Meet Bethany Slomka and see why she is so excited to play the role of Tracy Turnblad!
This is not the first time you have stepped into the role of Tracy Turnblad. How do you connect with her character and find new insight?
I am so excited to play Tracy again! She is my favorite role I’ve ever played because of her infectious spirit. I have actually found that the older I get, the more deeply I connect with her; I don’t see her as solely a funny, bubbly character, but one with great sense of purpose and compassion. While I hope to maintain the same pizazz and charisma this character brings to the stage, I am also hoping to bring more honesty to her this time around. I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to “find” her again, but the second I started reading the script it all came back to me. Her spunky personality, heart, and preserving nature motivate me to bring the fullness of her character to life.
What do you most identify with in her character?
There are so many ways in which I identify with her! Our biggest similarity is that we both have a clear understanding of who we are and we are not willing to sacrifice for that, even if it is not necessarily the “cool” thing to do. Tracy is also extremely passionate about justice and making sure that everyone has a voice, and I aim to do the same. We also BOTH love to dance and have fun! One way in which I hope to be more like her is to emulate her level of confidence; she puts herself out there and never apologizes for who she is. I hope to grow to her level of self love and confidence one day!
What is the most important message you want the audience to take away from the show?
I want the audience to leave singing and dancing with the reminder that beauty is a reflection of the heart and the most unlikely people can make positive change. Tracy challenges long standing beauty standards and leads with kindness and acceptance. I hope the audience will leave feeling empowered to lead with the same love and care for the people around them. This show makes a difficult part of this nation’s history accessible to everyone through song, dance, and the relationships between the characters; I hope it reminds us to continue to fight for and celebrate equal representation.
Which of the famous adaptations of the musical do you like the most and why?
I was first introduced to Hairspray by my beloved grandmother, Nonnie, when she brought a VHS recording of the John Waters film. Then, I saw the 1st National Tour when it came through San Diego and I was OBSESSED from that moment on. I remember jumping to my feet at the end of the show. While I love that the story has gotten so much attention with the movie remake and the NBC live production, nothing has topped seeing that touring cast!
This is not your first time at San Diego Musical Theatre, if you could choose your next show and next role what would it be and why?
Hmmm…that is a tough one because I feel like my list keeps growing! I think I would say Little Red in Into the Woods or Rose in Dogfight.