Theatre lovers have been getting a fix of live shows – well, kind of. THE SHOW MUST GO ON is a You Tube Channel put together with Andrew Lloyd Webber and given us all a West End and Broadway experience in our own homes, online for free. Tonight, it’s Ariana Grande and an all star cast in a three hour spectacular of HAIRSPRAY LIVE.

The YouTube Channel, for the first time ever, will make available a selection of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s best loved musicals. It started with the incredible and one of the most enduring shows of all time, JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOUR DREAMCOAT.

We’ve since been treated to Phantom, Cats and so many Llyod Webber classics.

Each show will be available weekly (from 7pm BST) for a limited 24 or 48-hour period online – no charge or sign up required – giving fans of musical theatre an opportunity to enjoy beloved shows, from their living rooms. Sadly, you’ve missed out on Joseph and other amazing shows, but the next one is equally brilliant.

Here’s Andrew Lloyd Webber making the original announcement at the start of lockdown.

Alongside full-length shows, clips of famous performances and behind-the-scenes footage will be uploaded regularly to the channel, so fans can continue to get their theatre fix at home.

This weeks is another crackers and one of those live events which have become all the rage of late. In the States they got a cast of huge names together and performed a live version of the musical HAIRSPRAY on TV. It’s quite an ask really. Not only have the performers got lines, dance routines and songs to learn, but there’s the added pressure of cameras and where to be at what particular point. The result however is spectacular.

Hairspray Live! tells the inspiring story of Tracy Turnblad (newcomer Maddie Baillio), a plump teen in 1962 Baltimore who wins a spot on a local TV dance program and ignites a campaign to integrate the show. The three-hour live event is directed by Tony Award®-winner Kenny Leon and features choreography from Tony Award®-winner Jerry Mitchell. The all-star cast includes Kristin Chenoweth, Harvey Fierstein, Ariana Grande, Derek Hough, Jennifer Hudson and Martin Short.

Hairspray itself has quite a history. The musical opened in Seattle in 2002 and moved to Broadway later that year. In 2003 Hairspray won eight Tony Awards, including one for Best Musical, out of 13 nominations. It ran for well over 2,600 performances, and closed on January 4, 2009. Hairspray has also had national tours, a West End production, and numerous foreign productions and was adapted as a movie back in 2007. The London production was nominated for a record-setting eleven Laurence Olivier Awards, winning four, including Best New Musical. It was in fact due to open again, with Michael Ball back playing Edna. We can only hope that will still happen once the world returns to some sort of normality.

Can you spot the face in the various productions? That is Ricki Lake in the original Broadway cast. As well as John Travolta, Zac Effron, Michelle Pffeifer and so many other names starred in the movie, which is also brilliant incidentally. And in London There was Michael and lots of familiar faces taking to the stage with him over the years.

As for tonight, you can watch the show below from 7pm or just head to THE SHOW MUST GO ON You Tube channel.

With a cast like that it can be nothing but spectacular, in fact we’ve seen it and believe us, it is. If ever there was an appointment to be sat in front of your TV, Tablet or phone, then tonights the night.

For fans who wish to make a charitable donation, a variety of organisations will be listed on THE SHOWS MUST GO ON full-length YouTube channel videos, including: Acting for Others, Broadway Cares and Actors Benevolent Fund. To book the best seats in the house (yours) just go here. SHOWS

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