Michael Ball opens UK tour of Hairspray at Wales Millennium Centre

Welsh star of the West End Michael Ball will head the cast as Hairspray opens its first ever UK and Ireland tour at Wales Millennium Centre next spring.

Michael Ball, who won an Olivier Award for his role as the larger than life heroine Edna Turnblad when the production opened in London’s West End, will open the tour at Wales Millennium Centre, before playing selected venues on the UK tour.

The tour also marks the start of a career behind the stage for the singer – whose family are from Mountain Ash – as he embarks on a closer working relationship with the show’s producers, Stage Entertainment. This will involve developing new work and roles both onstage, as well as Michael working in a production capacity in the future. Plans include a major musical revival in 2011.

Michael Ball is Britain’s leading musical theatre star and a multi-platinum selling recording artist. With his top rated BBC Radio 2 show, Michael Ball’s Sunday Brunch, and his regular concert tours Michael has won critical acclaim and the hearts of a fiercely loyal public. He has starred in productions on both sides of the Atlantic including The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Aspects of Love, Passion, The Woman in White and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and made his debut with the New York City Opera in 2005 in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Patience. Michael has presented a number of his own high profile television shows including his Michael Ball Christmas Special, An Evening With Michael Ball and he is a regular guest presenter of ITV1’s This Morning and BBC1’s Lottery shows.

Hairspray is set in 1962. The 50s are out and change is in the air. Baltimore’s Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, has only one passion – dancing. She wins a spot on the local TV dance programme, The Corny Collins Show and, overnight, is transformed from outsider to irrepressible teen celebrity. But can a trendsetting hair-hopper like Tracy get her massively shy Mom out of the apartment, beat evil Amber to be crowned Miss Hairspray, integrate Corny’s show for good AND win the heart of local heartthrob Link Larkin, all without denting her ‘do? If anyone can, Tracy can!

Commenting on the Hairspray tour Michael said: “I knew when I originally took on the part of Edna that she was going to be a big part of my life, in every way, but I never realised just how big. Hairspray is truly one of the greatest experiences of my career and the chance to have just a few more nights in those frocks was an opportunity I couldn’t miss! Moving forward, to now be working as an Associate Producer with Stage Entertainment developing new shows, new roles and new opportunities in the future is an honour, and something I can’t wait to get stuck in to.”

Producer Adam Spiegel added: “We are over the moon that Michael has agreed to launch the Hairspray tour for us. The show has been a huge success in London, not to mention around the world, and Michael has been a big, big part of the Hairspray story so far. It’s doubly exciting that not only do more people around the UK now get to see his gorgeous Edna Turnblad, but we as a company get to work with Michael more closely than ever behind the scenes as we develop new work together.”

The smash hit award-winning musical Hairspray at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London recouped its entire capitalisation in a record-breaking 29 weeks. The show opened in October 2007 to universal critical acclaim and smash hit business. At the 2008 Olivier Awards, Hairspray won Best Musical, as well as Best Actor in a Musical for Michael Ball. The show has also won Best Musical at the Evening Standard Awards, the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers Choice awards, the Critics’ Circle Awards and the Variety Club Showbiz Awards.

Alongside the tour, Hairspray will also continue to delight over 10,000 people a week in London where the West End production runs at the Shaftesbury Theatre. The musical continues to break all box office records at the theatre and is now booking until October 2010.

Visit the show’s official website www.hairspraythemusical.com

Hairspray will be at Wales Millennium Centre from March 30th until April 24th 2010. Preview performances will run from March 30th until April 6th, before the show officially opens on April 7th. For more information, or to book tickets, please call the box office on 08700 40 2000 or visit www.wmc.org.uk