September 21 2014 Latest news:
By Alan Davies
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Musical Hairspray comes to Stevenage’s Gordon Craig Theatre later this month.
Hairspray has come a long way since it was first conjured up from the frankly weird and wonderful imagination of John Waters, the pencil-tached master of cinematic outrage.
It was way back in 1988 that Waters first filmed his mould-breaking musical, set in 1962 Baltimore and taking a tongue-in-cheek look at the issues bubbling under the bubblegum surface of 1960s pop, including sexism and body image anguish.
His cast featured heavyweight cross-dresser Divine and Blondie’s Debbie Harry, as well as the likes of Ricki Lake, and the finished product was nobody’s idea of a mainstream hit.
But in 2002 a smoothed-over stage version of the story took Broadway by storm, snagging eight Tony Awards, and it was only a matter of time before it got the big screen treatment again, this time with John Travolta slipping into a dress for a starring role.
In recent years Hairspray has become a mainstay of touring theatre, a guaranteed crowd-pleaser – and you can find out for yourself when it begins a short run at Stevenage’s Gordon Craig Theatre on Monday, August 18.
Featuring a cast of larger-than-life characters, played by both professional and local actors, it is a joyous romp through the era that time will never forget.
It is packed with bright costumes, energetic dance routines and contagious hits such as Welcome To The 60’s and You Can’t Stop the Beat.
The show will put the spotlight on Italia Conti-trained newcomer Francesca Fenech as the pleasantly plump heroine Tracy Turnblad.
She is supported by Daniel Page, last seen in Stevenage at the Gordon Craig’s 2013 Easter musical Peter Pan.
This time he will be appearing on stage in a dress as Tracy’s mother Edna.
Local lad Chris Warner Drake also stars as Corny Collins.
He appeared at the Gordon Craig years ago in Return to the Forbidden Planet and has since gone on to have a very successful career, appearing in both Chicago and Priscilla Queen of the Desert in London’s West End.
Chris has even had small roles in a number of the Disney/Marvel superhero films!
* Hairspray runs from Monday, August 18 until Saturday, August 23. There will be performances at 7.30pm each evening, and 2.30pm matinees from Wednesday to Saturday.
Ticket prices start from £18. Call 01438 363200 or visit www.gordon-craig.co.uk to find out more.