When Justin Zenchuk was a freshman in high school, he was featured as Edna Turnblad in a production of Hairspray as part of “Adaptations” with the Shelton High School Drama Club. A few years later, he repeated the character in an excerpt from Hairspray in the Youth CONNection’s 25th anniversary production of You Can’t Stop the Beat opposite his lifelong friend, Katie Sedlock who played his daughter, Tracy.
The duo is paired once again in the mother-daughter roles in Center Stage Theatre’s full scale production of Hairspray, which opens Friday at the theatre in Shelton.
Zenchuk plays the role of Edna Turnblad, which was played by John Travolta in the 2007 film version and by the famous Drag queen, Divine, in the 1988 film version.
“Playing the role of Edna Turnblad has been a dream of mine since 2005 when I got a taste of it during Adaptations at Shelton High, and my dream came true when Center Stage Artistic Director Gary Scarpa announced the show last January,” said Zenchuk.
Sedlock plays Edna’s daughter, Tracy, which was played by Ricki Lake in the original film.
Sedlock commented, “I met Justin in kindergarten and we went from kindergarten all the way to college at Southern Connecticut State University together. The mother/daughter love that Edna and Tracy share is not a giant leap for us due to our off- stage friendship. I am so incredibly happy to be sharing the stage with my best friend!”
Both actors have been performing at Center Stage and with the Youth CONNection throughout high school and college.
“Katie and Justin have dreamed of performing these roles since they were young teenagers, but what they may not realize is that it has been just as much a dream of mine to see them team up in a full production of Hairspray,” said Mia Scarpa, the director and choreographer of the production. “ I feel fortunate that this experience is taking place at Center Stage, which has been a second home to all of us since the very beginning.”
The winner of 8 Tony Awards, including Best Musical for 2003, Hairspray is a celebration of the early 1960s. Baltimore’s new teen celebrity, Tracy Turnblad, a girl with big hair and an even bigger voice, wins the affections of heartthrob Link Larkin and integrates a TV network – all without denting her ‘do! Beneath the hoppin’ and boppin’ good times are themes of rebellion, discrimination and teen triumph. Hairspray features hit tunes like “Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now,” “Good Morning Baltimore,” “You Can’t Stop the Beat” and “Welcome to the ‘60s.”
Center Stage Theatre is a non-profit organization, founded in 2005 by directors Gary and Francesca Scarpa. The theatre presents a full season of five productions. Center Stage’s purpose is to enhance the cultural environment within its community; to present high quality theatrical productions at affordable prices; to encourage growth and education through the performing arts; and to provide a means for interested adults, teens and children to experience and participate in various aspects of live theater.
Performances of Hairspray will take place on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. from February 5th through Feb. 20 with 2 p.m. matinees on Feb. 7, 14, and 21, and a 7 p.m. performance on Thursday, Feb. 18. Adults: $25, Students: $ 10.
For tickets call 203-225-6079 or visit