Oakland High School's 'Hairspray' Finds a Home, for Now

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The cast of 'Hairspray' rehearses at Oakland High School. (Gabe Meline/KQED)

When students at Oakland High learned that the teachers strike would likely derail their plans for the first-ever Broadway musical at the budget-strapped school in 40 years, they could have lowered the curtain and gone dark.

Instead, not wanting to cross the picket line, they packed up and moved to Lake Merritt, where outside on the shore, they continued rehearsing. Then they moved to the Oakland Museum Theater for more rehearsals. Now, they're at the Asian Cultural Center in Oakland's Chinatown neighborhood, where they'll perform a free preview of Hairspray on Saturday, March 2, at 7pm.

The "preview" in that announcement alludes to hopes that the full show will still run March 7 and 8. In addition to the strike, Oakland High School has been hammered by budget cuts and doesn't have a drama program, making Hairspray a volunteer effort.

"I'm just so excited for this play. But if it's not going to happen, I just don't know what to say," Trinity Chau, an 18-year-old in her senior year, told KQED in February.

The preview performance on March 2 is free; details here.