Giving Back

Pope John Players Learn Salon Tips for Charity and Upcoming Performances of 'Hairspray'

Mrs. Gaetana Kalafsky, a Pope John Forensics Science and AP Biology teacher, volunteers to have her hair done. Credits: Sonia Geba
Christina Grosso of Salon FiG, teaches students about 60's hairstyles. Credits: Sonia Geba
Becky Lawrence of Salon FiG teaches Courtney Milton (left) and Jennifer Dupre (sitting, center), how to create 'Hairspray' era styles. Credits: Sonia Geba
Michaella Barracato styles Elizabeth Henning's hair. Credits: Sonia Geba

SPARTA, NJ - Pope John XXIII High School’s Theater Program, under the direction of Jacquelyn Burt Esq., welcomed representatives from Salon FiG in Newton yesterday, to demonstrate the art of teasing hair.

Manager of Salon FiG, Christina Grosso, and stylist and salon coordinator, Becky Lawrence, showed the ensemble the hairstyling methods behind bouffants and beehives, while inviting the girls to practice the demonstrated techniques on fellow players.

Pope John will be showing "Hairspray" for this year’s spring musical, leaving no room for historical inaccuracies, or fashion faux pas, by bringing in experts to teach the players just how 60's-era teenagers styled their hair.

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“I’m just really excited. It’s a lot of fun and it’s a great play that has great hair that is not like hair nowadays. It is very different, so I am really excited to speak to everybody. I am really glad to be here,” remarked Grosso, in preparation to go around the room to help girls with their beehives.

The girls returned the sentiment, as Pope John Players Hair and Makeup Crew Member Michaella Barracato effervescently summed up, “I am very excited to be here today. It’s interesting to see how people did their makeup and hair, and actually wore it out in public.”

The Salon representatives came after school to show two hairstyles to rotating groups of students, in an effort to reach out to the community in a fun way.

“Jackie Burt is a client, she comes to us, and the owner, Colleen, is always trying to get involved in anything she can to help out in the community. I’m happy to help. Many of the girls all seem a little nervous about starting it, but it is fun to do hair," said Lawrence just before the first round of girls started experimenting with bottles of hairspray and combs of all sizes.

Teachers, much beloved by the girls, acted as models, allowing their hair to be used to demonstrate the styles Lawrence and Grosso wanted to exhibit.

“It's not so hard to recreate historical hairstyles, it’s just that it’s not a style you’re doing all the time, so you’re not as used to it. It’s fun to do stuff that you don’t get to do all the time,” commented Lawrence.

There is much to be excited about as the opening of the play is just about nine days away; however, the excitement is not only for the play, but also for the impact the players will have on their communities. The Pope John Players will be donating $0.50 per girl to create packages for Project Self-Sufficiency, an organization that seeks to promote low-income groups to improve their quality of life through self-sufficiency services. Salon FiG has worked with the program (click here for press release about the salon’s award received for their assistance to the agency), providing services and products.

"Project Self-Sufficiency is a cause I believe in a great deal,” said Burt. “There are many ways to help people get back into the workforce and salon services are just one important way of helping people with interviews, etc.”

Regardless of the amount of work needed to aid a self-sufficiency program, or the number of hours required to produce a great show, Jackie Burt still manages to have the time to answer a few questions about her purpose with this year’s show and the difficulties that arise.

“We like to choose stuff that will be fun for the kids that will have a big cast. In "Hairspray," there are twenty speaking parts, there are lots of lines and the show is also topical. We like to choose shows that send a message. With "Les Mis," it was ‘to love another person is to see the face of God,’ with "West Side Story" it showed gang violence, and "Hairspray" addresses all forms of bullying: weight, race, and age. The message involves the freedom to be accepted,” explained Burt while supervising rehearsal.

Teenage students are increasingly identifying characters with the actors that play them in films. The issues that arise when directing shows that have been recently released in theaters, according to Burt, have to do with “what kids think the character should say. Lots of kids see "Hairspray" and think Zac Efron’s interpretation. The biggest difficulty is trying to imagine what the character would say. YouTube helps a lot with that. I tell the kids to ‘be your own YouTube picture.’”

The players have been rehearsing now for months, and wait for opening night on February 21 with great excitement, but hardly any nerves could be felt from the players as they learned how to tease their hair and spray their curls into high-rising hairdos.

In Burt’s words, “The kids are really good actors.”

And no doubt this skill will serve them well when the show goes on.


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