Talking Theatre: Brenda Edwards Discusses Hairspray The Musical – Part 2

The UK tour of Hairspray comes to Bristol Hippodrome from March 5, featuring Brenda Edwards as Motormouth Maybelle and Layton Williams as Seaweed. Alongside award-winning comedian Norman Pace as Wilbur Turnblad, Matt Rixon returns to the role of Edna Turnblad and Rebecca Mendoza  as Tracy Turnblad.

In the second part of a series of interviews with the stars of the current UK tour, we conclude a discussion with  Brenda Edwards  (read part 1 here) who plays  Motormouth Maybelle.who discusses her favourite Hairspray moments.

Rebecca Mendoza as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray The MusicalRebecca Mendoza as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray The Musical

Rebecca Mendoza as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray The Musical

What’s your favourite moment or song in the show and why? 

I just love You Can’t Stop the Beat because it goes through so many different gear changes – In rehearsals its known as Beat 1 Beat 2 and Beat 3 and as I said I like the way it just brings us all together that’s the point where everybody is together, and I think its brilliant! 

Hairspray is set in the 1960s, but if you could be born in any other decade which one would it be, and why?  

I love period dramas, especially the style and fashion tassels and beads etc. I am such a magpie because I love all the shiny things, sequins, beads and diamantes – that’s just me! So, that is the era I would love to be in. Fabulous costumes! Fabulous dresses! Fabulous headdresses!  

What’s your all-time favourite musical?  

Gosh…it’s all the ones I’ve been in! I…… but Aside from those I did enjoy Motown, The Bodyguard, Les Misérables, and I cried watching Memphis and I absolutely loved Jersey Boys! There were songs in there that I didn’t realise I knew were originated by the Jersey Boys. I was singing the whole way through. …It’s very hard! 

What inspired you to go into musical theatre? What was the first musical you saw? 

I was born and raised in the church. There were a lot of times when we never had microphones, so we had to project, and so I grew up singing in a lot of big spaces, I think in some way, 

I’m drawn to them…. But it was Sharon who told me that she was approached by the Producers of Chicago the Musical when I was on X Factor in 2005, to come for an audition, so that was how I landed my first role in musical theatre, it’s such a pleasure, I feel so lucky to be able to perform in all these beautiful theatres. The first musical I saw was Thriller Live my friend and fellow x factor team mate Maria, was in the show. 

A dance scene from Hairspray The MusicalA dance scene from Hairspray The Musical

A dance scene from Hairspray The Musical

What do you consider your greatest achievement or highlight of your career away from the stage? 

I will always say my greatest achievement in life are my children, they are a real blessing. 
The highlight of my career would have to be recording my Debut Album Bring It Back, I’m very proud of the songs I wrote, and I feel it shows all sides of my personality. 

You’ve starred in some brilliant roles in Chicago and We Will Rock You amongst many other well-known productions; are there any other musical roles you would love to play? 

I really want to originate a role I would love to play Ursula if it ever came to the West End!  

If you could dance on any TV show, apart from The Corny Collins Show, which one would it be? And what would be your signature dance move? 

Strictly Come Dancing with the Jitterbug.  

A scene from Hairspray The Musical coming to Bristol HippodromeA scene from Hairspray The Musical coming to Bristol Hippodrome

A scene from Hairspray The Musical coming to Bristol Hippodrome

Hairspray was originally based on 1988 film by John Waters, if you could adapt any other film from the 1980s into a musical which one would it be?  

Coming to America that’s a very funny film   

Can you tell us a bit about your experience on The X Factor? How did it prepare you for the industry? 

I really enjoyed the show, there were a lot of rehearsals before each Saturday night live show, so you always had to be on your game, it was exciting as well as challenging at the same, so It isn’t very different to the stage, the live shows were in front of a studio audience. I think it really did prepare me mentally for this industry because you must have. 

A lot of people say to me “do you not get fed up of doing the same show year after year” but it’s not the same show, it because it is a different audience every night. The cast feed off the energy of the audience  

You demonstrated what many deemed as unwavering strength in the face of adversity; touring with Hairspray while battling cancer. How important is it to you to keep inspiring and educating others through raising awareness of this cause?  

It is very important if I hadn’t of spoken to somebody to feel the lump in the first place. I could be in a completely different situation right now, so it shows that talking is key, and that’, and if it makes just one person get checked out then I have succeeded. 

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