Local actor Michael Starke who replaced Phill Jupitus as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray is all set for the Liverpool Empire Theatre when the show visits the region next month. Currently in Manchester starring Michael Ball, the Liverpool run is set to be a different show with Starke in the lead, although he is no stranger to musicals, having starred in Anything Goes, among others.  

Jupitus had been lined up to appear in the city as part of the UK tour (See News, 18 Jan 2010). However, Starke will take on the role of the larger than life heroine for its run at the Empire as due to scheduling difficulties Jupitus is no longer able to play this date.

Starke said recently : “I'm over the moon to be joining the Hairspray tour. What more could you ask than to be on stage each night, in your home town, in a dress, with Les Dennis? I've seen the show in London and love it, and now I can't wait to be part of it at the Empire.”

Les Dennis is playing Wilbur Turnblad in the touring production. Starke is best known for his role as Thomas ‘Sinbad’ Sweeney in Channel 4 soap Brookside, which he played for 16 years. He was also a series regular playing Kenneth Hopkirk in Sunday night ITV1 drama The Royal.

Starke's previous stage credits include The Play What I Wrote, Anything Goes, The Rocky Horror Show, Hamlet, and Our Day Out – The Musical.

Hairspray visits the Liverpool Empire on Tuesday 17 August until Saturday 4 September.