Combs and curlers at the ready: a new production of the Tony and Olivier Award-winning musical Hairspray comes to the West End in April 2020. The production sees Michael Ball reprise the role of Edna Turnblad, the agoraphobic mother of the show’s heroine, Tracy. Also on board are members of the original stage production’s award-winning team: director Jack O’Brien and choreographer Jerry Mitchell. Hairspray is on at the London Coliseum for a 12-week run, from 23 April – 19 July 2020.
Hairspray was last in the West End at the Shaftsbury Theatre in 2007. The production scooped up four Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical and a Best Actor in a Musical award for Ball, for his performance as Edna.
Hairspray has quite a history behind it, both on stage and screen. It began life as a 1988 comedy film by John Waters, before being adapted for the stage in 2002, with a book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, and music by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. The Broadway production inspired a second Hairspray film, this time a musical rom-com, directed and choreographed by Adam Shankman, released in 2007 – the same year a production of Hairspray opened on the West End stage.
The plot of Hairspray has stayed largely the same in all versions. Set in Baltimore in 1962, the story follows Tracy Turnblad, a heavyweight teenager with big hair and even bigger dreams. Tracy is determined to win a place as a dancer on the local TV dance show and a place in the heart of school heartthrob Link Larkin. Beyond her ambitions for herself, though, is Tracy’s desire to fight against the racial divide and segregation that’s rife throughout Baltimore. With catchy songs – ‘Good Morning Baltimore’ and ‘I Can Hear the Bells’ among them – and a lighthearted moral of unity and acceptance at its core, Hairspray is undeniably a feel-good musical.
Ball made his West End debut in 1985 playing Marius in the original London production of Les Misérables. In 1989, he reached number two in the UK Singles Chart with ‘Love Changes Everything’, a song from the musical Aspects of Love, in which he played Alex. Then in 1992, he represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest, coming second with the song ‘One Step Out of Time’. As well as his Olivier for Hairspray, Ball won another Best Actor award for his role as the titular barber in Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street in 2013.
Further casting for Hairspray is yet to be announced. Tickets are now on sale here
|What||Hairspray, London Coliseum|
|Where||London Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, , London , WC2N 4ES | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Piccadilly Circus (underground)|
23 Apr 20 – 19 Jul 20, Evening performances at 19:30 and occasional matinees
|Website||Click here for more information and to book|