Hairspray the Musical

London Coliseum
St Martin's Lane, Trafalgar Square, London

Public Previews: 23 April 2020
Opens: 29 April 2020
Closes: 19 July 2020

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Nearest Tube: Leicester Square and Charing Cross

London Coliseum street map

Show times
Monday no shows
Tuesday at 7.30pm
Wednesday at 7.30pm
Thursday at 3.00pm and 7.30pm
Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 3.00pm and 7.30pm
Sunday at 4.00pm

Sun 26 April no show
Mon 27 April at 7.30pm only
Wed 29 April at 7.00pm only

Runs ? hours and ? minutes

Seat prices
? to ?
(plus booking fees if applicable)

Hairspray the Musical

A major revival of the musical Hairspray in London starring Michael Ball

It's 1962 - the '50s are out and change is in the air. Baltimore's Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, has only one passion - to dance. She wins a spot on the local TV dance programme, The Corny Collins Show and, overnight, is transformed from outsider to irrepressible teen celebrity. But can a trendsetter in dance and fashion vanquish the programme's reigning princess, win the heart of heartthrob Link Larkin, and integrate a television show without denting her 'do? Only in Hairspray! Welcome to the '60s!

The cast features Michael Ball as 'Edna Turnblad' - other cast to be announced. Directed by Jack O'Brien with choreography by Jerry Mitchell.

Hairspray is based upon the film of the same name, written and directed by John Waters, with a book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, music by Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Hairspray features an original score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman whose songs take Tracy Turnblad from the soundstage of a 60s-style dance show to the streets of Baltimore to a downtown rhythm and blues record shop.

Originally staged in London's West End in 2007 starring Michael Ball - the show went on to win the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Musical - now the show returns to London for a strictly limited season, recreated by the original director and choreographer, and once again starring Michael Ball as 'Edna Turnblad'.

Hairspray in London at the Coliseum public previews from 23 April 2020, opens on 29 April 2020, and closes on 19 July 2020

Original London West End Production 2007

Hairspray - Original West End London Production 2007 to 2010

Previewed 11 October 2007, Opened 30 October 2007, Closed 28 March 2010 at the Shaftesbury Theatre

The original cast featured Michael Ball as 'Edna Turnblad', Mel Smith as 'Wilbur Turnblad', Leanne Jones as 'Tracy Turnblad', and Ben James-Ellis as 'Link Larkin', with Tracie Bennett as 'Velma Von Tussle', Rachel Wooding as 'Amber Von Tussle', Paul Manuel as 'Corny Collins', Johnnie Fiori as 'Motormouth Maybelle', Elinor Collett as 'Penny Pingleton', Adrian Hansell as 'Seaweed J Stubbs', Natalie Best as 'Inez', Dermot Canavan as 'Male Authority Figure', Wendy Somerville as 'Female Authority Figure', Gavin Alex as 'Sketch', Fem Belling as 'Shelly', Philip Catchpole as 'IQ', Lewis Davies as 'Gilbert', Kate Gillespie as 'Pearl' (Dynamite), Nicky Griffiths as 'Lou-Ann', Holly James as 'Peacher' (Dynamite), Jenii Hicks as 'Brenda', Sandra Marvin as 'Lorraine', Michael Peters as 'Thad', Terel Nugent as 'Duane', Neil Toon as 'Fender', Michael Vinsen as 'Brad', Zara Warren as 'Tammy', and Yaa as 'Cindy' (Dynamite), along with Helen Dixon, Emma Dodd, Tim Frater, Ewan Gillies, Dominic Shaw and Jacqui Zvimba.

Directed by Jack O'Brien with choreography by Jerry Mitchell, sets by David Rockwell, costumes by William Ivey Long, lighting by Kenneth Posner, and sound by Steve C Kennedy.

The role of 'Edna Turnblad' was played by Michael Ball from 11 October 2007 to 25 July 2009; by Brian Conley from 27 July 2009 to 24 October 2009; by Phill Jupitus from 26 October 2009 to 31 January 2010; and finally by Brian Conley from 2 February 2010 to 28 March 2010.

The role of 'Wilbur Turnblad' was played by Mel Smith from 11 October 2007 to 26 January 2008; by Ian Talbot from 28 January 2008 to 31 January 2009; by Nigel Planer from 2 February 2009 to 24 October 2009; by Tony Timberlake from 26 October 2009 to 31 January 2010; and finally by Micky Dolenz from 2 February 2010 to 28 March 2010.

"Hairspray is set in the segregated Sixties in Baltimore, when being fat was a fault but being black was a crime. That means both ten-ton Tracy and skinny, black Inez are turned away from auditions for the title Miss Hairspray 1962. Here's proof that a musical can both have depth and be a send-up of a protest show as light as hairspray. It tackles racial prejudice and fattism with a spring in its step and a goofy tongue in its cheek. The book and lyrics are stuffed with delicious political incorrectness. When Tracy's spectacled, frumpy friend Penny kisses Seaweed Stubbs, she roars: 'Now I've tasted chocolate, I'm never going back.' Seaweed says that, naturally, being black, he has a knife in his pocket; his mom observes that if she gets any more white people in her house, 'it'll be a suburb'. Jack O'Brien's production fizzes with sparkling performances... This is going to be a big, fat award-winning hit. A must-see for every teenage dreamer who believes anything is possible." The Mail on Sunday

"To say that Michael Ball has a difficult task playing Edna is an understatement: he has to perform in what must be a scorchingly hot fat-suit, do not only a reasonably convincing female voice but an American one to boot, and, on top of all that, try to belt out a few big numbers. He ends up looking and sounding very much like one of Little Britain's lay-dees on speed. Although Ball gets to kiss Mel Smith on the lips, there is not much chemistry between them... The show's redeeming feature is its sense of humour. I adored Ben James-Ellis's square-jawed local hero coming out with lines like 'all those girls were all over me... I don't know how Rock Hudson stands it'. Rachel Wooding is on fine vituperative Legally Blonde-form as the school bad-girl Amber... Jauntily directed by Jack O'Brien, with choreography by Jerry Mitchell and instantly forgettable pop songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman." The Sunday Telegraph

"It's preposterous, but preposterously enjoyable. Originally a film by John Waters, it then became a musical... which mercifully retains much of Waters's distinctive sensibility... Leanne Jones, as Tracy, dances her bobby socks off, and sings with a voice of outstanding warmth amid a lot of painful though comical shrillness; and Ben James-Ellis makes a very likeable Link... Tracie Bennett makes a lavishly grotesque Velma Von Tussle, bravely sporting make-up to look like a hard-faced old bag, teetering around on canary-yellow stilettos, spewing fake winsomeness and real bile. But at the heart of this essentially teenage trash comedy, it is a number by Tracy's parents that steals the show. Mel Smith, his features more and more, er, tired with every passing year, is an appealingly kindly dad, Wilbur Turnblad, while Michael Ball is clearly having a ball as Tracy's mountainous mother, Edna. Their duet, You're Timeless to Me, a hymn to enduring lust far into saggy, baggy middle-age, got the night's loudest applause." The Sunday Times

The hit Broadway production of Hairspray the Musical opened at The Neil Simon Theatre in August 2002 where it continued to play up to January 2009. The show won eight Tony Awards including for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score Best Direction of a Musical for Jack O'Brien and Best Costume Design for William Ivey Long along with Best Actor in a Musical for for Harvey Fierstein, Best Actress in a Musical for Marissa Jaret Winokur and Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Dick Latessa. In addition it won the Drama Desk Award for 'Outstanding New Musical', the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical, the Outer Critics' Circle Award for Outstanding Broadway Musical, the Drama League Award for Distinguished Production of a Musical and the Grammy Award for 'Best Musical Show Album'.

Hairspray the Musical in London at the Shaftesbury Theatre previewed from 11 October 2007, opened on 30 October 2007, and closed on 28 March 2010.