facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11

Planer joins Hairspray

Published 19 January 2009

West End and television actor Nigel Planer and Emmerdale actress Verity Rushworth are to join the cast of hit musical Hairspray on 2 February, as current stars Michael Ball, Leanne Jones and Ben James-Ellis extend their contracts.

Planer will replace Ian Talbot in the role of Wilbur Turnblad, husband of Michael Ball’s Edna and father of big-haired teenager Tracy. The actor is probably best known for his television work, finding fame as Neil in comedy series The Young Ones in the 1980s. He went on to appear in The Comic Strip Presents…, Shine On, Harvey Moon, The Grimleys, Blackeyes and numerous other television dramas. However, Planer has also carved out a career in musicals, with credits including the original London casts of Chicago and We Will Rock You, The Rocky Horror Show and, most recently, Wicked at the Apollo Victoria.  

Rushworth is a long-term member of the cast of ITV’s Emmerdale, joining the rural soap when she was 12 years old to play Donna. She leaves the programme at the end of January to join Hairspray in the role of Penny Pingleton, Tracy’s best friend. She replaces original cast member Elinor Collett, who was Laurence Olivier Award-nominated for her performance in the show.

Hairspray opened at the Shaftesbury theatre in October 2007, receiving both critical and popular acclaim and scooping four Laurence Olivier Awards including Best New Musical and Best Actress and Actor in a Musical for Jones and Ball.

Based on the John Waters film, Hairspray is set in 1960s Baltimore and tells the story of big-haired, dance-crazy teen Tracy, who yearns for a spot on the local television dance show, only to be scorned by the show’s prejudiced station manager and her daughter. Much to their dismay, Tracy’s dance moves make her an overnight sensation and the irrepressible teen sets out to win the annual Miss Hairspray competition and bring integration to Baltimore in the process.

Hairspray is now booking until October 2009, with Ball, Jones and James-Ellis (Link Larkin) confirmed in their roles until 25 July.



Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.