After success on Broadway where it premiered in 2002, the screen-to-stage musical opened on 30 October 2007 (previews from 11 October) at London’s Shaftesbury Theatre, where it went on to break the 1400-seat theatre’s “curse” for flops, breaking box office records and winning the sweep of Best Musical prizes at the Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle, Whatsonstage.com and Olivier Awards, amongst other accolades.
After numerous extensions, Hairspray had been booking at the Shaftesbury until 24 October 2010. It will now finish after a run of nearly two-and-a-half years.
Based on John Waters' cult retro 1988 film and set in 1960s Baltimore, the musical tells the story of geeky overweight teen Tracy Turnblad, who finds celebrity on a TV dance programme. Can she get the guy and still have time to change the world?
Hairspray - which has a book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, with music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Whitman and Shaiman - premiered in August 2002 on Broadway, going on to win eight 2003 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. As on Broadway, the West End production is directed by Jack O'Brien and choreographed Jerry Mitchell.
The current London cast features Chloe Hart (as Tracy Turnblad), Phill Jupitus (Edna Turnblad), Belinda Carlisle (Velma Von Tussle), Verity Rushworth (Penny), Liam Tamne (Link Larkin), Sharon D Clarke (Motormouth Mabel) and, from 2 February, former Monkee Micky Dolenz (as Wilbur Turnblad).
The touring production launches from Cardiff Millennium Centre on 30 March 2010, with Michael Ball reprising his Whatsonstage.com and Olivier Award-winning role as larger-than-life Edna Turnblad, alternating at different venues with subsequent West End Ednas Brian Conley and Phill Jupitus (See News, 10 Aug 2009). Following Cardiff, the tour continues until 9 January 2011 to Glasgow, Southampton, Wolverhampton, Leeds, Manchester, Plymouth, Liverpool, Sunderland, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Birmingham, Bradford and Edinburgh, with further dates to be announced.
Back at the Shaftesbury, no further productions have yet been announced, although the another screen-to-stage musical, Flashdance, has been rumoured to be the next resident (See The Goss, 25 Jan 2010).