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    Hit musical's songwriters send special message to West Hatch High School ahead of major production

    The composers of the hit Broadway musical 'Hairspray' have sent a special message of good luck to students at West Hatch High School as they prepare to perform the show next month.

    The production will be staged at the High Road school from December 10 to 13.

    In an email, songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman wrote:

    From the songwriters of "HAIRSPRAY" to the Cast & Crew of the West Hatch High School production of "HAIRSPRAY".

    My partner Scott & I wrote the songs for the musical "HAIRSPRAY". A little bird (named Mauro) told us about the production of our show that you are all currently a part of up in Essex.

    "HAIRSPRAY" was a joyous event in our lives. From the moment we started writing the songs in California to the first rehearsals in New York City, from the Opening Night on Broadway to The Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall right up to the making of the movie musical up in Toronto and beyond, it really has been one long dream come true for us, and we hope that your experience putting on the show brings you as much joy as we have gotten over the years.

    Our only request is you share that joy! There is no holding back allowed when putting on "HAIRSPRAY". One has to sing every word with all the emotion you can bring to it, dance like your life depended on it, and make sure that every audience member leaves the theatre a little happier than they were when they came in, and hopefully a little more willing to accept all types of people, regardless of what they look like. And maybe to even search out people who are different than themselves. And dance while they're doing it!

    Scott & I were both lucky enough to go back to our high-schools to see productions of "HAIRSPRAY". Please let that show you, very clearly, that two guys like us who loved doing musicals when we were in high-school (just like you!) worked very hard and got to have all our dreams come true.

    We hope to feel the energy from your performances even over here in America. Please, have fun and break a leg.  Welcome to the family of "HAIRSPRAY"!

    Marc & Scott xx

    Marc also composed many other musical films, including Sister Act, and is currently musical director and arranger for, among others, Harry Connick Jr and Bette Midler.

    He also featured on the Imagine series this week as Bette Midler's musical director.

    West Hatch High School music teacher Mauro Sheehan, who is rehearsal pianist and band member for the show which is being directed by drama teacher Nick Bell, said: “The cast were very excited to receive the email from Marc Shaiman.

    “It drove home to them that even though it has been a massive worldwide success it is still the baby of two people and to hear from them was extraordinary. It lifted spirits towards the last few weeks of rehearsals.”

    For details about booking tickets for the shows – Wednesday, December 10; Thursday, December 11; Friday, December 12 (6.30pm for 7pm) and Saturday, December 13 (5pm for 5.30pm) – email Nick Bell - nbell@westhatch.essex.sch.uk


    * Hairspray, The Broadway Musical, book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman.

    This amateur production is presented by arrangement with Josef Weinberger Limited on behalf of Music Theatre International of New York.