Much-loved stage and screen performer Shane Jacobson will star as beloved housewife Edna Turnblad, in the original Broadway version of Hairspray, a role he has dreamed of performing for a long time. And here’s your first look at Shane as Edna!
“I have a small team of people that help me complete my transformation from Shane Jacobson to Edna Turnblad,” he said. “It’s quite a process to be honest, but it’s worth all the effort to make sure that the audience don’t just see me on stage in a dress with a bit of lippy on.”
“I want them to see Edna, a loving mother and wife, if that is what the audience feels when I walk on stage then our job is done… all that’s left to do then is act, sing and dance my well padded ass off.”
“I love the fact that when I look in the mirror after the metamorphosis, I can’t even see me….and yet it is me under the wig and all that makeup. It’s an actor’s dream to step into someone else’s shoes, especially when those shoes are very high heels,” said Jacobson.
Leading Producer John Frost was fortunate to watch the first workshop reading of the musical in 2001 featuring actors Matthew Morrison and Harvey Fierstein. He immediately knew this was going to be a hit with Australian audiences, investing heavily to secure the Australian rights and becoming co-producer of the Broadway production.
His instincts were correct as it won eight Tony Awards including Best Musical, out of thirteen nominations. Frost also won a Tony Award for his role as one of the originating producers. “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 producer John Frost.
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 Broadway production of Hairspray also toured nationally across the US, a West End production was nominated for a record-breaking 11 Olivier Awards and it was adapted as a film in 2007 starring John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken and Zac Efron.
Shane Jacobson is one of Australia’s most loved, award-winning actors, presenters and entertainers. His incredible and varied career spans over 40 years both here at home and internationally, with screen highlights including Kenny; Charlie & Boots with Paul Hogan; Hollywood blockbuster The Bourne Legacy; the hugely popular Oddball; The Dressmaker (2015); Bruce Beresford’s Ladies in Black; The Very Excellent Mr Dundee; Beaconsfield; Jack Irish; Top Gear Australia; Little Big Shots; The Real Full Monty and Australia’s Got Talent.
On stage, Jacobson’s career highlights include a Helpmann Award for Best Male in a Supporting Role for ‘Nicely Nicely’ in the 2008 revival of the musical Guys and Dolls, The Drowsy Chaperone (2010), Shane Warne – The Musical (2013), Mother & Son (2014) and The Rocky Horror Show (2018).
Further casting announcements will be made in the coming months.
Hairspray plays at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre from August 2022. To sign up to the waitlist for ticketing announcements, visit: www.hairspraymusical.com.au for details.
Image: Shane Jacobson to play Edna Turnblad in Hairspray – photo by Jeff Busby