Actor Tony Maudsley will be swapping sunshine and Spain for songs and the stage in his new role.
Best known for playing flamboyant hairdresser Kenneth in the sitcom Benidorm, he is to play the equally charismatic Edna Turnblad in a new touring production of Hairspray coming to the Royal and Derngate in Northampton later in the year.
The musical is set in 1960s Baltimore 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 on to 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
Tony said: “It is a challenge because while the role is traditionally played by a man in drag, she is not a pantomime dame. The challenge within that is to make a real person.
“I’m currently doing some vocal training before going into rehearsals. Fortunately I won’t be having to wear the fat suit on top of my considerable girth.
“I think it is a great show with a lot to say that is still relevant to the modern age.
“You look at all forms of media and women are often expected to try and conform to something which is almost impossible to achieve.
“They will say that women should be stick thin.
“It is strange attitude, because I think if you ask most men, they like curves on a lady.
“But all of these serious messages are wrapped up in this fantastic toe-tapping musical.”
Tony’s career has been a varied one so far and that is reflected in his choice of favourite roles.
Hesaid: “I think Benidorm is one of my favourites because Kenneth is just a gift of a part.
“The other part was working with Olympia Dukakis on a film called A Life for a Life
“It was about the life of Stefan Khizcho and I played him. It was all about a miscarriage of justice.”
Tony is doing the tour for six months before returning to the sitcom.
He added: “It was a job that came out of nowhere really.
“I got offered the chance to do it and I thought it was a job where you get a bit of a sunshine, there are certainly a lot worser places to do filming.”
Hairspray also stars actress Claire Sweeney, former Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan and former X Factor contestant Brenda Edwards.
The tour comes to Northampton from Monday September 28 to Saturday October 3.
Tickets for the show can be booked by calling the box office on 01604 624811 or by visiting www.royal andderngate.co.uk.