The UK Tour of Hairspray is coming to Ipswich’s Regent Theatre this November (23rd – 28th November 2015). This big, bold and beautiful musical comedy began its UK tour at Leicester’s Curve theatre on 9 September 2015 and will tour over 25 venues across the UK in 2015/16. If you haven’t seen the show before it’s set in Baltimore 1962, where Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, is on a mission to follow her dreams and dance her way onto national TV. Tracy’s audition makes her a local star and soon she is using her new-found fame to fight for equality, bagging local heartthrob Link Larkin along the way.
Hairspray is a musical based on the 1988 film of the same name which starred Divine and Ricki Lake by cult filmmaker John Waters. With music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, Hairspray originally opened to rave reviews on Broadway in 2002 and subsequently won eight Tony Awards. The production opened in London at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 2007 and won four Laurence Olivier Awards including Best New Musical. Proving to be an international success, Hairspray has also opened in South Africa, Japan, South Korea, China and Dubai. Following the musical’s phenomenal success on stage, a film of the musical was released in 2007 which starred John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer and James Marsden.
Tony Maudsley (ITV1’s Benidorm) will play Edna Turnblad in the major 40-week UK tour of Hairspray which will open at Curve theatre in Leicester this autumn. He will be joined by TV and stage actress and presenter Claire Sweeney (Educating Rita, Guys and Dolls) as Velma Von Tussle, Olivier Award nominated actor and much-loved Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan (BBC1 Tumble) as Wilbur Turnblad and British singer and West End performer Brenda Edwards (Chicago, We Will Rock You, The X Factor) as Motormouth Maybelle. Freya Sutton will reprise the role of Tracy Turnblad alongside established musical theatre performer Jon Tsouras (A Chorus Line) who will play the role of Corny Collins. Dex Lee (The Scottsboro Boys) will play Seaweed, Ashley Gilmour (Miss Saigon) will play Link Larkin, Lauren Stroud (Wicked) will play Amber, Monique Young (Top Hat) will play Penny, Karis Jack (Urinetown) will play Little Inez, Adam Price (Hairspray) will play Male Authority Figure, Tracey Penn (Made in Dagenham) will play Female Authority Figure and Layton Williams (Bad Education, Billy Elliot) will play Duane. Further casting will be announced in due course.
Well known for his long-running role on ITV1’s Benidorm as Kenneth, Tony Maudsley is an acclaimed actor of both stage and screen. Tony has previously appeared on stage in A Day in Dull Armour (Royal Court Theatre), Dogs Barking (Bush Theatre) and South Pacific (UK Tour). In addition to his hugely popular role in Benidorm, Tony has recently appeared on screen in The Job Lot, New Tricks, Mo and Doc Martin. On top of Tony’s extensive television credits, his film appearances have included roles in Jack Thorne’s The Scouting Book for Boys, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Vanity Fair and Stephen Fry’s Bright Young Things.
Claire Sweeney first came to prominence with her long-running role as Lindsey Corkhill in Brookside. Since leaving the soap in 2003, Claire has gone on to find great acclaim on stage with roles in Chicago, Dirty Dancing, Legally Blonde: The Musical, Educating Rita, Guys and Dolls, Tell Me On A Sunday as well as the world tour of Fosse. Claire has also found great popularity as a television presenter and panellist in shows such as 60 Minute Makeover, Loose Women and more recently as a presenter on Magic FM where she hosts a musical theatre-themed show. In addition to her role on Brookside, Claire’s further television credits include Candy Cabs, Clocking Off and Mersey Beat.
Peter Duncan is an Olivier Award nominated actor who first came to attention as a presenter on the iconic television show Blue Peter. Peter began his career on stage with Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre company at the Old Vic and subsequently went on to be Olivier Award nominated for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in The Card and starred as Barnum in Barnum. In addition to his roles on stage, Peter has also created original pantomimes at Hackney Empire and Broadway Theatre as well as writing and directing Oxford Playhouse’s annual Christmas production. As well as his illustrious career on stage, Peter has had roles on television in Demolition Dad, Doctors and fronted the BBC series Duncan Dares. Peter recently competed in BBC1’s gymnastics competition Tumble alongside Sarah Harding and John Partridge.
Brenda Edwards was first noted for her vocal talent in 2005 when she entered The X Factor. After finishing the competition in fourth place under the tutelage of Sharon Osbourne, Brenda went on to star in long-running musicals such as Chicago (Adelphi & Cambridge Theatres) and We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre & UK Tour) as well as Galt MacDermot’s The Human Comedy (Young Vic) and Carmen Jones (Royal Festival Hall). In addition to her work in musical theatre, Brenda has also headlined a series sold-out shows at Ronnie Scott’s and Pigalle Club, supported Smokey Robinson in concert and performed in Brenda’s Gospel Christmas (Barbican).
Freya Sutton will be reprising her role of Tracy Turnblad after originally starring in the UK and Ireland 2013 tour of Hairspray.
Jon Tsouras is an established musical theatre performer. Jon’s previous stage credits include White Christmas (The Lowry, Salford), A Chorus Line (London Palladium), Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Palace Theatre), Legally Blonde: The Musical (Savoy) and Jesus Christ Superstar (UK Tour).
Dex Lee is a recent graduate from The Arts Educational School. His previous stage credits include The Scottsboro Boys (Young Vic & Garrick Theatre) and In The Heights (Southwark Playhouse). Dex has also performed with Kerry Ellis in Concert (Palladium) and at the prestigious Laurence Olivier Awards as part of the cast of The Scottsboro Boys.
Ashley Gilmour made his West End debut in the recent revival of Cameron Mackintosh’s iconic musical Miss Saigon (Prince Edward Theatre). Ashley’s other credits include Bare: The Rock Musical (Greenwich Theatre) and he has performed on BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night.
Lauren Stroud made her professional debut as young Cosette in Les Miserables in 1999. She has since appeared in many notable musicals such as Annie (UK Tour), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (London Palladium), Grease (UK Tour), 9 to 5 The Musical (UK Tour), High School Musical 2 – Live on Stage (UK Tour), Wicked (Apollo Victoria) and Dance Til Dawn (UK Tour). Lauren has previously appeared in Hairspray on the previous UK tour as Brenda.
Monique Young is a recent graduate from Arts Ed and her recent theatre credits include Top Hat (UK Tour).
Karis Jack made her West End debut in Jamie Lloyd’s Urinetown (Apollo & St James Theatre) where she reprised her role as Little Sally, for which she received a nomination for the What’s On Stage award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. Karis has previously played the role of Little Inez in the international production of Hairspray which toured to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
Adam Price has previously appeared in Hairspray as cover for Edna Turnblad, he performed 150 times at the Shaftesbury Theatre in the role. Adam’s further stage credits include The Merry Widow (UK Tour), Guys and Dolls (Haymarket), Fat Pig The Musical (Haymarket) and Michael Grandage’s Privates on Parade (Noel Coward Theatre).
Tracey Penn has recently performed on stage in Rupert Goold’s production of Made in Dagenham (Adelphi Theatre). Her further stage credits include Legally Blonde: The Musical (UK Tour), Love Never Dies (Adelphi Theatre) and A Night of a Thousand Stars (Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury).
Layton Williams television credits include roles in Bad Education alongside Jack Whitehall, Beautiful People and Postcode. He made his debut stage appearance in Billy Elliot and to date is the second longest running person to play the title role. Layton’s further stage credits include Matthew Bourne’s recent production of Lord of the Flies (Sadler’s Wells & UK Tour).
Hairspray is produced by Mark Goucher and Laurence Myers, Tom O’Connell Productions Ltd., Just for Laughs Theatricals, Gale King Productions, Gary Brown and Curve theatre, Leicester.