‘Hairspray’ plans gel in West End

Tony-winning Broadway hit coming to London

London will get a big spritz of “Hairspray” in the fall, when the transfer of the Tony-winning Broadway hit about a zaftig integrationist in 1960s Baltimore arrives in the West End.

The show has been confirmed to begin previews Oct. 11 at the Shaftesbury Theater for an Oct. 30 opening. Casting has not yet been announced.

Adapted from John Waters’ 1988 indie comedy, the tuner features music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and book by Marc O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan. The 2002 Broadway production won eight Tonys, including musical, book, score, lead actor and actress, and has grossed $198 million to date.

New Line will open its feature version of the musical July 20, starring John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Queen Latifah and newcomer Nikki Blonsky.

The London “Hairspray” run will be produced by Stage Entertainment, with members of the Broadway producing team, including Margo Lion, Baruch/Viertel/Routh/Frankel Group and New Line Cinema. Jack O’Brien directs, with choreography by Jerry Mitchell.

Also announced for a fall run in the West End is Trevor Nunn’s double-bill production for the Royal Shakespeare Company of “King Lear” and “The Seagull,” starring Ian McKellen and Frances Barber.

The two productions open tonight in the RSC’s Courtyard Theater, in Stratford-upon-Avon. They will transfer to the capital’s New London Theater, playing in rep for a limited run beginning Nov. 12.

The West End stint will come after completion of a world tour that includes a Sept. 6-30 engagement at the Brooklyn Academy of Music as well as dates in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and other U.S. cities.

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