The second musical in 2011 to spring from Menlo-Atherton High School — although not affiliated with the school — is the student-run and -directed production of Hairspray, which will premier this Friday night (4/29) at the Veterans Memorial Senior Center in Redwood City.
We stopped by the rehearsal a couple of nights ago, where the cast and crew was running through its final pre-dress rehearsal paces, led by director Isiah Moody and stage managers Nina Lozinski and Elissa Webb. After a quick photo op, we sat down and talked with the show’s producer, M-A senior Hannah Rosenfeld, who only minutes before had finished a stint as catcher in a school softball game.
It’s been Hannah’s job to fund the production. “Luckily for me, my Dad is in sales, and I got lots of pointers from him,” she said. “We’ve raised enough to cover costs and have also gotten some in-kind contributions from local businesses.”
Hannah says she loves the theater, but the business side was new to her. “I’ve learned so much. How to register a business name [Grab Bag Theater]. How to set up and use a business checking account. My only regret is that I don’t get to direct and see the play come together at rehearsal.”
It’s been a busy senior year for Hannah, who in addition to drama and softball is the Investigative Team Leader for the M-A Bear News. Given the pursuits of theater and journalism, it may not be surprising that she’s leaning towards attending NYU next year. The surprise is her anticipated major — biology — although she’s thinking of a career as a science writer.
“I love everything I do,” she said. “When I’m on the softball field, I don’t think about Hairspray and visa versa. But I must admit, trying to juggle all three has been pretty stressful. Luckily I get up super early.”
This weekend and next Hannah’s sights are set on making Hairspray a fun and successful experience for cast and crew and a good night of theater for the audience. “We hope to have a good crowd,” she said. “Everyone’s been really supportive and the parents have been great. Anything we make beyond costs we’re going to donate to the M-A drama department.”
Hairspray, which stars Hannah Schneider as Tracy Turnblad and Henry Mouat as Edna Turnblad, will have four performances — April 29, April 30 , May 6 — all at 7:30 pm and May 7 at 5:30 pm. Tickets — available online and at the door — are $5 for students/seniors/youth and $8 for adults. The Veterans Memorial Senior Center is located at 1455 Madison Ave. in Redwood City.