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Hairspray brings the beat to the Liverpool Empire


Smash hit musical favourite Hairspray returns to the Liverpool Empire next week.

Even Covid can’t stop the beat, with the show – on a tour of the UK and Ireland – spending a week at the Lime Street theatre.

Norman Pace plays Wilbur Turnblad, Brenda Edwards is Motormouth Maybelle, and West End leading man Alex Bourne dons the dress and heels to appear as Edna.

Meanwhile Katie Brace is making her professional debut as the irrepressible Tracy Turnblad.

Hairspray is based on the 1988 film of the same name from cult filmmaker John Waters and which starred Divine and Ricki Lake. It has music and lyrics by Oscar-winning Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman, including Good Morning Baltimore, I Can Hear the Bells and the toe-tapping You Can’t Stop the Beat.


Read a review of a previous production of Hairspray at the Empire


It’s Baltimore 1962, where Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, is on a mission to follow her dreams and dance her way onto national TV.

Tracy’s audition makes her a local star and soon she is using her new-found fame to fight for equality, bagging local heartthrob Link Larkin along the way.

Above: Brenda Edwards as Motormouth Maybelle. Top: Katie Brace as Tracy Turnblad. Photos by Mark Senior


This is Brenda Edwards’ third time touring with the show including during its last visit to the Empire in 2018.

She says: “I love the songs. It’s such a feel-good show from the minute - spoiler alert! - the curtain goes up and you’ve got Tracy Turnblad in bed singing Good Morning Baltimore. From that moment on the show takes everybody on a wonderful journey.

“Even though sone of the storylines are hard-hitting, they’re put across in a light-hearted way and there’s so much energy.

“It’s such an amazing show and I think that’s exactly what people need coming out of this year-and-a-bit that we’ve had. They need something to laugh about and there are so many laughs in Hairspray.

“There are things in it to make you laugh, things in it to make you cry, things in it to make you think…it’s a bit of something for everyone and for all ages as well.”

Hairspray the Musical is at the Liverpool Empire from August 30 to September 4. Tickets HERE