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The cast of Hairspray the musical in Australia are dressed in 70s garb
Photograph: Jessica Bendell Publicity

The Broadway production of Hairspray is coming to Sydney in 2023

With Shane Jacobson as Edna Turnblad, this show packs in an all-star cast of Aussie talent

Alannah Maher
Edited by
Alannah Maher
Written by
Sanam Goodman
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Sydney, we can hear the bells and they bring good news: the nicest kids in town will be here when the original Tony Award-winning Broadway production of Hairspray opens in the Harbour City in early 2023. 

Long-admired director Jack O’Brien (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and choreographer Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots) will lead a Broadway creative team, with Shane Jacobson (Kenny, OddballGuys and Dolls) fulfilling a lifelong dream by starring as beloved housewife Edna Turnblad. The role was originated by drag superstar Divine in John Waters' original cult 1988 film, before going on to be played by the legendary Harvey Fierstein on Broadway and by John Travolta in the 2007 film remake. Jacobson joins Aussie stars Todd McKenney, Rhonda Burchmore, and Rob Mills in the stacked cast lineup.

After watching the first workshop reading of the music in 2001, leading producer John Frost invested heavily to secure the Australian rights and became co-producer of the Broadway production. The Australian tour is launching in Melbourne in August 2022, with a stint in Adelaide in December before it lays roots in Sydney. 

Actor  Shane Jacobson wearing a casual suit jacket and smiling
Photograph: Jeff Busby

“I am thrilled the original Broadway version of Hairspray is finally coming to Australia. It is an irresistibly feel-good and hilarious production for people of all ages to enjoy,” said Frost.

Set in 1962 in Baltimore, Maryland, Hairspray tells the story of dance-loving teenager Tracy Turnblad whose ultimate dream is 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.

This production has toured nationally across the US, and a West End production was nominated for a record-breaking 11 Olivier Awards. It was also adapted as a film in 2007 starring John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken and Zac Efron.

Hairspray will be on show at the Sydney Lyric Theatre from February 2023. To sign up to the waitlist for ticketing announcements, head to the official show website.

Feeling dramatic? Check out the best shows to see in Sydney right now

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