracy Turnblad, the plump, white, spirited Baltimore belle whose dance moves and indefatigable, color-blind personality help bring about the desegregation of the Corny Collins dance show in this musical version of John Waters' 1988 film. Tracy was played in the movie by Ricki Lake and by Tony winner Marissa Jaret Winokur on Broadway.

Producers of the new film version, slated for a summer 2007 release, are determined to cast an unknown in the role. If you meet that requirement, fall between the ages of 16 and 21 and are what a studio news release refers to as a "triple threat talent -- singer/dancer/actress with a powerful Broadway-caliber singing voice" -- then this could prove to be your big break.

Those who try out for the role of Tracy will need to sing a cappella eight bars of the song "Good Morning Baltimore" from the Broadway production of Hairspray, or a similarly upbeat Broadway show tune.

Other roles needing to be cast include the brother-and-sister dancers Seaweed and Little Inez. For Seaweed, producers are looking for an "African-American male, age 16-21 to play 18. Charming, handsome, excellent singer and dancer. Dynamic." For Little Inez, they want an "African-American female, age 10-13. ... Smart, strong, and the kind of girl who stands up for herself. She is one of the best dancers and singers around and she knows it."

Those seeking the roles of Seaweed or Little Inez will need to sing a cappella eight bars of "Run and Tell That" (also from the musical Hairspray) or a similarly upbeat '60s Motown song.

For more information, or for instructions on what to do if you can't make the April 1 auditions, visit hairspraymovie.com. Other auditions are slated for Las Vegas (April 8) and Toronto (date to be announced). The film, which will star John Travolta as Tracy's mother, Edna Turnblad, and Queen Latifah as record-store owner Motormouth Maybelle, is being produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (who worked with Latifah on the film version of Chicago) and directed by Adam Shankman (The Pacifier). Hairspray is set to be filmed in Baltimore and Toronto beginning in the fall.

chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com

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