Paul Vogt and Eddie Mekka Are New Stars of Las Vegas Hairspray on May 1

News   Paul Vogt and Eddie Mekka Are New Stars of Las Vegas Hairspray on May 1 Harvey Fierstein and Dick Latessa, Tony Award winners for Broadway's Hairspray, exit the glitter of the show's Las Vegas version to make way for the May 1 entrance of "Mad TV" actor Paul Vogt and "Laverne & Shirley" alumnus Eddie Mekka.

At Luxor Las Vegas, Vogt steps into the sensible shoes of Edna Turnblad, and Tony Award nominee Mekka plays husband Wilbur. The Turnblads are parents to Baltimore teen Tracy, the chubby and unlikely heroine of the musical comedy. Tracy's dream of dancing on the local TV dance show earns her pioneer status — and snags her the hottest guy in high school.

Fierstein and Latessa were contracted to play the first 12 weeks of the Vegas production, which began Feb. 6.

In Vegas, the musical by songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and book writers Thomas Meehan and March O'Donnell has been trimmed to a lean 90 minutes. Streamlining for Vegas shows is something of a trend: Avenue Q was also edited, although Mamma Mia! is the same length as its international productions.

"We're thrilled to have two great veteran actors joining our amazing cast as we continue to build the brand of Hairspray in Las Vegas," said producer Michael Gill, in a statement.

Vogt, best known for his recurring role on "MAD TV," first received Hollywood recognition when he starred on NBC's "The Rerun Show." His theatre credits include The Grand Duchess, Happy Days The Musical and Beanstalk. His film credits include "Princess Diaries II," "Raising Helen" and "Lilo & Stitch 2." Mekka debuted on Broadway in 1974 in Jumpers, followed by playing the lead in the musical The Lieutenant, for which he was nominated for Tony and Drama Desk Awards as Best Actor in a Musical. His television credits include "24," "The Guiding Light," "Happy Days," and — the role he is best known for — Carmine Ragusa, from the hit television series "Laverne & Shirley." (He also appeared in the brief and mostly forgotten Vegas-set 1977 sitcom, "Blansky's Beauties," a spinoff of sorts of "Happy Days."

Producer Myron Martin stated, "We know audiences will delight in the chemistry and comic timing of Paul and Eddie and we look forward to them joining our fantastic cast."

The Las Vegas Hairspray company includes Kevin Spirtas as Corny, Susan Anton as Velma, Susan Mosher as Prudy Pingleton and the Gym Teacher, Katrina Rose Dideriksen as Tracy, Austin Miller as Link, Fran Jaye as Motormouth Maybelle, Kamilah Martin as Peaches.

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Hairspray's performance schedule is Thursday through Tuesday at 7:30 PM and additional shows on Saturday and Sunday at 4 PM.

The 2002 Broadway show won the 2003 Tony Award for Best Musical.

Hairspray, still going strong at Broadway's Neil Simon Theatre, also won Tonys in the categories of Best Book, Best Score and Best Director, and a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album.

The Broadway design team also reunites for the show: Kenneth Posner (lighting), Steve Kennedy (sound), Paul Huntley (wigs and hair), William Ivey Long (costumes), David Rockwell (scenic). Music supervisor is Lon Hoyt.

Hairspray is being produced in Las Vegas by Michael Gill & Myron Martin. The executive producers are Elayne Herrick, John Halle, Mike Tricarichi, Pat Caddick and Neil Miller. The associate producer is David Caldwell.

Tickets for regular performances are $85 for the main floor and $65 for the mezzanine, plus tax and handling fees.

For ticket information, call (800) 557-7428 or (702) 262-4444 or visit www.luxor.com. For group sales, call (702) 262-4525.

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