EastEnders star in Hairspray role at HMT
EastEnders star Lucy Benjamin will join leading man Mark Benton on the show’s forthcoming UK tour of Hairspray which comes to Aberdeen’s His Majesty’s Theatre next year.
She will play the role of scheming TV executive and archetypal ‘showbiz mom’ Velma Von Tussle (played on film by both Debbie Harry and Michelle Pfeiffer) and is joined by previously announced stage and screen star Mark as Edna and Freya Sutton as big-hearted, big-haired teen heroine Tracy Turnblad.
Lucy’s earliest credits include the musicals Annie, Barnardo and Worzel Gummidge in the West End before making her television debut in Doctor Who. She played the lead character Julie Craig on ITV’s smash hit teen drama Press Gang before starring as Lisa Fowler in the BBC’s EastEnders.
During her time on EastEnders she featured in some of the show’s biggest storylines including the infamous Who Shot Phil Mitchell? saga, with more than 22 million people tuning in to see her character revealed as the shooter.
Other television credits include Casualty, Kingdom, The Afternoon Play, Doctors and, most recently, Holby City and in 2006 Lucy won The X Factor: Battle of the Stars. On stage she has appeared in The Pretender Agenda in the West End, the UK tour of Framed and last year’s sell out production of Peter Pan at the Mayflower Theatre Southampton.
“Hairspray is an absolute dream come true for me,” said Lucy. “I’m so excited to be returning to my musical theatre roots and to be cast in one of the biggest and best shows around, well, it was worth the wait!
“I’m a huge fan of the films and loved the show in the West End. Velma is a great character too, a piece of work of course but she’ll be a wonderful challenge and to play opposite Mr Mark Benton, he’s the icing on the cake!"
The musical is set in Baltimore in the 60s, where dance-mad Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, 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 super high ‘do’?
On its first UK tour, Hairspray was a huge hit – in more ways than one – with Aberdeen audiences at HMT in March last year with telly favourite Michael Starke as Edna and former Monkee Micky Dolenz as hubby Wilbur.
The musical originally opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London on October 2007, receiving universal critical acclaim and smash hit business and eventually playing more than 1000 performances to well over a million people.
At the 2008 Olivier Awards, Hairspray won Best Musical, as well as a further three awards from a record breaking eleven nominations. 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.
Hairspray will be staged at His Majesty’s Theatre from Monday to Saturday, September 16 to 21 and tickets are available online at www.boxofficeaberdeen.com, by phone at 01224 641122 and at Aberdeen Box Office at the Music Hall and His Majesty’s Theatre.