Comedy actor Mark Benton is to head the cast of the award-winning musical Hairspray when it makes a welcome return to Aberdeen’s His Majesty’s Theatre next year.
The stage and screen star is to take on the larger-than-life role of Edna Turnblad in the multi-million production which will officially open at Manchester’s Lowry Theatre on in February before touring the UK and Ireland. Further casting will be announced soon.
Hairspray will be staged at HMT from Monday to Saturday, September 16 to 21, 2013, and tickets go on sale to APA Friends on Thursday, August 30 and to the general public on Tuesday, September 4, online at www.boxofficeaberdeen.com, by phone at 01224 641122 and at Aberdeen Box Office at the Music Hall and His Majesty’s Theatre.
"Hairspray was a huge hit when it came to His Majesty's last year and simply wowed our audiences,” said Aberdeen Performing Arts press manager Joyce Summers.
"It is great news that is set to make a return trip with a top flight cast - there's little doubt it will be one of the hottest tickets in next year's season."
Mark Benton is one of the country’s most loved and recognisable television actors with roles in programmes as diverse as Early Doors, Eureka Street, Catterick, Second Coming, City Lights, Booze Cruise, Land Girls, and The Street.
He can be seen as Chalky in the BBC’s current series of Waterloo Road and on stage he has appeared in work at the National Theatre, the Old Vic, the Lyric Hammersmith, the Donmar Warehouse, the Royal Court and the RSC.
He said: “I can't wait to start Hairspray, it's going to be amazing fun and an interesting challenge for me as it's my first adventure into the world of musicals . . .that I get to go on that adventure playing a Baltimore housewife is an added bonus!
“As a musical I think it has everything, great songs, great script, really interesting story and lots and lots of laughs . . .I hope!”
Stage Entertainment MD and Hairspray’s producer Rebecca Quigley added:
“Just the mention of Hairspray guarantees a huge smile from anyone you talk to and we felt it was high time that people across the country get to see Tracy, Edna, Wilbur and the gang again.
“Hairspray is one of the most warm-hearted, positive and joyous musicals I’ve had the pleasure of working on and the smiles have got even bigger now we know our cast will be lead by the incalculably talented Mark Benton.”
On its first UK tour, Hairspray was a huge hit – in more ways than one – with Aberdeen audiences at HMT in March last year with telly favourite Michael Starke as Edna and former Monkee Micky Dolenz as hubby Wilbur.
The musical is set in Baltimore in the 60s, where dance-mad Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, wins a spot on the local TV dance programme, The Corny Collins Show and, overnight, is transformed from outsider to irrepressible teen celebrity.
But can a trendsetting hair-hopper like Tracy get her massively shy Mom out of the apartment, beat evil Amber to be crowned Miss Hairspray, integrate Corny’s show for good AND win the heart of local heartthrob Link Larkin, all without denting her super high ‘do’?
The musical originally opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London on October 2007, receiving universal critical acclaim and smash hit business and eventually playing more than 1000 performances to well over a million people.
At the 2008 Olivier Awards, Hairspray won Best Musical, as well as a further three awards from a record breaking eleven nominations. The show has also won Best Musical at the Evening Standard Awards, the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers Choice awards, the Critics’ Circle Awards and the Variety Club Showbiz Awards.
Official website www.hairspraythetour.com