Palace Theatre's Hairspray begins late with cast changes following 'argument'
- Show began late with no official explanation to the audience
- Cast replacements included understudies and some who don’t usually cover
- Behind the scenes disagreements may be to blame
A Palace Theatre performance of Hairspray was delayed by 45 minutes because of a reported disagreement between cast and production members
The packed out show was scheduled to begin at 2.30pm but the curtain didn’t go up until 3.16pm.
A member of staff, who didn’t wish to be named spoke about the show starting late, saying “I’ve worked here over three years and have never seen this happen.”
It is understood the delay was caused by a disagreement between cast and production members. These issues may also have been responsible for the cast changes announced seconds before the show began.
As well as some characters missing from the show completely, three of the main cast were played by different actors or understudies.
Link Larkin, played by Zac Efron in the 2007 Hairspray film, was one of the main characters changed for the matinee performance. Link was played by Joshua Pearson.
Joshua has been playing council member Brad, one of the main dancers and singers on The Corny Collins Show and was not the original understudy for Seaweed's role.
This was a last minute cast change for the role of main character Seaweed. The son of Motormouth Maybelle, played by X factor semi-finalist Brenda Edwards.
Seaweed, originally meant to be played by Akeem Ellis-Hyman, was taken by Andrew Dillon.
Akeem took to twitter around midnight, nine hours after the delayed performance, to describe his day.
What an awful day— Akeem Ellis-Hyman (@akeemellishyman) November 12, 2021
Seaweed’s sister Little Inez was replaced by Natalia Brown, another who is not the official understudy according to the programme. Natalia explained on social media how the change affected her role.
Well, today I played myself and covered both an extra dynamite and Little Inez (I usually cover neither) and I feel very proud of myself, I adore my cast— Natalia (@nataliakbrown) November 12, 2021
The Dynamites are the show's talented vocal trio, said to be inspired by The Supremes. For the delayed performance, the trio was a member down throughout the show.
Other than the speculation amongst the audience, no reason has been given for the delay and cast alterations.
Marketing and communications manager for Manchester’s Palace Theatre, Emily Crawford told NQ: “There hasn’t been any official announcement.”
Even with the 45 minute delay in starting the audience were cheering and dancing right until the final curtain closed.
Lori-Anne Lawrence, an audience member, said “We loved it.
“The show, cast and staff at the palace were all amazing.”
The smash hit musical ends at Manchester’s Palace tomorrow and will heading to the New Victoria Theatre in Woking next week.