Loose Women star Brenda back on Sheffield Lyceum stage in hit show Hairspray

Loose Woman Brenda Edwards is one of the first actors back on stage at Sheffield’s Lyceum Theatre when it finally reopens following the pandemic closure in a star role in feelgood musical Hairspray.

Friday, 6th August 2021, 4:45 pm
Brenda Edwards as Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray
Brenda Edwards as Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray

Brenda plays Motormouth Maybelle in the show, which runs at the theatre from August 16-21.

The musical is set in the 1960s and heroine Tracy Turnblad has big hair, a big heart and big dreams to dance her way on to national TV and into the heart of teen idol Link Larkin. However, she faces prejudice because of her weight.

When Tracy becomes a local star, she is able to use her newfound fame to fight alongside TV personality and record store owner Maybelle for liberation, tolerance and interracial unity in Baltimore. But can she win equality – and Link’s heart – without denting her ‘do?

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Loose Women regular Brenda, who also presents TV show Songs of Praise, said: “It’s not my first time of playing this role. I’ve been invited back for the third time, playing this character who is larger than life with a serious side to her.

“She’s like the Oracle in The Matrix – all-knowing, all-seeing. Everybody comes to her for advice. She has got a big personality. I can relate to her in some ways.”

Brenda added: “I like her and the costumes that I get to wear for her. I have three fabulous costumes.

“She’s fun and she’s bubbly. I’m really having a lot of fun playing her. It’s nice that she owns a record shop, she’s an entrepreneur and a celebrity in her own right. It’s nice to be able to take that character on.

Katie Brace as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray

“I was very happy when I was offered to play the role for the third time. I don’t get bored of playing her. If you’re somebody who gets bored you shouldn’t be in musical theatre – you do the same thing eight times a week for months.

“In the times now it’s nice to play a character who comes with a message of trying to bring everyone together, of equality and unity and solidarity. It’s something we need more than ever in the whole world.”

We do – and something else we need is a chance to get together and have fun. Brenda said it was a thrill to be back on stage.

Brenda Edwards, centre, and the cast of Hairspray

“It was exciting to be back and see those faces. The first time we came out, just seeing all the masks just made you realise we’re in funny, testing times. You could see people ‘smising’ (smiling with your eyes), as Tyra Banks calls it. You can actually see the joy of people and hear the applause and people laughing behind the masks.

“People have been missing live entertainment – we need some release to get through what we’re still going through. It’s just so lovely. It was quite overwhelming coming out the first time.”

Brenda said they’ve had a standing ovation every single night.

She has been to the Lyceum in Hairspray and other shows and knows that “Sheffield audiences never hold back. I’m really excited to get to Sheffield – you guys sure like to party!

"Just watching people up and dancing in the aisles is great. Even that wasn’t allowed before.”

Brenda has to juggle her stage work with Loose Women - she said she had two TV shows last week, then had to drive straight back to the theatre she was appearing in, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

During our phone interview, we heard from her fellow Loose Woman Linda Robson. Linda said: “Don’t tell anyone but she’s my favourite Loose Woman! I’ve seen her in every production as well. I should be her agent but she wouldn’t give me the 10 per cent fee! She is absolutely gorgeous.”

Brenda responded: “She’s a lovely lady. She’s just so down to earth. A lot of relationships are made on Loose Women. I’d really miss it – 14 months is a long time not to do any shows.”

The former X Factor contestant has also found time to record an album, Bring It Back. Check it out at www.brendaedwardsglobal.com

*Book Hairspray tickets through the box office in person, by phone on 0114 249 6000 or at sheffieldtheatres.co.uk.

For information on Covid precautions, go to sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/your-visit.