Bennett Joins London Hairspray Cast

News   Bennett Joins London Hairspray Cast It has been confirmed that the West End cast of Hairspray will feature Olivier winner Tracie Bennett (Les Miz, High Society, She Loves Me) as Velma Von Tussle and Rachel Wooding (We Will Rock You) as Velma's daughter Amber.

As previously reported, newcomer Leanne Jones takes on the role of Tracy Turnblad, while Michael Ball (Phantom and Les Miz) and Mel Smith (in his musical debut) play Tracey's parents.

Hairspray opens at London's Shaftesbury Theatre on Oct. 30 following previews that begin Oct. 11. The Marc Shaiman- Scott Wittman musical, which received a total of eight 2003 Tonys including Best Musical, had been booked at London's Adelphi Theatre but was delayed to avoid clashing with the recent release of John Travolta's movie version.

In the film Travolta plays Edna Turnblad, the cross-dressing role, which Ball takes on in the London version and which bagged Harvey Fierstein a Tony Award for his performance in the Broadway production.

Set in sixties Baltimore, the show is based on John Waters' 1988 movie of the same name. With a book by Marc O'Donnell, the story follows the fortunes of "pleasantly plump" Baltimore teenager Tracy Turnblad, who yearns to perform in the Corny Collins Dance Show.

Transformed overnight from outsider to teen celebrity, Tracy's next mission is to vanquish the program's reigning princess, win the heart of heartthrob Link Larkin and integrate a television show. The Broadway hit, directed by Jack O'Brien and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, premiered at New York's Neil Simon Theatre in 2002, where it continues to run.

Hairspray is produced in London by Stage Entertainment with Margo Lion, The Baruch/Viertel/Routh/Frankel Group, New Line Cinema in association with others from the Broadway producing team.

For more information on Hairspray, call (0)207 379 5399.