Paul Merton – one of the UK’s greatest comedians and star of the BBC’s renowned programme Have I Got News For You – is to join the new production of Hairspray the Musical.
Merton, who will be making his West End musical debut as Wilbur Turnblad, will star alongside Michael Ball, who returns to his legendary, Olivier Award winning role of Edna Turnblad, as the huge hearted, multi-award-winning smash hit musical plays at the magnificent London Coliseum for 18 weeks only, beginning performances on Thursday 23 April 2020 (Press Night: Wednesday 29 April 2020 at 7:00pm).
Lizzie Bea will star in the iconic role of Tracy Turnblad. Lizzie recently performed in the UK Tour of Kinky Boots and has just returned from Atlanta, performing in the world premiere production of Becoming Nancy (Alliance Theatre).
Acclaimed West End star Marisha Wallace will take the role of Motormouth. Marisha won rave reviews when she took over from Amber Riley in the smash hit Dreamgirls (Savoy Theatre), and also starred in the original West End cast of Waitress (Adelphi Theatre).
Rita Simons (Eastenders’ Roxy Mitchell) and Jonny Amies (Granchester on ITV; Sex Education on Netflix/Eleven Film) will also join the cast as Velma Von Tussle and Link Larkin respectively.
Paul Merton is a founder member of The Comedy Store Players, and still appears at the Comedy Store in London most Sundays. He is a resident guest on BBC Radio 4’s Just A Minute and is an established face on TV shows such as the hugely popular Have I Got News For You, Room 101, Paul Merton Looks at Alfred Hitchcock (BBC4/2), Paul Merton’s Birth of Hollywood (BBC 2) and his travel series for Channel Five, Paul Merton’s Adventures which covered his travels in India, China and Europe. His Autobiography, Only When I Laugh reached the Sunday Times bestseller Top 10. Paul’s Anthology of funny stories, Funny Ha Ha was named Sunday Times Humour Book of the year in 2019. His first Channel 4 series, Paul Merton The Series, is due to be released on DVD this Spring.
The full company includes Georgia Anderson, Kimani Arthur, Dermot Canavan, Lori Haley Fox, Mari McGinlay, Ashley Samuels, Michael Vinsen and Imogen Bailey, Pearce Barron, Jordan Benjamin, Nicholas Collier, Joel Cooper, Luke George, Christopher Gopaul, Winny Herbert, Chris Howell, Lily Laight, Hannah Grace Lawson, Madeleine Lawton, Holly Liburd, Will Luckett, Mireia Mambo, Kody Mortimer, Robyn Rose, Tinovimbanashe Sibanda, Kibong Tanji, Amy West and Natalie Woods.
Baltimore, 1962. Tracy Turnblad is a big girl with big hair and big dreams. Can she make it on the local TV dance show, win the heart of teen heartthrob Link Larkin and bring everyone together – whatever their colour, size or hairdo? Well if you want a change, you’ve really got to shake things up!
With the original award-winning creative team of director Jack O’Brien and choreographer Jerry Mitchell, and featuring the infectiously feel-good songs “Good Morning, Baltimore”, “Big, Blonde and Beautiful” and “You Can’t Stop the Beat”, this inspirational, fun-loving and fabulously uplifting musical sensation is back and bigger than ever.
The original New York production of Hairspray won three Tony Awards, including Best New Musical, whilst the original West End production won four Olivier Awards, also including Best New Musical, as well giving Michael Ball one of his two Olivier Awards for Best Actor in a Musical.