UK: Michael Ball is Edna Turnblad

by Stella Floras 71 views

“All men want to dress up as a woman once in their lives. This is my moment at last – and I'm loving it.” Michael Ball reportedly said about his role in the multi award winning musical Hairspray. And what a woman this is! Michael appears on the West End stage as overweight, 46EEE bra'ed, big haired,middle-aged, low class American mother Edna Turnblad managing to fool even some of his most ardent fans with his disguise.

Hairspray opened in the London West End last month with advanced bookings of £5 million and went on to become a box office hit winning recently the prestigious Evening Standard Award for Best Musical in 2007. Michael Ball's disguise is so convincing that, during the preview shows, producer Adam Spiegel admitted that many fans complained about his "absence" from stage.

In order to become Edna Turnblad, Michael Ball spends 40 minutes getting into "character" by putting on the huge fat suit and plastic size 46EEE breasts- each weighing about 2 kilos- which according to his producer give him a back ache, naturally. Then it's time for the support tights, heavy make up, false eyelashes, wig and dress. As soon as Michael managed the art of making-up he insists on applying his own as it helps him get into character. He also has to go through weekly shaving of the chest and waxing of the eyebrows.

Hairspray- originally an 80's film- is already in its fifth year in Broadway and it has won no less than eight Tony awards, becoming a huge box office success in the States. It was also transferred on the big screen recently with John Travolta in the role of Edna.

Michael Ball, currently one of the West End's highest-paid stars, can boast major theatre, TV and film roles as well as 12 very successful solo albums. His latest album Back to Bacharach was released in October and his live DVD, One voice, one special night, just a week ago.

Michael is familiar to Eurofans as he flew the flag for the United Kingdom in 1992 Eurovision Song Contest, placing second after neighbour Linda Martin.

Find out more about Hairspray and watch clips from the musical here.

Thank you Gary Chelsea!

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Stella Floras

Thanks to Johnny Logan and Hold me now I fell in love with the Eurovision Song Contest, a love that's been going strong ever since with undiminished passion. My first memories date back to 1977 and the lyrics of Rock bottom, Dschinghis Khan and A ba ni bi are still engraved in my brain.

I joined in 2006 as a junior editor after being invited by Barry Viniker, I soon became Senior Editor and during the 2007 contest in Helsinki I was appointed Head of Communications. Today I hold the post of Head of Human Resources and I am proud to be working with the best editorial team in the world.