Hairspray welcomes Eastenders star

Eastenders star Lucy Benjamin, who plays Velma Von Tussle in Hairspray
Eastenders star Lucy Benjamin, who plays Velma Von Tussle in Hairspray

EastEnders star Lucy Benjamin will be joining Mark Benton for the UK tour of Hairspray which comes to His Majesty’s Theatre next month.

She will play the role of scheming TV executive and archetypal showbiz mom, Velma Von Tussle 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 musicals Annie, Barnardo and Worzel Gummidge in the West End before making her television debut in Doctor Who. She played Julie Craig on ITVs teen drama Press Gang before starring as Lisa Fowler in 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 and Holby City. 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.

Lucy said: “Hairspray is an absolute dream come true for me, 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 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 d’?

Last year’s show included telly favourite Michael Starke as Edna and former Monkee Micky Dolenz as hubby Wilbur.

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.