Michael Ball Opens Hairspray Tour & New Stage

~ 10/08/09 ~

Multi award-winning Broadway musical Hairspray will launch its first-ever UK tour in the new year, with Michael Ball reprising his cross-dressing role as larger-than-life Edna Turnblad, for which he won both the and Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Actor in a Musical.

The tour - which runs concurrently with the ongoing West End production, which Ball finished in last month – opens at the Cardiff Millennium Centre, where it runs from 30 March to 24 April 2010, before continuing through to 4 September to Glasgow, Southampton, Wolverhampton, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool, with further dates to be announced.

Ball will appear in Glasgow, Southampton and Manchester as well as Cardiff. Further star casting for Edna and other principal parts has yet to be announced. The return to Hairspray also herald a new, closer working relationship between Michael Ball and the show's UK production company, Stage Entertainment.

Ball has been appointed as associate producer and will work with Stage in developing new work and roles, including ones specifically tailored to the actor. These will include a major musical revival in 2011.

Commenting on today's announcement, Ball said: “I knew when I originally took on the part of Edna that she was going to be a big part of my life, in every way, but I never realised just how big. Hairspray is truly one of the greatest experiences of my career and the chance to have just a few more nights in those frocks was an opportunity I couldn't miss! With so much on I'm unable to do all dates, but I promise that we'll have some brilliant performers lined up for our UK tour. Moving forward, to now be working as an associate producer with Stage Entertainment developing new shows, new roles and new opportunities in the future is an honour, and something I can't wait to get stuck in to.”

Hairspray premiered in August 2002 on Broadway, going on to win eight 2003 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Based on John Waters' cult retro 1988 film and set in 1960s Baltimore, it tells the story of geeky overweight teen Tracy Turnblad, who finds celebrity on a TV dance programme. Can she get the guy and still have time to change the world?

The musical has a book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, with music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Whitman and Shaiman. It's directed by Jack O'Brien and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell.

In the UK, Hairspray had its West End premiere on 30 October 2007 (previews from 11 October) and won the sweep of Best Musical prizes at the 2007/8 year's Evening Standard, Critics' Circle, and Olivier Awards, in addition to Ball's and other accolades. Ball's many other musical credits have includes Aspects of Love, Passion, The Woman in White and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang .

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