Well, tonight’s the night! Hairspray opens finally after a shuffle with the schedule last week. I am super excited to engage in yet another theater season with JD. This is his first “adult” like role in a play…I mean, the kid has clearly passed the young boy character phase with is 5’6″ self. FYI, he is now officially taller than his Dad…shhhh, Dad’s in serious denial! It’s cute though. Being cast as Duane seemed like a perfect fit for him. Duane is one of the detention kids from the movie, if you remember…aka friends with Seaweed…aka the African American cast. This group is carefree, fresh, sassy, and most importantly…fabulous singers and dancers. JD is definitely a perfect match for the role.
His lines are few, but his presence like the others brings a smile because they epitomize all the great qualities of a grounded teen in the 60’s. In a way, I see facets of JD as Duane in present day life.
Being segregated as the 60’s were, does not compare to anything JD nor I have dealt with personally. I don’t suggest that JD falls into the same category to what an African American was going through in the sixties (don’t get crazy at me). I am merely suggesting that he processes and exudes a genuine look on life through adversity. JD has had struggles when it comes to “fitting in” socially due to his autism, but in true JD form he chooses to live for himself not for others and what they think. That quality is what draws people to JD. He lives in the present, enjoys his widely creative side, gets excited about what is take for granted, and shows true emotion. The confidence makes me proud without feeling like he’s over bearing. This experience of Hairspray shows me that even more…and the fact that boy can MOVE!
Duane is a character that is forever smiling. He loves his friends and considers them family. He is not ashamed to say what he thinks. He does not hold back on imaginative ways to express himself. He knows his struggles are prevalent in his life, but he chooses to look towards a brighter future. Duane and the other detention kids stare adversity in the eye and accept the digs that come their way, with a song in their heart and hop to their step. So, from where I stand…JD and Duane could have been fast friends across the decades.
I can’t wait for the audience to see the play…it’s funny, makes you want to sing, educates, and more importantly, teaches everyone about coming together as family.
If you come see it, thanks for supporting JD and the cast. They do this not for the recognition, but because they love giving the audience a performance…a ‘feeling’ if you will.
You Can’t Stop the Beat!!!