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John Waters' classic 'Hairspray' on stage in Snellville

SNELLVILLE -- The 1988 release of John Waters flick "Hairspray" grabbed a nation by the hair and threw everyone through the ringer with themes of race and culture through song and dance. Now, the classic story is on stage at Snellville's New London Theatre to shake up Gwinnett County for the better, starting tonight.

"We've made sure it was age appropriate," director Dawn Berlo said. "The story behind it is something that everyone needs to know -- that skin color doesn't matter because what you are makes you is you. It's something that I want people to walk away with."

The story is set in Baltimore during the '60s with plus-sized leading lady Tracy Turnblad, who has a passion for dancing and performs regularly on the local dance show called "The Corny Collins Show." Tracy and her best friend Penny continue to work on their dance moves, especially when they learn how to groove with several black classmates, which creates controversy.

From there, all topics are covered, belittled and conquered.

None of the actors are professional dancers, so they have worked for several weeks non-stop to perfect their moves.

"Honestly, watching the choreography come to life is my favorite part about directing this play," Berlo said. "We didn't hire professional dancers, but to watch our actors to learn a new step, get excited when they get it and watch them grow is amazing. They've become dancers. Their characters are becoming them."

Since this version is "campier" than the 2007 rendition, Berlo thinks everyone will have fun with the songs and dance moves.

"It's going to make you want to get up out of your seat, dance and have fun," she said "You know, just forget about your problems for a few hours and have fun."