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
Are you missing theatre as much as we are? Support us now with Theatre Tokens and see your favourite shows when they reopen. #IMissTheatre

Talbot takes on Wilbur in Hairspray

First Published 17 April 2008, Last Updated 17 April 2008

Ian Talbot, who last year stepped down as Artistic Director of the Open Air theatre after 20 years, is to play Wilbur Turnblad in Hairspray from 28 January, when current Wilbur, Mel Smith, leaves the show.

Talbot, who joined the Open Air as an actor in 1971 before becoming Artistic Director, has directed over 20 productions at the leafy venue in Regent’s Park. His many successful shows include The Pirates Of Penzance in 2000, for which he received a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for Best Director, the musical High Society, which transferred to the West End following its premiere at the Open Air in 2003, The Boy Friend in 2006, which he both directed and starred in, and last year’s Lady Be Good!

As an actor Talbot has performed in the West End and with the RSC, and has television credits including Midsomer Murders, The Bill, Poirot, As Time Goes By, Heartbeat and Doctor Who. He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List this year.

In Hairspray, which opened at the Shaftesbury on 30 October 2007, Talbot joins a cast which includes Leanne Jones as Tracy Turnblad, Michael Ball as Edna Turnblad and Ben James-Ellis as Link Larkin.

As joke-shop owner Wilbur, Talbot plays the husband of Edna and father of Tracy, the big-hearted, big-haired girl who just wants to dance. Set in 1960s Baltimore, the musical follows Tracy as she auditions for the local television dance show, the Corny Collins Show. But when she encounters racist and sizeist attitudes, Tracy’s desire to dance becomes a mission to change the world, or, at least, Baltimore, and win the heart of Link Larkin the process. em>CB


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.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.