Photo Flash: Lucy Benjamin Joins Mark Benton in 2013 UK Tour of HAIRSPRAY

The producers of HAIRSPRAY have announced that EastEnders star Lucy Benjamin will join leading man Mark Benton on the show's forthcoming UK tour, which opens at Manchester's Lowry Theatre in February next year. Photos of Mark, Lucy and newcomer Freya Sutton in character have also been just been released. Check them out below! 

Lucy Benjamin will play the role of scheming TV executive and archetypal 'showbiz mom' Velma Von Tussle (played on film by both Debbie Harry and Michelle Pfheiffer) and is joined by previously announced stage and screen star Mark Benton as Edna and Freya Sutton as big-hearted, big-haired teen heroine Tracy Turnblad.
 
Lucy Benjamin'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.
 
Lucy Benjamin 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!"

It's 1962, the 50s are out and change is in the air. Baltimore's Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, has only one passion – dancing. She 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'? If anyone can, Tracy can!

The musical HAIRSPRAY opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London on October 2007, recouping its entire capitalisation in record-breaking time. The show received universal critical acclaim and smash hit business, eventually playing more than 1000 performances to well over 1 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. It embarked on its first UK tour in 2010 playing to nearly ¾ million people in sold out houses across Britain. Further afield the show has played at venues around the world, including six years on Broadway, and won more than 40 major theatre awards.

For more about the tour, visit www.hairspraythetour.com

Photo Credit: Hugo Glendinning

Photo Flash: Lucy Benjamin Joins Mark Benton in 2013 UK Tour of HAIRSPRAY

Photo Flash: Lucy Benjamin Joins Mark Benton in 2013 UK Tour of HAIRSPRAY
Freya Sutton as Tracy Turnblad

Photo Flash: Lucy Benjamin Joins Mark Benton in 2013 UK Tour of HAIRSPRAY
Lucy Benjamin as Velma Von Tussle

Photo Flash: Lucy Benjamin Joins Mark Benton in 2013 UK Tour of HAIRSPRAY
Mark Benton as Edna Turnblad

Photo Flash: Lucy Benjamin Joins Mark Benton in 2013 UK Tour of HAIRSPRAY

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