Visit London Blog » hairspray Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sheridan Smith Launches Big Dance at London Palladium Thu, 01 Jul 2010 15:45:59 +0000

Big Dance, a London-wide celebration of dance, launched today at the London Palladium.

Legally Blonde star Sheridan Smith and Jerry Mitchell, choreographer of Hairspray and Legally Blonde, took to the stage for a special performance of Hairspray number You Can’t Stop The Beat.

An audience of hundreds of school children joined in with the routine from their seats.

Strictly Come Dancing’s Camilla Dallerup also made an appearance, as did the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who treated us to a Bollywood dance demonstration.

“London is the greatest dance, musical and cultural city on Earth,” said the Mayor. “Get down on it and strut your funky stuff in Big Dance 2010.”

Big Dance runs from 3 to 11 July 2010, with flagship event The Big World Dance on 10 July.

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Thursday Theatre News: Hairspray, Kath and Kim and Shakespeare’s Globe Thu, 28 Jan 2010 18:21:31 +0000 I’ll start with today’s sad news: Hairspray is closing. Just two and a half years into its big-haired run, the award-winning musical will close on 28 March. (And I *still* haven’t seen it! Gutted.)

On a brighter note: if you were a fan of I’d Do Anything on the BBC, I’ve got news about two of the show’s stars: firstly, gorgeous winner Lee Mead is heading over to the dark (green) side, to play Fiyero in the ever-brilliant Wicked from 10 May.

And secondly, it turns out Daniel Boys‘ run as Princeton in Avenue Q at the Gielgud is “only for now”. He’ll be replaced by Paul Spicer in March. London’s naughtiest musical is also moving to a new home as well as getting a new cast: it’ll be shocking you into fits of sniggers at Wyndham’s Theatre from 19 March.

Other exiting cast news comes from Down Under: Jane Turner, who you’ll know from Kath And Kim is coming to the West End in May. Holding The Man opens at the Trafalgar Studios on 4 May (previews from 23 April), and is about being young and gay in 70s Australia.

Finally, bringing a touch of sunshine to my January, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (one of my favouritest things in the whole of London) have announced their 2010 season. There’s nothing like planning ahead to warm summery evenings in the outdoors with great theatre in a wonderful setting to lift a grey sky. And what treats do they have lined up for us? Well, under the header “Kings and Rogues”, there’s lots of royalty! Macbeth, Henry VIII and Henry IV parts 1 and 2, and an exciting sounding new play called Anne Boleyn by Howard Brenton. Plus a revival of the Globe’s acclaimed 2008 production of The Merry Wives of Windsor (which I’m looking forward to as I missed it that year) and another newbie, Bedlam, by Nell Leyshon. (Finally, a female on the list of Globe playwrights!)

I’m off to dream about standing in the fading sunshine with a £5 groundling ticket… Roll on summer!

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Meeting Phill Jupitus, Sharon D Clarke and Belinda Carlisle at Hairspray’s New Cast Party Thu, 15 Oct 2009 15:12:50 +0000 Cupcakes featuring the new Hairspray cast

Phill Jupitus has his face on a cake. And he’s pretty excited about it.

“Being in Hairspray is something that I’d always dreamed of,” he told us last night in Teatro Members Club at a party for the new Hairspray cast. “And now I’ve got a cake with my face on it…

“I’ve always loved music, and always hung out with musicians: the Blockheads, Style Council, the Housemartins. For any performer, doing musical theatre has to be the top of the tree.

“However, dressing as a woman for money was not how I’d thought my career was going.”

There’s a big screen rigged up in Teatro, showing the final number of Hairspray The Musical, “You Can’t Stop The Beat“, one which Phill and his new co-stars Belinda Carlisle and Sharon D Clarke have worked on first, getting it up to performance standard.

Phill Jupitus

Every so often, Phill’s face appears, full-screen, as big as a wall, barely recognisable, red lips sparkling. It distracts us both. “Yes, there I am. And do you know, I look so much like my mother…”  Phill blinks and blinks behind his thick-rimmed glasses to emphasise this last point. It’s obviously a revelation for him too.

We wonder how his performance as Edna is going to be different to those of his predecessors, the award-winning and much-loved Michael Ball and, playing currently, Brian Conley.

“Oh, I saw them both. Huge fans of them both. They were quite different. Brian is a great personality. Michael has this voice… I sang with him once on The Big Breakfast. Lovely bloke.”

And…? “And… I’ll be different to them both.” He grins – nervously? “Different. You’ll have to come and see it.

“Hairspray is such a feel-good show. And now, I’d like you to think of it as a Phill good show,” he quips.

Sharon D Clarke is just as excited as Phill. For her, Hairspray represents a really great opportunity. “There aren’t many shows featuring three big women. There aren’t any…! And Motormouth is the perfect role for me. I love how she’s the catalyst. The whole show is really feel-good, but it has this underlying truth. Tracy really learns about people in the play; she realises how people can come together for good. I think it’s a great show.”

We had less time to talk to Belinda Carlisle, who’s playing Velma von Tussle. She told us she’d auditioned for Hairspray while it was on Broadway, but the show had closed soon after due to the economic situation, and she’d been waiting for it to come to London to get another spray of that Hairspray can!

We asked Sharon and Phill what other West End shows they’d consider taking part in. Sharon’s choice actually comes from Broadway: The Colour Purple. “It’s a fantastic show. The music, its Quincey Jones, Brenda Russell, Stephen Bray, is phenomenal. And I’d like to play Sophie.” Any West End producers listening out there?!

Phill’s answer is closer to home: “I’d be in Avenue Q. I met the puppet master recently and played around with the characters… Oh, yes, I’ve had my hand up Princeton’s bum…”

What do you think of the new Hairspray casting? Let us know in the comments below!

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Phill Jupitus, Belinda Carlisle and Sharon D Clarke Ready to Gel in Hairspray Wed, 02 Sep 2009 16:55:18 +0000 Phill Jupitus is Edna Turnblad. Photos by Hugo GlendinningAll change in the dressing rooms at the Shaftesbury Theatre as Hairspray announces an exciting new cast.

From 26 October, comedian Phill Jupitus, 80s popstrel Belinda Carlisle, and West End regular and Holby City star Sharon D Clarke take on the top characters in the hit West End show.

Jupitus replaces Brian Conley as the flowery, flouncy, larger-than-life leading lady Edna Turnblad. It’ll certainly be a change from his usual stints as a broadcaster and panel-show regular, but we can’t wait to see the full transformation!

While it’s Jupitus’s first time in a musical, this isn’t his West End debut: he appeared in Lifecoach at the Trafalgar Studios last year.

This will be the first time in the West End for Belinda Carlisle. If you don’t remember her from The Go-Gos, or as a solo artist (Oooh, heaven is a place on earth should ring a few bells!), you might have seen her more recently in Hell’s Kitchen and Dancing With The Stars. Belinda will take on the role of the evil Velma Von Tussle, glamorous white supremacist and controller of the local TV station.

Sharon D Clarke is one of our favourite musical stars: she’s appeared in Chicago, We Will Rock You, The Lion King and in panto at the Hackney Empire. However, she’s probably best known as Dr Lola Griffin in BBC hospital drama Holby City. Sharon has a wonderful voice and a great stage presence; she’s sure to be a hit as Motormouth Maybelle, celebrity DJ and owner of Baltimore’s biggest set of lungs!

The 26 October also sees other changes in the cast:

Chloe Hart, Verity Rushworth, Liam Tamne, Adrian Hansel and Raquel Jones all continue in the show.

Book your tickets now for what’s sure to be another fantastic casting success for Hairspray, one of the West End’s best-loved shows.

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