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Marietta Native to Star in Starr's Mill Play | Arts & Culture

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Marietta Native to Star in Starr's Mill Play

Professional actress and Marietta native, Kayce Grogan-Wallace, who teaches theatre at Marietta Middle School, is going back to high school this fall—Starr’s Mill High School, to be exact—as a cast member in the Fayette County school’s production of the wildly popular Broadway musical “Hairspray.”

Set in 1962, “Hairspray,” which won eight Tony Awards in 2003, tells the story of the pleasantly plump Baltimore teen Tracy Turnblad, whose greatest desire is to dance on the popular “Corny Collins Show.” When her dream comes true, Tracy is transformed from social outcast to sudden star, but she must use her newfound power to vanquish the reigning teen queen, win the affections of heartthrob Link Larkin and integrate a TV network—all without denting her hairdo.

Wallace, a 2008 theatre and performance studies graduate of Kennesaw State University, will reprise her role as Motormouth Maybelle, who she portrayed in Atlanta Lyric Theatre’s production of “Hairspray” this summer at The Strand Theatre in Marietta.

Her performance at The Strand was even more meaningful as an African-American woman, Wallace said, because her father, who also grew up in Marietta, was able to sit downstairs in the former movie theater to see her performances.

“Years ago, The Strand Theatre was one of the segregated theaters in Marietta—black families had to sit in the balcony,” Wallace explained. “It was amazing for me that my father was able to sit downstairs, when just over 40 years ago when he had gone to that theatre, he had to sit upstairs. It was just so powerful for me and for my family.”

David Spearman, longtime director of the Starr’s Mill High School drama department, and several of his students were among those impressed by Wallace’s performance at The Strand. Though he had not yet auditioned students for the musical, he knew that he wanted to have an adult play the role of Maybelle, so he asked Wallace if she’d be willing to join the high school cast.

Wallace, who is presently appearing as Maud Dunlop in Atlanta Lyric Theatre’s production of “The Music Man,” will perform with a diverse cast of more than 40 students in Starr’s Mill’s production of “Hairspray” at 7 p.m. on Nov. 11 and 13, and 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 14 at the school’s Duke Auditorium, 193 Panther Path, Fayetteville. Tickets cost $10 for students and $12 for adults. For more information, contact the school at 770.486.2710.