Nigel Planer to join Hairspray; Michaell Ball extends run

The producers of Hairspray have announced that Nigel Planer and Verity Rushworth are to join the cast of the multi-award winning musical, beginning on Monday 2 February.  Nigel takes over the role of ‘Wilbur Turnblad’, husband of larger than life ‘Edna’ played by Michael Ball.  Verity will play ‘Penny Pingleton’, best friend of ‘Tracy Turnblad’ played by Leanne Jones.

Nigel Planer is best known as Neil in ‘The Young Ones. His numerous West End credits include ‘Chicago’, ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ and ‘Wicked’.  Verity joined the cast of ‘Emmerdale’ in the role of Donna Windsor-Dingle at the age of 12, and has gone on to become one of the show’s best loved characters.  She leaves the programme onscreen at the end of January 2009.  She also appeared in the 2007 season of ITV’s ‘Soapstar Superstar’.

Current and original lead performers Michael Ball, Leanne Jones and Ben James-Ellis have all extended their contracts to remain with the show and will now perform until Saturday 25 July 2009.  The role of ‘Edna Turnblad’ is the longest continuing part that Michael has ever played in the West End.

The smash hit award-winning musical at the Shaftesbury Theatre won ‘Best Musical’ as well as ‘Best Actor in a Musical’ for Michael Ball and ‘Best Actress in a Musical’ for Leanne Jones at the 2008 Olivier Awards.

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