10 People we can’t believe have been in Hairspray!

Hairspray is coming to the Blackpool Winter Gardens!

Unfortunately, we don’t know much about the acclaimed Mark Goucher version yet. The cast hasn’t even been announced! Let’s take a look though at some of the incredible performers the show usually attracts. Hairspray has been a kitsch 60s classic since all the way back in 1988. (That’s 28 years ago, imagine!). In that time some pretty unexpected actors and actresses have dressed up (And dragged up) to be in it. Here’s our favourites.

Brian Conley – (Edna Turnblad)

The man, the legend, the grin. Britain’s cheekiest man has previously played Tracy’s larger than life mother, Edna Turnblad. His time on in the show may have ended in 2012, but those three years were marked with some classic camp Americana. This may be a different cast to what we’re getting, but it ain’t gonna be far from it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMtA6iVZICc  

Belinda Carlisle – (Velma Von Tussle)

Belinda Carlisle, I know! Mad, right? She was a replacement for Tracie Bennett in the Westend but made the role very much her own. She was part of LA’s punk scene in the 70s, singing with the Go-Go’s. If, incredibly, you can’t think who she is for a second then this. Just this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-WP6POdTgY

Phil Jupitus – (Edna Turnblad)

Phil was another totally perfect bit of drag casting for Edna. The old comedy punk poet and Never Mind the Buzzocks team captain actually has some heavyweight punk rock pedigree, and a decent set of pipes on him! On more than a few occasions he’s filled the pretty big shoes of Ian Dury and performed with the Blockheads. If you don’t believe me, here’s a reason to be cheerful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=as-LGLpB7Zo

Ariana Grande – (Penny Pingleton)

Playing the dorky, but lovable, sidekick to Maddie Baillio’s Tracey Turnbald, Ariana Grande was a big coup for NBC’s 2016 live version of the musical. She got to duet with Jennifer Hudson too. It really was a star-studded performance! Despite all her pop credentials, it was an accomplished musical performance by the ex-child star and Nickelodeon favourite. A little different to our stage version, it must have taken some real logistical work to pull off! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXC4YQCti2Q

George Wendt – (Edna Turnblad)

Yep. Another entry, another Edna. All the best actors seem to be taking this role! You might not recognise George Wendt’s name, but you will recognise his face, as Norm from the legendary sitcom Cheers. We could find a video of his singing at this point, but when you’ve played Norm, you’ve played Norm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPqPAKqzx7M

Haylie Duff, Hilary Duff’s big sister – (Amber Von Tussle)

Nobody saw this one coming, but Hilary Duff’s sister is quite the actress in her own right. She’s popular in the US for appearing on the TV show 7th Heaven, but you just might recognise her as the preppy prom queen character Summer Wheatley, from the teen cult classic Napoleon Dynamite. She played a similar role in the Broadway version of the show, as the spoiled star of the The Corny Collins Show. She did once appear in a music video with her sister too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMyenn8rJdo

Michael McKean – (Edna Trunbald)

I’m trying to keep the number of Ednas low here, I promise. However, when one is being played by Michael McKean, you have to include it. You might recognise him as David St. Hubbins, the legendary lead singer of the spoof rock band Spinal Tap. He also works on Saturday Night Live and has one a Grammy, and was Oscar nominated for his song A Mighty Wind, from the film of the same name. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMSV4OteqBE  

Jennifer Hudson – (Motormouth Maybelle)

She may not have won American Idol but it didn’t seem to halt her career at all! Since her appearance on the show in 2002 she’s starred in Dreamgirls and recorded her own solo work. Of course, don’t expect too many US megastars when the show hits Blackpool…it’ll be too full of British ones! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9qtRcHJVI8

Michael Ball – (Edna – Again)

The final Edna. Promise. Currently touring with Alfie Boe, one of the most famous crooners these isles have ever produced, has a pretty big pedigree in musicals. He’s been in everything from Le Mis, to The Phantom of the Opera, to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Right now Hairspray is a long way from off, but, you never know what you might get. Fingers crossed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Fe3AB255Rk

Mel Smith – (Wilbur Turnblad)

Perhaps the last person you’d see in a colourful 60s-themed musical, Mel Smith, one half of Smith & Jones, has appeared on Not the Nine O’Clock News and National Lampoon’s European Vacation. He was Michael Ball’s lovable joke shop-owning husband Wilbur, in the West End version. Something very out of character. Sadly, he passed away in 2013. Who knows how great his musical career may have become. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lg_y3DjazMo  

How to see Mark Goucher’s version at the Winter Gardens

If you can’t wait for the cast to be announced, then you’ll have to! Keep you eyes peeled on the Blackpool Winter Gardens Twitter and Facebook page, we’ll be the first to let you know! If all that acting pedigree has got you in the mood for some Hairspray magic, then the show hits Blackpool from the September 18-23rd 2017. Despite a number of matinee performance, tickets start form just £17.50, meaning that they’ll go, fast!  


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