Michael Ball extends run in Hairspray until April 2009

~ - 04/09/2008 ~

Michael Ball has extended his run playing the role of ‘Edna Turnblad' in the smash hit award-winning musical “HAIRSPRAY” by another six months.  He will now be starring in the role until Saturday 25 April 2009, marking the longest continuing contract that Michael, one of the UK's leading stage stars, has ever performed.

The show opened in October 2007 to universal critical acclaim and smash hit business. At the 2008 Olivier Awards, “HAIRSPRAY” won ‘Best Musical', as well as ‘Best Actor in a Musical' for Michael Ball , ‘Best Actress in a Musical' for Le Anne Jones . The show has also won ‘Best Musical' at the Evening Standard Awards, the awards and the Critics Circle Award.  The show also re-couped it's entire £3.5 million capitalisation in a record-breaking 29 weeks, and is credited as playing a large role in the regeneration of the Shaftesbury Theatre's surrounding district.

In other casting news, Liz Robertson will take over the role of ‘Velma Von Tussle' from Tracie Bennett on Monday 27 October. A West End musical star, she played ‘Eliza Doolittle' in “My Fair Lady” at the Adelphi Theatre, for which she won the Variety Club ‘Most Promising Actress' Award as well as an Olivier ‘Best Actress in a Musical' nomination. Her other West End credits include “A Little Night Music”, “The Mitford Girls” and “The Phantom Of The Opera”. Zoe Rainey will take over the role of ‘Amber Von Tussle' from Rachel Wooding at the same time, and 16-year old newcomer Raquel Jones the role of ‘Little Inez' from Natalie Best.  Principal cast members Le Anne Jones (‘Tracy Turnblad'), Ben James-Ellis (‘Link Larkin'), Ian Talbot (‘Wilbur Turnblad'), Elinor Collett (‘Penny Pingleton'), Adrian Hansel (‘Seaweed'), Johnnie Fiori (‘Motormouth Maybelle') and Paul Manuel (‘Corny Collins') all remain with the show.

Adam Spiegel, from UK producers Stage Entertainment , said:

“I am absolutely delighted that Michael and many others in the cast have decided to stay with the production.  Hairspray is the happiest show in London, both on stage and behind the scenes, and knowing we have Michael leading us into our second year is a dream come true. That he's doing so in a dress is simply a bonus!”

Michael Ball said:

“I am so happy that the divine Mrs Edna Turnblad is going to continue to be a big part of my world for another six months. “HAIRSPRAY” has without doubt been one of the happiest and most fulfilling experiences of my professional life. And I am delighted to carry on being part of this phenomenon.” 

The show will also welcome its 500,000 ticket purchase at the Shaftesbury Theatre today, marking an important milestone for both the London production and the venue.

“HAIRSPRAY” is produced in the West End by Stage Entertainment with Margo Lion , The Baruch/Viertel/Routh/Frankel Group and New Line Cinema in association with others from the Broadway producing team. 

“HAIRSPRAY” opened at the Neil Simon Theatre in New York in August 2002 to rave reviews and public acclaim. “HAIRSPRAY” subsequently swept the board at the 2003 Tony Awards, winning 8 including ‘Best Musical', the Drama Desk Awards, winning 10 including ‘Best Musical', and the Outer Critics Circle Awards, winning 5 including ‘Best Broadway Musical'. “HAIRSPRAY” also won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for ‘Best Musical' and the Drama League Award for ‘Outstanding Musical Production'.  The show has also played two hugely successful US tours as well as seasons in Toronto and Las Vegas.  

“HAIRSPRAY” has a book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan , music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman . The musical is based on the New Line Cinema film, written and directed by John Waters . The musical is directed by Jack O'Brien and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell . The scenic design is by David Rockwell , the costumes by William Ivey Long , the lighting by Kenneth Posner and the sound by Steve C. Kennedy . With orchestrations by Harold Wheeler and arrangements by Marc Shaiman , the musical direction is by Lon Hoyt . The West End production of “HAIRSPRAY” is staged by the entire original Broadway creative team. 

Performances times at the Shaftesbury Theatre are Mondays to Saturdays at 7.30pm, with Thursday and Saturday matinees at 3.00pm. Tickets, priced from £22.50 - £62.50, are available from the Shaftesbury Theatre Box Office on 0207 379 5399 or by visiting .


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