Paul Merton joins West End revival of Hairspray as full casting is announced

Comedian Paul Merton is to make his musical theatre debut in the upcoming West End revival of HAIRSPRAY, opening this Summer at the London Coliseum.

Merton, perhaps best known as a panellist on BBC’s Have I Got News For You and as the former host of Room 101. makes his stage debut as Wilbur Turnblad, starring opposite the previously announced Michael Ball who reprises his role as Edna Turnblad. Ball returns to the character after playing the role in the original West End production in 2007, for which he received the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

Also joining the principal cast are Rita Simmons as Velma Von Tussle, Jonny Aimes as Link Larkin, Georgia Anderson as Velma Von Tussell, Kimani Arthur as Little Inez, Dermot Canavan as Male Authority Figure, Lori Haley Fox as Female Authority Figure, Mari McGinlay as Penny Pingleton, Ashley Samuels as Seaweed J Stubbs and Michael Vinsen as Corny Collins. The principal cast is rounded out by the previously announced Lizzie Bea as Tracy Turnblad and Marisha Wallace as Motormouth Maybelle.

Appearing in the ensemble will be Imogen Bailey, Pearce Barron, Jordan Benjamin, Nicholas Collier, Joel Cooper, Luke George, Christoper Gopaul, Lily Laight, Hannah Grace Lawson, Madeleine Lawton, Holly Liburd, Mireia Mambo, Kody Mortimer, Robyn Rose and Kibong Tanji, Rounding out the full company will be Chris Howell, Natalie Woods, Winny Herbert, Will Luckett, Tinovimbanashe Sibanda and Amy West.

Based on the 1988 film of the same name, HAIRSPRAY takes place in Baltimore, 1962. It follows teenager Tracy Turnblad, who dreams of becoming a dancer on The Corny Collins Show. The musical premiered on Broadway in 2002 where it went on to win 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical. HAIRSPRAY transferred to the West End in 2007, where it was nominated for a record-breaking 11 Olivier Awards, winning 4 including Best New Musical. The musical has since been performed globally and has been adapted for the screen. A film version of the musical starring John Travolta was released in 2007, whilst NBC performed the musical live on TV in 2016. The new London production reunites the original Broadway creative team.

HAIRSPRAY features music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman, and a script by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan. The Coliseum production is directed by Jack O’Brien and features choreography by Jerry Mitchell. Set design is by David Rockwell, costume design is by William Ivey Long, lighting design is by Kenneth Posner, sound design is by Steve C Kennedy, and casting is by Jill Green CDG.

HAIRSPRAY opens at the London Coliseum from 23rd April and plays a limited season to 29th August 2020. Tickets are on sale now.

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