By Mark Shenton
31 Aug 2008
|Photo by sky.com|
The performance is being staged as the spectacular finale to an eight-part series, made by satellite broadcaster Sky1, that begins its broadcast run on the same night at 7 PM, charting the production's progress from conception to final execution.
The TV series, entitled "Hairspray: The School Musical," offers the London high school what publicity materials call "the challenge of a lifetime": to audition, rehearse and perform a West End-worthy performance of Hairspray in one summer holiday. With the help of host and mentor Denise Van Outen ("Eastenders," Chicago, Tell Me On a Sunday, Rent Remixed and "I'd Do Anything" host), the students have been offered the chance to train with the best in the business, receiving intensive master classes from the likes of vocal coach Zoe Tyler and choreographer Stacey Haynes. The series "follows the hardworking students on their rollercoaster journey from the playground to the stage, with romance, tantrums and tough decisions along the way."
Kingsmead is described as a multicultural school featuring 1,400 pupils from a wide range of backgrounds. Though the school has a good reputation for performing arts, it is not full of the usual drama crowd. Van Outen and a panel of experts scoured the school to find hidden talent – with no classroom or football pitch left unturned as they searched for principal performers able to carry it off.
The Aug. 31 performance is expected to be attended by many of the famous faces who have helped them along the way, including Mary Wilson of The Supremes, Alistair McGowan, Lee Mead and the principals of the West End production of Hairspray, including Michael Ball, Ben James Ellis and Leanne Jones. It will be filmed and featured in the final show of the series on Oct. 19.