Michael Ball has been cast in the gender-swapping role of the year, Edna Turnblad, in the musical >Hairspray, which opens at the on 30 October (previews from 11 October).
Ball, who is about to star in the London Coliseum’s new production of Kismet, will transform into the overbearing, over-sized mother of dance-crazy teen Tracy. A favourite West End leading man and recording artist, Ball has starred in many musicals including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera, Aspects Of Love and The Woman In White, plus Les Misérables, Sondheim’s Passion, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium.
He is joined in the cast by 22-year-old Mountview graduate Leanne Jones, who makes her professional stage debut as Tracy.
A hit on Broadway where it won a 2003 Best Musical Tony Award, Hairspray is based on the 1988 film by John Waters. Set in 1962 Baltimore, it follows the story of big-haired big girl Tracy, who has a big passion for dance. When she enters the local television dance competition she is transformed from outsider to teen celebrity, but can Tracy vanquish the programme’s reigning champion and win the heart of teen heartthrob Link Larkin all without denting her hairdo?
Further casting for Hairspray will be announced shortly. em>CB