It is announced today that television and comedy star John Thomson (Cold Feet, The Fast Show) will join the smash hit UK tour of Hairspray as Wilbur Turnblad this Christmas for three weeks at Blackpool Winter Gardens (13 December – 2 January).
In his first ever musical theatre stage role, John will be joining musician, actress and television presenter Brenda Edwards (Chicago, We Will Rock You, The X Factor, Loose Women and Songs of Praise) who has starred as Motormouth Maybelle since the tour opened in Jun 2021 as well as previous runs of the tour. West End leading man Alex Bourne (Annie, Mamma Mia!, We Will Rock You) will continue in the role of Edna Turnblad.
Katie Brace makes her professional stage debut as Tracy Turnblad with Akeem Ellis-Hyman as Seaweed, Rebecca Thornhill as Velma, Richard Meek as Corny Collins, Ross Clifton as Link Larkin, Jessica Croll as Amber Von Tussle, Rebecca Jane Davies as Penny Pingleton and Charlotte St. Croix as Little Inez.
The full cast includes: Elizabeth Armstrong, Bernadette Bangura, Natalia Brown, Shaquille Brush, Liam Dean, Andrew Dillion, Amandla Elynah, Zoe Heighton, Ceris Hine, Paul Hutton, Jamie Jonathan, Hayley Johnston, Joshua Nkemdilim, Rosie O’Hare, Alexanda O’Reilly, Joshua Pearson, Joseph Poulton and Elliotte Williams-N’Dure.
Hairspray had been due to begin performances in August 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic. Performances finally began at Theatre Royal Plymouth in June 2021 under socially distanced requirements and the hugely popular production has now opened up to full capacity audiences as it makes its way across the country and is booking up to April 2021.
Hairspray is directed by Paul Kerryson with choreography by Olivier Award-winning Drew McOnie, designs by Takis, lighting design by Philip Gladwell and sound design by Ben Harrison.
It’s Baltimore 1962, where Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, is on a mission to follow her dreams and dance her way onto national TV. Tracy’s audition makes her a local star and soon she is using her new-found fame to fight for equality, bagging local heartthrob Link Larkin along the way.
Hairspray is based on the 1988 film of the same name which starred Divine and Ricki Lake by cult filmmaker John Waters. With music and lyrics by Academy Award, Tony and Emmy winning duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, Hairspray originally opened to rave reviews on Broadway in 2002 and subsequently won eight Tony Awards. The production opened in London at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 2007 and won four Olivier Awards including Best New Musical. Proving to be an international success, Hairspray has also opened in South Africa, Japan, South Korea, China and Dubai. Following the musical’s phenomenal success on stage, a film of the musical was released in 2007 which starred John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer and Zac Efron.