The Barbe High School Drama Club will present "Hairspray Jr." Oct. 18-20, featuring a cast and crew of nearly 75 students who only recently came together to form the club, Kelli Cooley, artistic director said.

The performance will be the group's first musical. The show was chosen because of its toe-tapping songs and nostalgic costumes and sets, Cooley said.

"It has such great music and such fun dance numbers. I can't see how you couldn't have a good time watching this."

"Hairspray Jr." is a one-hour version of the Broadway hit that follows a young Tracie Turnblad and Link Larkin — performed by Laylah Bennett and Grayson Ashford — as they navigate the entertainment industry during the United State's segregated 60s.

Rated G, Cooley said the show is suitable for all ages but will especially resonate with adults and students middle school-aged or older.

"It's a real conversation starter for middle school on up because people didn't realize we didn't always all go to school together," she said.

With less than one year of experience under their belt as a performing arts group, Cooley said she has been amazed by how much the students have grown creatively and socially through the club. "It's really held them accountable. They can't be in the school show if they're failing a class so they've started after-school study programs," Cooley said. "They're encouraging each other to make good decisions and kids who would have normally not been friends have become family."

Starting the program has also taught the students about perseverance and work-ethic. From performance to technical elements and concessions, "everything you see is their creation," Cooley said. "They really brought that story to life, starting with nothing and going all the way to a finished product."

Performances will be held at the LaGrange High School Theater, 3420 Louisiana Ave. Show times are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at the door for $7. For more information email Kelli Cooley,

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