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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 August 2007, 14:06 GMT 15:06 UK
Mel Smith to make West End debut
Michael Ball (left) Mel Smith and Leanne Jones (right)
Mel Smith (centre) will star alongside Michael Ball (left)
Comedian and actor Mel Smith has signed up to make his West End debut in the hit musical Hairspray.

He will star alongside West End veteran Michael Ball, who will play the female part of Edna Turnblad.

Smith, best known for appearing with Griff Rhys Jones in Smith and Jones and directing Rowan Atkinson's Mr Bean movie, will play Wilbur Turnblad.

The show, which has already been a huge hit in the US, will open at London's Shaftesbury Theatre on 11 October.

Little-known actress Leanne Jones has landed the lead part of Tracy Turnblad, who dreams of dancing on a local TV dance programme in the 1960s.

Hollywood remake

She becomes a celebrity overnight after getting a chance to appear on the show.

The musical, which made its Broadway debut in 2002, went on to win eight Tony Awards - the most coveted prizes in US theatre - including best musical.

Hollywood actor John Travolta plays Edna Turnblad in an updated film version of the show, which is currently being screened at UK cinemas.

Deborah Harry and Ricki Lake starred in the original 1988 film.

Travolta 'set for Hairspray lead'
03 Mar 06 |  Entertainment
Press views: Hairspray
09 Jun 03 |  Entertainment
Hairspray wins eight Tonys
09 Jun 03 |  Entertainment

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