Ball and Jones Play Final Performance in London Hairspray July 25

News   Ball and Jones Play Final Performance in London Hairspray July 25 Michael Ball and Leanne Jones, who won the 2008 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress in a Musical for their performances as Edna and Tracy Turnblad, respectively, end their runs in the London production of Hairspray July 25 at the Shaftesbury Theatre.

They will be replaced July 27 by the popular British TV and stage personality Brian Conley and newcomer Chloe Hart, respectively. Also new to the cast on July 27 will be Liam Tamne as Link Larkin.

Ball and Jones originated their roles when the production first opened in October 2007, and the production marks the longest continuing run that Ball has ever done in the West End. In a previous press statement, issued when he announced an earlier extension to his run in the show, Ball commented, "Hairspray has without doubt been one of the happiest and most fulfilling experiences of my professional life. And I am delighted to carry on being part of this phenomenon."

Conley, who began his career as a holiday camp entertainer for British company Pontin's and then started his television career as a warm-up man for Terry Wogan, Noel Edmonds and Kenny Everett, has appeared on TV in his own series, "Brian Conley: This Way Up" and "The Brian Conley Show," as well as in the sitcom "Time After Time" (awarded the British Comedy Award for Best ITV sitcom), and playing Doug "Dynamo" Digby in "The Gimleys."

On stage he was most recently seen onstage in 2008 in Chichester Festival Theatre's production of The Music Man. Other West End roles include taking over in Me and My Girl at the Adelphi Theatre, originating the title role in Jolson at the Victoria Palace Theatre, appearing in David Farr's Elton John's Glasses at the Queen's Theatre, and starring as Caracticus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! at the London Palladium, subsequently recreating the role on national tour.

Among his awards, he has won The National Television Award for Most Popular Comedy Performer, Show Business Personality of the Year and Most Popular Performer in the 2004 Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards. In a press statement, Conley commented on working with his new stage husband Nigel Planer, "Nigel is one of my heroes and it's a professional highlight for me to kiss him not just once but twice a night (four times on Thursdays and Saturdays). I am looking forward to the role hugely but I'm not looking forward to the stubble rash. I've insisted that he shaves before every performance and moisturizes. I've also been practicing in my reinforced heels around the house, which upset the neighbors because I left the curtains open and usually I only dress up on a Wednesday. My only worry is that I now look like my mother!"

Newcomer Chloe Hart takes over as his daughter Tracy in her first job since graduating from the Guildford School of Acting. Liam Tamne was recently in the West End production of Wicked at the Apollo Victoria.

To book tickets contact the box office at 0207 379 5399 or visit www.hairspraythemusical.com for further information.

(l.-r.) Michael Ball, Leanne Jones and Nigel Planer in London's <i>Hairspray</i>.
(l.-r.) Michael Ball, Leanne Jones and Nigel Planer in London's Hairspray. Photo by Hugo Glendinning
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