Hairspray’ star grows as an actress, personcsudhbulletin December 7, 2016 0 COMMENTS
By Akeem Ivory
Juggling responsibilities while being a college student seems to go hand and hand, but not many people would be able to handle being a full-time student, having a full-time job, and being a part of a two and a half month play production. This is the reality for Yesenia Campos, a junior double majoring in theatre and journalism who is fresh off of the stage in her role as Brenda in “Hairspray.”
It is required for all theater majors to audition for a production, so Campos, despite her inexperience with singing and dancing, tried out for the musical. She didn’t expect to get a call back, and when she did she wasn’t even sure she wanted the part. After a lot encouragement from directors, she decided to be a part of the production.
“Even before accepting the role, the director emailed me,” said Campos. “It took me the weekend to respond because I didn’t want to take it. I wanted to be in “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind”, because I worshiped the director. I took [the part] knowing that there were so many other talented dancers and singers who didn’t get chosen and I did.”
“Hairspray” follows the character of plus-sized teen Tracy Turnblad, who dreams of being on Baltimore’s TV dance production, “The Corny Collins Show.” She wins the chance to be on the show and becomes famous as she tries to racially integrate the show, rather than having “Negro Day” once a month.
Campos made plenty of sacrifices to be in the play from her life at home, work and school. She even dropped her Communication Theory and Research class because of a time conflict with rehearsals. Being in the play even pushed back her graduation date from Spring 2017 to Fall 2017.
“Another issue was work,” said Campos. “I work full-time and I’m a full-time student. My manager even told me, ‘we may have to let you go.’ We’re all students and we all need to work. I thought to myself ‘is this even worth it?’”
The passing of Campos’ grandmother during rehearsals only added to her stress, but she stuck with it and feels it has made her stronger person.
“I feel like I learned about myself,” said Campos. “I was able to prove to myself that I’m able to break past these barriers put in front of me, showing myself I could do it even with the problems at work and home and found that balance. If that consisted of me waking up at 4 in the morning to go to work, only having 20 minutes to make it to class, and catching up on my sleep in the car I would do it, [even] remaining professional and coming to rehearsal the day I lost my grandmother. I’m doing all this to make my family proud and be an example for the little sister, just to let her know no matter how hard it may seem you can do it.”
With two sold-out performances leading to two days being added to the play, as well as creating networking opportunities with professionals in the theatre world, Campos does not, by any means, regret being a part of “Hairspray.”