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Michael Ball on reprising Hairspray role: I nicked character’s boobs last time

Paul Merton and Michael Ball in character in Hairspray The Musical (Hairspray)
Paul Merton and Michael Ball in character in Hairspray The Musical (Hairspray)

Stage star Michael Ball has said he cannot wait to return to Hairspray – confessing he stole the “boobs” from his last turn in the musical.

The singer appeared as big-hearted Edna Turnblad around 10 years ago, winning an Olivier Award for the drag role.

He will be back in a new production of Hairspray The Musical and this time comic Paul Merton has signed up as his husband.

Ball, 57, told the PA news agency that he stole his outfit from his last appearance in the show.

“I’ve still got the shoes, I did nick the dress and I did nick the boobs,” he said.

“I wanted them to be real, proper prosthetics.

“There was a box you had to tick – ‘With or without nipples’. I got nipples, obviously.”

Ball said he always wanted to return to his award-winning role.

He has played Tracy Turnblad’s mother in around 700 performances of the musical, which is set in the 1960s.

“I always knew it would happen and I always wanted it to happen but it had to be right,” he said.

“It had to be at the right time, at the right theatre and the right cast.

“Occasionally in this business you find all the stars in alignment and this is the right time.”

Have I Got News For You star Merton said he is not nervous about making his musical debut.

“I’m walking to music,” the 62-year-old quipped of his role, at the London Coliseum, as Wilbur Turnblad.

“Nobody is expecting me to be Pavarotti so it’s within my comfort zone, I think…

“I shall throw myself into it and do the best job I can do.”

The pair quipped that they had a romantic getaway to find the chemistry for the role of husband and wife.

“We spent a weekend in the Lake District to prepare for this,” Merton said.

“We had to drink quite a lot of whisky to get us through it. But we got there in the end!”

– Performances of Hairspray The Musical begin on April 23 at the London Coliseum.

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