Paul Merton, the popular comedian and star of BBC’s renowned programme Have I Got News For You – is to join the new production of Hairspray the Musical at the London Coliseum, making his West End musical debut as Wilbur Turnblad alongside Michael Ball who returns to his Olivier Award-winning role of Edna Turnblad.
The musical plays at the Coliseum for 18 weeks only, beginning performances on 23 April 2020 (press night is 29 April 2020) and running until 30 August. The creatives are led by the original award-winning team of director Jack O’Brien and choreographer Jerry Mitchell.
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.
Lizzie Bea will star in the iconic role of Tracy Turnblad. She 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).
Marisha Wallace, who plays Motormouth, 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.
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.
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.
Hairspray is produced by Adam Spiegel Productions & Fiery Angel.