Middlebury’s J-term courses never fail to offer an amazing array of academic endeavors. Among them is “The American Musical in Performance,” a monumental joint effort by Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater and the College’s music department, culminating in a fully mounted production at Town Hall Theater — just three weeks after the start of rehearsals.
This year’s show was Hairspray, a cartoonish yet deeply moving chronicle of the youth-driven integration of an American Bandstand-style television program in the early ‘60s. The collaborative company of actors, musicians, choreographers, and staff included 45 students, as well as faculty and community members—and more than a handful had never been involved with a musical before! That’s the beauty of it all, according to director Doug Anderson, who teaches in the music department as well as being executive director of Town Hall Theater.
MiddMag went behind the scenes—literally—for a closer look at how it all came to be.
Watch the full video here, or in shorter chapters below. (Sorry, the chapter version may not work on mobile devices.)