Melbourne’s Regent Theatre played host to a special preview and meet and greet the cast of the Melbourne production of HAIRSPRAY!
Some of Australia’s favourite performers are brushing off their dancing feet, including the much-loved Shane Jacobson, who will star as beloved housewife Edna Turnblad, alongside the hilarious Todd McKenney as Wilbur Turnblad, Rhonda Burchmore as the villainous Velma Von Tussle, Rob Mills as the lovable Corny Collins, Asabi Goodman as the powerhouse Motormouth Maybelle and introducing Carmel Rodrigues as Tracy Turnblad.
Set in 1962 in Baltimore, Maryland, it tells the story of dance-loving teenager Tracy Turnblad who has one dream – to dance on The Corny Collins Show. When her dream comes true, Tracy is transformed from social outcast to sudden star and she must use her newfound power to dethrone the reigning Teen Queen, win the affections of heartthrob Link Larkin and integrate a TV network… all without denting her ‘do!
The much-loved and super talented Rob Mills plays Corny Collins “the host of The Corny Collins Show; his politically progressive attitude leads him to fight his show’s imposed segregation. Corny Collins is based upon Baltimore TV personality Buddy Deane, who hosted an eponymous local teen dance show in the late 1950s and early 1960s.”
Rob Mills speaks exclusively to Melbourne My Style
Rob how excited are you to be in the Production or Hairspray?
“I’ve been wanting to do this show for a decade, I auditioned in 2010 I think it was and I missed out, but as fate would have it, I’m back, we’re doing the show and I’m just happy that theatre is back in this country, to be honest. It’s not just about me it’s about all the people who work in theatre that have been out of work and this show is so joyous, so heart-warming, and fun. I can’t wait for audiences to see it!”
Is there anything different about this production from the previous one that we can look forward to?
“This is the original Broadway production. The director told us that opening night will be 20 years from the day that it opened on Broadway. This show won 8 Tony awards and was nominated for a record-breaking 11 Olivier Awards. This is the show that’s been touring America, in fact, we have some of the cast who’ve flown in from the American production, straight after the American production finished. This is going to be a big show!”
It’s an amazing cast, who’s your favourite to work with from the cast?
“Oh, don’t make me choose favourites, I can’t choose a favourite they’re all just the best. I get to work with Rhonda again, Todd the rivalry continues, and Shane Jacobson is just an absolute sensation in the industry and is just hilarious as Edna. Everyone is just an absolute showstopper.”
Brushing off their dancing feet includes Javon King (international tour of RENT, Newsies) as Seaweed J Stubbs, Australian musical theatre veteran Donna Lee and Ayanda Dladla, who made her stage debut as Molly in the 2021 GFO production of Annie and also featured as young Nala in the Australian tour of Disney’s The Lion King, who will perform the role of Little Inez.
Rounding out the talented cast includes Australia’s Got Talent grand finalist Brianna Bishop, most recently seen in the Australian tour of CHESS The Musical, as Amber von Tussle, Mackenzie Dunn (Shrek the Musical, Ragtime, Thoroughly Modern Millie for The Prod Company) is in the coveted role of Penny Pingleton, Sean Johnston (Grease, Jersey Boys) as the much-loved and idolised Link Larkin plus theatre favourite Todd Goddard.
Regent Theatre, Melbourne
Limited season from August 2022
Tickets are on sale now via www.hairspraymusical.com.au
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By Melinda Sullivan