The production opened its run in the West End on Oct. 30, 2007, with a cast led by Michael Ball and newcomer Leanne Jones (who both won Olivier Awards for their performances as Edna and Tracy Turnblad respectively), with the show itself winning the Best Musical Award in the Oliviers, Evening Standard Theatre Awards, Critics' Circle Theatre Awards, Variety Club Showbiz Awards and Whatsonstage.com Awards. The production recouped its entire capitalization in 29 weeks, and has grossed over £50 million during its run. It is the longest-running show to play at the Shaftesbury Theatre in over 40 years. In a press statement, Bill Taylor, CEO of Stage Entertainment U.K. (lead producers of Hairspray, in London, with Margo Lion, The Baruch/Viertel/Routh/Frankel Group and New Line Cinema in association with others from the Broadway producing team), has commented, "After two and a half wonderful years, many awards and hundreds of thousands of happy Hairspray audience members we have decided to bring the production to a close at the Shaftsbury Theatre on Sunday 28 March prior to a U.K. tour. Every show, even a big, glorious hit show like this one, has a natural life and for now it's time for Hairspray to leave London. Margo Lion and the Broadway producers of Hairspray join Stage Entertainment in thanking every member of the company who has been involved in making it such a success and every audience member who joined us at the Shaftesbury Theatre over its record-breaking run. We open a huge national tour in March, featuring some familiar faces, meaning fans of the show, old and new, everywhere will still get the chance to enjoy the Hairspray experience."
That tour commences at Cardiff's Wales Millennium Centre March 30, before continuing to dates in Glasgow, Southampton, Wolverhampton, Leeds, Manchester, Plymouth, Liverpool, Sunderland, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Birmingham, Bradford and Edinburgh.
For the final eight weeks of its London run, Hairspray will star Brian Conley as Edna Turnblad, Micky Dolenz as Wilbur Turnblad and Chloe Hart as Tracy Turnblad. To book tickets for the Shaftesbury Theatre, contact the box office on 020 7379 5399, or visit www.hairspraythemusical.com