When the director asked if he would consider playing Edna, a role that saw Harvey Fierstein win a Tony in the original Broadway production, and saw John Travolta win a Golden Globe in the 2008 film, Batt's answer was, "You'd better believe I'd do it...It all fell into place and I'm thrilled because it's such a fun part and such a fun show."
This is the first time Batt will take on the iconic stage role and he admits it is not one that he ever expected to play. "I never thought I'd be right for it, but in a fat suit, I could do it," he said. He experienced the same hesitation when it came to performing in drag in La Cage on Broadway, a decade ago, "I thought I'd look like a truck in a wig," he laughs.
Despite getting some high-profile work in television, Batt says that he is still very much committed to the theatre. "It's very interesting, so many TV people that came from the Broadway world want to go back and do more theatre again," he says. "Some of the producers and agents don't understand it, they don't understand the joy of theatre."
Hairspray, winner of eight Tony Awards including Best Musical, will be performed at the Muny June 23 through 30. The production will be directed and choreographed by Dan Knechtges, with music direction by Charlie Alterman. Set in the 1960's in Baltimore, it tells the story of ambitious teenager Tracy Turnblad, who dreams of dancing on "The Corny Collins Show" and creating better social equality. The musical is based on the 1988 John Waters film of the same name. For more information on the Muny production visit muny.org.