The largest-ever production of the hit musical will take place in Australia, and you could be involved.
The largest production ever mounted of the Broadway blockbuster Hairspray will open in Brisbane this April and you could be part of it. Over 950 performers will take to the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre stage for Hairspray – The Big Fat Arena Spectacular, and Harvest Rain Theatre Company, the producers behind the epic staging, are inviting prospective performers to apply to be part of this record-breaking cast.
Winner of 8 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Hairspray journeys back to the 60’s where Baltimore teen Tracy Turnblad is chasing her dream to dance on the popular Corny Collins TV Show. She manages to make it onto the stage and becomes an overnight celebrity, meeting a colourful array of characters and on-stage personas. But the life of showbiz isn’t easy, and Tracy launches a campaign to integrate the TV show after witnessing the social injustices of 1960s America. Meanwhile, will she unseat the reigning Teen Queen and win the affections of smooth-talking Link Larkin? The popular show, based on the 1988 film by cult artist John Waters, captured the attentions of the world in 2007 when a second film version of the show was released, featuring an all-star cast including John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken and Zac Efron.
Lauren McKenna will appear in the lead role, Tracy Turnblad, alongside theatre legend and long-time host of Playschool Simon Burke as Edna Turnblad. Motormouth Maybelle will be played by Aria Award-winning singer Christine Anu, with Tim Campbell – star of Home & Away and House Husbands – appearing as glossy TV personality Corny Collins. Dance-machine Wayne Scott Kermond, who’s just wrapped up an acclaimed season of the nationally touring Anything Goes, will play Wilbur Turnblad. Dan Venz appears as teenage heartthrob Link Larkin, with Stacey de Waard as Amber Von Tussle.
Joining this core cast of big-name theatre stars will be 30 professional performers, and together this team will take the production to Newcastle in July and Adelaide in October. An amateur ensemble of 900 young performers aged 9-21 years will join them on-stage for the Brisbane production, with a new group appearing when the production moves to other cities.
One of Australia’s leading musical theatre directing talents, Callum Mansefield, will choreograph and direct the production. Mansefield has been on the creative team for over 20 productions, including the new Australian musical The Women In Black, the Australian tour of Mary Poppins, and Simon Gallaher’s production of The Mikado. Mansefield is eminently suited to direct the production featuring over 900 amateur performers, having started his own career performing as the young Peter Allen in the original Australian production of The Boy from Oz. Joining Mansefield on the creative team will be Musical Director Dennett Hudson, who won Best Musical Director for his work with Spotlight Theatre Company’s 2012 production of Forever Plaid.
Harvest Rain Theatre Company is no stranger to presenting work on this impressive scale. In 2014 the company set the world record for the largest production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS in the southern hemisphere, with a staging featuring over 800 performers from across South East Queensland. Harvest Rain has been presenting shows to over 25,000 annual patrons for the past 30 years, all without government funding.
Want to join the Hairspray spectacular in Newcastle or Adelaide? Harvest Rain is inviting interested participants to apply here. Tickets are already on sale for the Brisbane (8-10 April) and Newcastle (15-16 July ) productions of Hairspray – The Big Fat Arena Spectacular, available for purchase here.