Bruce Vilanch will join local high school students in production of ‘HAIRSPRAY’

January 24th, 2014 | by Denise Goolsby | Comments

Hairspray 1Emmy winning actor and comedian Bruce Vilanch will join several Broadway veterans and the students of Musical Theatre University in MTU’s  first, fully-staged musical production, “HAIRSPRAY” on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 – 2 in the Helene Galen Performing Arts Center at Rancho Mirage High School, 31001 Rattler Road, Rancho Mirage.

Show times:

8 p.m. – Friday, Jan. 31 and Saturday, Feb. 1

2 p.m. – Sunday, Feb. 2

Tickets – $35, $25, $15 – can be purchased online at 

For more information, call (760) 202-6482, Ext. 7

Musical Theater University is a pre-professional, after school performing arts conservatory designed for young performers, grades 8-12. Auditions are open to students across the Coachella Valley.

Thirty high school students are cast in the musical, set in 1962 Baltimore, Maryland.

The student lead is Rancho Mirage High School sophomore Amishi Bhandari, who plays Tracy Turnblad, a teen who pursues stardom as a dancer on a local TV show – and fights against racial segregation.

The cast also includes Matthew Hocutt (Cathedral City High School) as Link Larkin, Sasha Chasen (Rancho Mirage High School) as Amber, Robert Garcia (Coachella High School) as Seaweed, Leanna Concepcion (Highland High School) as Penny and student singers and dancers.

Broadway veterans Sal Mistretta (original Broadway “Sweeney Todd,” “Evita” and “Sunset Boulevard”) as Wilbur Turnblad, Lisa Robinson (as Broadway’s “Annie”) as Velma Von Tussle, and Gwen Stewart (Broadway’s “Rent”) as Motormouth Mabelle.

By the time the curtain goes up, the cast will have been rehearsing for a scant three weeks.

“The whole idea of the program is to train students in a real-world setting, said David Green, MTU founder and Executive/Artistic Director.

Local attorney Julie Rosser, is associate producer of the musical.

MTU is designed for students pursuing careers in professional theater.

The program is free to students; donations and sponsorships help defray the cost of operation.

Read more about MTU and “HAIRSPRAY” next week at

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