According to the Daily Mail, Ball will be donning a dress and wig for the role of housewife Edna Turnblad. "The secret is to play Edna as a woman...the way Dustin Hoffman did it in 'Tootsie,'" said Ball, who makes his English National Opera debut in Kismet later this month.
Harvey Fierstein won a Tony Award for his performance as Edna Turnblad in the Broadway production, and John Travolta plays the role in the forthcoming movie version.
Hairspray opens at London's Shaftesbury Theatre on Oct. 30 following previews from Oct. 11. Previously, the Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman musical, which received a total of eight 2003 Tonys, including Best Musical, was booked at London's Adelphi Theatre, but was delayed to avoid clashing with the release of the film next month.
Set in 1960's Baltimore, the show is based on John Waters' 1988 movie of the same name starring Divine in the role of Edna Turnblad. 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.
Hairspray will be 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.