LOGAN, WV – It was standing room only at city hall on Tuesday night when the cast of The Aracoma Story Incorporated’s play “Hairspray” came to town. Dozens of castmembers from the show filed into city hall to meet with the mayor and town council on May 9 in order to get assistance in promoting the show.
“I want to welcome everybody to Logan City Hall,” said Mayor Serafino Nolletti to the mostly youthful cast and crew members. For the majority of them it was their first visit to city hall, and the mayor told them he would like to see them return on other community projects.
Bill France, who has been associated with TAS for over a decade as both an actor and a director explained the history of the show, which has been a hit movie as well as an award winning stage show over the years, and how TAS Inc. is doing things differently by teaming up with other local agencies in order to promote the show outside of Logan, and why.
“The Aracoma Story has long been a part of the downtown Logan scene,” France said, explaining that allthough most TAS productions take place at nearby Chief Logan State Park five miles away, the community theatrical troup is headquartered on Main Street in Logan and has been for many years.This summer, TAS will be having two new shows full of dozens of youthful performers.
“In June we have “Hairspray”, which is set in Baltimore in the 1960s….In August we will have “Grease,” France said. “For us, to put this on is a pretty big deal… ” France explained that TAS has teamed up with the Hatfield McCoy Convention and Visitors Bureau and is placing ads outside of Logan in the hopes of drawing the tourist trade to the area with the productions.
“Hairspray” was a 1998 film by cult movie director Jonathan Waters, featuring Rikki Lake, Divine, Sonny Bono and Debbie Harry. The movie became an even bigger hit and a cult classic on home video and cable. It became a broadway musical in 2002 and was remade as a movie in 2007.
“We are marketing this as a tourism draw,” France explained, noting that “Hairspray” has a cast of 50 people as well as 20 more technical people in the stage crew. Combined, “Grease” and “Hairspray” will have 130 cast members participating in both shows. “We would like you to help us build excitement for these shows for their opening nights, which are June 3 for “Hairspray” and August 3 for “Grease” by agreeing to sign proclamations for both shows,” he said.
“We will do that,” said Mayor Nolletti noting that the paperwork for the first show had already been prepared. “We will be happy to help the Aracoma Story by honoring them for all they have done for our community.”
The mayor and others questioned the students about several topics and he explained the history of Logan City Hall which originally had been a train station in town.
Also on the agenda Tuesday evening was a spokesperson on behalf of the Logan Day Report Center who discussed a proposal to provide assistance to the City of Logan from the organizations Community Service workers to help on the fixing up and maintaining of an historical cemetery in town.
Mayor Nolletti said the proposal was a welcome one considering that years ago, when legendary local figure Claude Ellis was mayor and Kevin Marcum was just appointed as Street Commissioner that cleaning up and and renovating that same cemetery was a huge and important project that involved many people, including the street department as well as the Logan Fire Department and some local volunteers.