On a night of jubilation for English football fans, there was ample cause for celebration in the West End, too. Theatre came roaring back with a bright and big-hearted musical, ecstatically received by the London Coliseum audience. As star Michael Ball pointed out in a post-show speech, we’re not there yet: that audience was 1,000 instead of 3,000, with social distancing and capacity caps still in place. It was a smaller band, too, looking lonely in the cavernous pit. All of... Read more
"Hairspray is a great big hug of a show. With its catchy ‘60s songs and explosive dancing, it’s a joyful welcome back to musical theatre audiences." (LondonTheatre.co.uk)
Ball starred in this record-setting production of Hairspray in the West End in 2010. Opening at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 11th October 2007, Ball played Edna Turnblad alongside a cast that included Tracie Bennett, Ben James-Ellis, Rachael Wooding, Leanne Jones. Hairspray received 11 Olivier Award nominations, which was a record for the time, and won awards for best musical, as well as best actor and actress in a musical (for Ball and Jones).
Hairspray follows the story of Tracy Turnblad, an aspiring dancer who wins a part on a local TV show, The Corny Collins Show, and becomes an overnight sensation. The musical has somewhat of a tradition of casting newcomers in the lead role, such as in the case of Jones in London, but also in the film versions of the story - Ricki Lake made her film debut in the original 1988 movie.
Although the Hairspray musical is not directly based on a true story, dance shows were common. In 1957, The Buddy Deane Show premiered in Baltimore, with white teenagers freely dancing to music and recreating dance moves. Segregation in the filming of the Buddy Deane Show was rife, with monthly nights allowing black church groups the opportunity to dance on air. In 1963, Baltimore teenagers staged an attack to integrate the races together.
The musical, with music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman, features well-known songs such as "Good Morning Baltimore", "Big, Blonde and Beautiful", "I Can Hear the Bells" and "You Can't Stop the Beat".
Hairspray is now at the London Coliseum from 22 June 2021.
Michael Ball will NOT perform on Tuesday 17th August, Tuesday 14th September 2021
Important COVID Entry Requirements
We recommend that you wear a mask while inside this venue.
This venue has additional Covid-19 safety measures in place to ensure the health and well-being of the staff, performers, and guests.
Hairspray in London
Following its world premiere on Broadway in 2002, Hairspray made its transfer over the Atlantic to the West End in 2007 when it opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Starring Michael Ball as Edna Turnblad, the production - directed by Jack O'Brien - also starred Mel Smith, Tracie Bennett and newcomer to the stage, Leanne Jones in the role of Tracy. Hairspray was nominated for eleven Olivier Awards, which set a record at the time, and won the award for best musical, plus best actor and actress in a musical for Michael Ball and Leanne Jones. The show ran for over 1,000 performances during which time cast changes included Brian Conley, Phil Jupitus and Sharon D Clarke, before it closed on 28th March 2010.
Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman's score contains some of musical theatre's most uplifting tracks, none less than the opening number "Good Morning, Baltimore" and the show's closer "You Can't Stop The Beat". Other numbers include "I Can Hear the Bells", "(The Legend of) Miss Baltimore Crabs" and "I Know Where I've Been".