When Trumbull resident Cecilia Debroff auditioned for Center Stage Theatre's Teen Musical Theatre Workshop last last summer, little did Debroff or the Center Stage directing team know what was in store for her.

"We immediately recognized her talent," said Teen Musical Theatre director Gina Scarpa. "And featured her in three or four numbers."

"Center Stage has a legacy of putting on outstanding shows,” Debroff said. “The hard work Center Stage puts into each production is evident in the outcome of the performances. I know this because I have seen many Center Stage productions and I continue to be blown away."

The St. Joseph High School senior then decided to audition for Center Stage's production of Hairspray, which opens this Friday night, and she was cast in a major role, as Penny Pingleton, the nerdy best friend of Tracy Turnblad.

"Being given the chance to play Penny Lou Pingleton is the dream of a lifetime,” Debroff said. “Hairspray has been one of my favorite musicals since I was little and I've always related to dorky, quirky characters and I have the most fun playing them. I couldn't be more excited to perform as Penny with the amazing cast of Center Stage's Hairspray."

"We are so happy to welcome Cecelia to our Center Stage family of performers,” Center Stage Artistic Director Gary Scarpa added. “She is an immensely talented singer and performer and having her play Penny is going to be a real treat for our audiences!"

The winner of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical for 2003, Hairspray is a celebration of the early 1960s.

Plot

Baltimore’s new teen celebrity, Tracy Turnblad, a girl with big hair and an even bigger voice, wins the affections of heartthrob Link Larkin and integrates a TV network — all without denting her ‘do! Beneath the hoppin’ and boppin’ good times are themes of rebellion, discrimination and teen triumph. Hairspray features hit tunes like “Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now,” “Good Morning Baltimore,” “You Can’t Stop the Beat” and “Welcome to the ‘60s.”

"It is a privilege to be part of this production and I wouldn't give it up for the world," said Debroff. "I encourage everyone to come see Hairspray! It's worth every Penny!"

Theatre background

Center Stage Theatre, which is located at 54 Grove Street in Shelton, is a non-profit organization, founded in 2005 by directors Gary and Francesca Scarpa. The theatre presents a full season of five productions.

Center Stage's purpose is to enhance the cultural environment within its community; to present high quality theatrical productions at affordable prices; to encourage growth and education through the performing arts; and to provide a means for interested adults, teens and children to experience and participate in various aspects of live theater.

Performances of Hairspray will take place on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. from Feb. 5 through Feb. 20 with 2:00 p.m. matinees on Sundays, Feb. 7, Feb. 14, and Feb. 21, and a 7:00 p.m. performance on Thursday, Feb. 18.

Adults: $25.00, Students: $ 10.00. For tickets call 203-225-6079 or visit http://www.centerstageshelton.org