Casting Confirmed for U.K. Tour of Hairspray ;

Olivier Winner Michael Ball Returns

~ by Mark Shenton - 08/02/10 ~

Michael Ball, who won the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical for creating the role of Edna Turnblad in the original West End production of Hairspray, will return to the role to launch the national touring production, beginning performances at the Wales Minnennium Centre in Cardiff March 30. Official opening will be April 7.

Ball will then alternate in the role with Brian Conley, currently playing the role in the West End, and TV drama star Michael Starke.

They will be joined by Les Dennis as Edna's husband Wilbur Turnblad, Laurie Scarth as Tracy Turnblad, Danny Bayne as Corny Collins and Liam Doyle as Link Larkin. Also in the cast are Sandra Marvin as Motormouth Maybelle, Gillian Kirkpatrick as Velma Von Tussle and Wayne Robinson as Seaweed, Emma Dukes as Penny Pingleton, Clare Hulse as Amber Von Tussle and Seliza Sebastian as Little Inez.

Ball, whose other West End credits include starring in the original London productions of Les Miserables (in which he originated the role of Marius), Aspects of Love, Passion, The Woman in White and Chitty Chitty Bnag Bang, has also appeared on Broadway in Aspects of Love and in New York City Opera's production of Patience.

According to the producers, the tour also marks the first stage of a closer working relationship between the star and producers, Stage Entertainment. This will involve developing new work and roles both onstage and in a production capacity for Ball in the future. Plans include a major musical revival in 2011.

Ball is scheduled to appear in Hairspray at Cardiff's Wales Millennium Centre (March 30-April 24), Glasgow's Clyde Auditorium (April 28-May 8), Southampton's Mayflower (May 11-29), Manchester's Opera House (July 13-31) and Edinburgh's Playhouse (Dec. 14-Jan. 9, 2011).

Conley is best known for his ITV series "The Brian Conley Show", and starring roles in the TV comedies "The Grimleys" and "Time After Time." His stage credits include West End runs in Me and My Girl, Jolson and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, as well as The Music Man at Chichester's Festival Theatre. Conley is scheduled to appear in the show at Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre (June 22-July 3), Plymouth's Theatre Royal (Aug. 3-14), Milton Keynes Theatre (Sept. 20-Oct. 9), Oxford's New Theatre (Oct. 12-23) and Birmingham's Hippodrome (Oct. 25-Nov. 6).

Starke is best known for playing the role of Thomas "Sinbad" Sweeney in the TV soap opera "Brookside," which he played for 16 years. He was also a series regular playing Kenneth Hopkirk in Sunday night ITV1 drama "The Royal," and played Jerry Morton in ITV's "Coronation Street." Previous stage credits include The Play What I Wrote, Anything Goes, The Rocky Horror Show, Hamlet and numerous pantomime appearances. Starke is scheduled to appear in the show at Liverpool's Empire Theatre (Aug. 17-Sept. 4), Sunderland's Empire (Sept. 7-18), Dulbin's Grand Canal Theatre (Nov. 15-27) and Bradford's Alhambra (Nov. 30 to Dec. 11).

Dennis is best known as the host of TV's "Family Fortunes," as well as guest appearances in "New Street Law," "The Bill," "Holby City" and "Extras." He has starred onstage in the West End in Me and My Girl, Chicago, Eurobeat and the tour of High School Musical 2 Live on Stage.

Bayne has previously appeared in the West End in Grease as Danny Zucko, having won ITV's "Grease is the Word" reality TV contest to play the role. Doyle starred in High School Musical 2 after winning GMTV's "Search for Troy" reality TV contest to play the role.

Further touring dates are to be announced. For full details and box office information for individual venues, visit

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