As most students trickled out the doors with backpacks and headphones on a Tuesday afternoon at Shakopee High School, the theater students’ days were just getting started.
This year, the high schoolers will perform “Hairspray,” and as the token song says, they can’t stop the beat.
The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical is set in 1962 Baltimore. Main character Tracy Turnblad dreams of making it on local TV dance show “The Corny Collins Show.” After gaining a spot, Turnblad campaigns against racial segregation, makes new friends and develops a closer relationship with her mom.
Jacqueline Macht, who plays Tracy Turnblad, said this musical is different than others because it hits close to everyone. Its topics surrounding race offer an important message to students and teachers.
Thom Amundsen, the director of theater arts at the high school, said he always likes directing plays that have a social justice bend. And he said there was no better time than now to do a musical centered around racial justice.
About 43% of students within Shakopee Public Schools are minorities, which is about eight percentage points higher than Minnesota’s statewide numbers.
“Our society at Shakopee has moved in a place that makes this play necessary,” Amundsen said. “The demographic has blown up. There’s a huge population of students of color.”
The main characters said during a full costume photo shoot how they love bringing deep, eye-opening lines to life: lines that are relevant to high school students and themes that carry out values beyond high school.
“We get to just be ourselves, set back a couple of decades,” Yousef Mohamud, who plays the role of Seaweed, said.
The performances will take place at 7 p.m. Nov. 15, 16 and 22 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 24, all held at Shakopee High School, 100 17th Ave. W. Audience members can buy tickets online at shakopeesabers.com/dramatickets.