New Cast and Performance Schedule for Hairspray

HAIRSRAY at The Shaftesbury Theatre has been extended until 24 Oct 2010  and the current performance schedule will change in November – There will be Sunday Matinees at 3pm from the 8th Nov 2009  (and no Monday evening performances from the 2nd Nov 2009).
 
Currently Starring Brian Conley

The new cast will start on the 26th October 2009 Phill Jupitus as “Edna Turnblad” and Belinda Carlisle as “Velma Von Tussle”.
 

‘The new cast has invigorated the show and made it one of the top “must see” musicals in London . Fun and funny the strong storyline and brilliant characters are brought to like by an energised and talented cast. It’s a riot!’ JAMES MAX , LBC 97.3

Brian Conley’s Edna generated the loudest laughs I’ve heard in any theatre for years! PAUL PHEAR, MAGIC 105.4

The best show on the West End stage LBC 97.3

Book Tickets for Hairspray at Shaftesbury Theatre

Hairspray Review: A Toe-tapping Night at the Shaftesbury!

The Shaftesbury Theatre is currently home to Hairspray. It is the perfect spot for a perfect show! The classic, Roman decor is beautiful, the seats very comfortable and the theatre laid out well. The Stalls area was easy to move around in and the number of aisles was perfect to help people get to their seats. There were crystal chandeliers, angels, Roman figures, lions, cherubs… all of great detail. There was even beautiful scenic wall paintings above the box seats. Speaking of boxes, there are 8 boxes that seem to have a good view as they protrude out instead of being flush with the wall. People sitting there seemed to be sitting comfortably and enjoying themselves. The lights and speakers were placed strategically so that they didn’t really stand out or take away from the beauty of the theatre. I would comment that the bars need an extra person or two at intermission. The line-ups were atrocious and after waiting for almost the whole intermission, I got to the counter to be told they didn’t have any bottled water and I had to go to another bar. Other than that… staff seemed friendly / polite, the theatre seemed clean / well-maintained.

I’m afraid I have a new favorite! Sorry Mamma Mia (which has moved to a very close second now). The ‘Welcome’ greeting at the beginning of the shows always help set the mood, it seems. Reminding people that it was Baltimore 1962 before the time of mobiles and hoping we could return to that time, i.e.: turn your mobile off. I enjoyed the movie so figured I would enjoy the theatre version, however, I wasn’t prepared for enjoying it more than the movie or enjoying it more than other favorite theatre shows.

Right from the first note, it was just energy, laughter, and toe-tapping songs. From the first song, ‘Good morning Baltimore’… it just didn’t stop. I couldn’t stop moving involuntarily… either tapping my toes, bobbing my head or dancing in my seat. The audience, myself included seemed so into the show. You felt like you were in the audience of ‘The Corny Collins Show’ or engrossed in the lives of some real people. I loved being part of their lives, so to speak. The family bond of the Turnblads was something so nice to see in an age where family sometimes appears to take a back seat. Adam Price was ‘priceless’ as Wilbur Turnblad. Brian Conley was unbelievably believable as Edna Turnblad. It’s sometimes weird watching a man play a woman’s role but it really wouldn’t be the same otherwise in this instant. Welcome to the show, Brian! Good job! I adored Chloe Hart, who as Tracy Turnblad wanted to make you want to abolish segregation and to follow your dreams. She has a great voice and can really hit those notes. You couldn’t help but root for her… wanting her to obtain her dreams including getting the love of her life, Link Larkin played by Liam Tamne. Speaking of hitting those notes, Link did a pretty good job himself! The dancing of all the cast was excellent but most noticeable was that of Seaweed played by Adrian Hansel. He really had the moves! Motormouth Maybelle (Sandra Marvin) is a great singer and stand-out personality.

It’s not just a fun, happy, energetic show… it has meaning, too. It was a reminder that everyone isn’t equal… that people who look different are treated different… maybe not as much as in 1962 but still so. In particular… ‘big, blond and beautiful’ women and people who are not white get the shaft but that changes with the determination of one young lady and the encouragement of Edna, Wilbur, Motormouth, Link, Seaweed, and best friend Penny Pingleton (played by Verity Rushworth)! Go, Tracy! There were scenes when you could feel the oppression and sympathize and also cheer when ‘colored’ people decided to rise above the oppression and take their rightful place in society even with a start like integrating on a TV show.

Of course, Hairspray, isn’t just the title of the show… it does involve Hairspray and boy, they must go through tons of it. I read that 175 hand-made wigs are used in this production and cast go through 80 cans of hairspray a week.

I enjoyed the ‘I can hear the bells’ song, almost got caught up and clapped with the kids at the Patterson Park High School Sophomore Spring Hair Hop, and couldn’t help but laugh when Edna’s voice got really DEEP like when she says, ‘Excuse Me’ when talking to snooty Velma Von Tussle played by Liz Robertson.

The whole show was absolutely fantastic… no question about it. There is not one part that was ‘so-so’ or where you might be bored. One scene in particular though just had me laughing so hard… it was the ‘You’re Timeless to Me’ scene with Edna and Wilbur Turnblad. I didn’t notice until after I got home but my eyeliner had extended outward with nice black streaks as the tears filled my eyes from laughter and I tried to wipe the tears away. It was also touching… a love song between a husband and wife who obviously loved each other no matter what the other looked like or acted like. They were perfect as they are which is how spouses should feel about their other half. Even Brian and Adam had a hard time with the scene as the crowd roared with laughter and cheered with wild abandonment. The cast must have such a fun time with this show.

‘You can’t stop the beat!’ It will live on. I was so impressed with the energetic and brilliant performances of the cast. This is a show I would go see again. It leaves you wanting more. The audience didn’t want to leave at the end and waited for the performers to come out again. Bravo, Hairspray, bravo! If you want a ‘feel good’ time… go see Hairspray today!

by Ann Kamran (stagetalk.co.uk)

[Rating:5.0/5]

Book Tickets for Hairspray the Musical at Shaftesbury Theatre!

HAIRSPRAY – New Sunday Matinee Performances Announced!

It has been announced that Hairspray, London’s happiest, funniest and sunniest show, will be playing 3pm performances on Sundays from 8 November 2009, and is now booking until 24 October 2010!

Set in 1960’s Baltimore, the show is based on John Waters’ 1988 movie of the same name. With a book by Marc O’Donnell, the story follows the fortunes of “pleasantly plump” Baltimore teenager Tracy Turnblad, who yearns to perform in the Corny Collins Dance Show.

Transformed overnight from outsider to teen celebrity, Tracy’s next mission is to vanquish the program’s reigning princess, win the heart of heartthrob Link Larkin, and integrate a television show.

The Broadway hit, directed by Jack O’Brien and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, premiered at New York’s Neil Simon Theatre in 2002.

Book Tickets for Hairspray

Brian Conley will be New Edna in Hairspray!

The current star of Hairspray, Michael Ball will leave the hit musical on the 25th July and his role of Edna Turnblad (Tracy’s mother) will be taken by Brian Conley from the 27th July 2009.

PLEASE NOTE: Michael Ball will be on holiday from the 4th May to the 11th May returning on the 12th May.

Although known mostly as a comedian and TV star, Brian Conley had major successes starring in the musicals “Jolson” at The Victoria Palace and “The Music Man” at Chichester, and although he didnt step straight into Michael Ball’s shoes in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” he did take the same role of Caractacus Potts when it was at The Palladium taking over from Jason Donovan in March 2005. The role of Edna is more of a comedy role so it will definately suit Brian Conley, although, like Michael Ball, he does have a good singing voice.

The American production of Hairspray won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, seven Drama Desk awards, five Critics’ Circle Awards and a Grammy for the original cast recording. The UK production of Hairspray opened in October 2007 and went on to win four 2008 Laurence Olivier Awards: Best Actor in a Musical, Best Actress in a Musical, Best Supporting Performance in a Musical and Best New Musical.

Hairspray is currently booking until 27th March 2010.

Book Tickets for Hairspray!

Michael Ball Extends Until April 2009!

Michael Ball stars as Edna Turnblad, Tracy’s larger than life mother. He has recently announced that he will continue to play the role that won him the title of BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL at this year’s Olivier Awards and What’s on Stage Theatregoers Choice Awards, until April 2009.