Hairspray – not just what’s in the can!


Jill at Hairspray What a fabulous night out! How many times have I been? This was my third time seeing the award-winning musical  at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London. It's won so many awards, including Best Musical and an Olivier Award in 2008. It doesn't get any better than that.

A passion for musicals

Having spent many years on the West End stage in musicals it will always be my first love and this show is just a huge hit with an incredibly talented cast. You come out feeling on top of the world and singing all the tunes for days and days. It's a great night out, I promise.

Brian Conley and Jill Franks Brian Conley is Edna Turnblad

You may ask why I went to see it for a third time. Brian Conley took over from Michael Ball in the role of Edna Turnblad. I am a big fan of Brian's and had to see him fill the shoes of the very talented Michael Ball. I also happened to go to stage school with him.

My old schoolmate

Brian Conley was two years above me and always the comedian during class. He was always imitating the teachers and was so funny. You guessed it, he got away with murder as you just couldn't help but laugh.

I remember I had a night off from performing in 42nd Street at Drury Lane and took the opportunity to see him in Me and My Girl at the Adelphi. He was great in that too.

What shows have you seen recently that you can recommend?


  1. Martin A August 19, 2009 at 5:45 pm -  Reply

    hey jill do love when you on QVC !!
    i love musicals, i had no idea you were an actress .
    it makes sense now you are so funny always make me laugh”
    one of my faves is wicked which i saw in new york!!
    lots of love from ireland
    Martin A xxx

  2. Cheryl August 19, 2009 at 8:13 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jill,
    I can thoroughly recommend Mamma Mia, fabulous show, you come out with the real feel good factor. Was so good I want to go again. I also want to see Hairspray as I am a huge Brian Conley fan, see him in Jolson, absolutely amazing!

  3. Sandra Collinson August 20, 2009 at 2:20 am -  Reply

    I saw The Jersey boys, which was great, i’m a huge Franki Valli fan and the whole show had every one tapping their feet and singing along.
    I’m going to see Dream Boats And Petticoats next month, i love musicals, now i’m living in Scotland i only manage to get “down south” once a year but i love the buzz of the West End.

  4. Carolyn O’Donnell August 20, 2009 at 10:24 am -  Reply

    Hi Jill, I have seen Hairspray also but with Michael Ball which was FAB! I LOVE the West End and have seen : Dirty Dancing, Priscilla, Jersey Boys Lion King, Wicked, War Horse,Grease, We Will Rock You & Billy Elliot. My favourite, although they are all good so it is hard to choose would have to be…..Billy Elliot but I enjoyed then all. Keep up the good work xx

  5. kay grundy August 20, 2009 at 12:23 pm -  Reply

    Hi jill think Brian Conley is very funny unfortunately not seen enough of him on tv in recent years.Saw Hairspray in NEW YORK and the guy who played Edna was absolutely brilliant,seen Mamma Mia twice here and in New York,Jersey Boys was fantastic and going to see Dreamboats and Petticoats in a few weeks time so you can see I always prefer to see a musical in thetheatre!

  6. Angela August 20, 2009 at 9:40 pm -  Reply

    Ok that’s an easy question for me to answer – Wicked! I’ve seen it 4 times now and still want to see it again. It’s an amazing show and Stephen Schwartz is a genius! I thoroughly recommend this show – just leave me some tickets to go see it again!

  7. Karen Thompson August 20, 2009 at 11:45 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jill,
    I am a avid musical theatre fan.
    I go to the Wales Millennium Centre, in Cardiff Bay,South Wales. I recently saw Connie Fisher in the ‘Sound of Music at the WMC,and Amy Nuttall in My Fair Lady, and quite a few others.
    If you can get a chance to go to the Wales Millennim Centre, I recommend it as an experience. The Donald Gordon
    theatre is an amazing place.

  8. sue reed August 21, 2009 at 8:30 am -  Reply

    Hi Jill I love musicals and have just been to see The Lion King. It was amazing and one of the best I have seen. On honeymoon in London June 1985 I saw 42nd Street-were you in it? Unfortunately I have lost my programme so can not check the cast-I do remember Georgia Brown was in it and an American girl played the lead.Hoping to see Wicked, Hairspray, Sister Act soon.

  9. Jill Franks August 21, 2009 at 12:57 pm -  Reply

    Hi Martin
    So jealous you went to New York to see Wicked..
    Fab show..saw it in London with Kerry Ellis. Amazing.
    yep! like you Martin I’m Musical crazy.
    I trained as a singer and dancer. It was my life for many years and I had a ball.
    Lots of Love

  10. Jill Franks August 21, 2009 at 1:00 pm -  Reply

    Hi Cheryl
    Loved Mamma Mia too. I have seen it 4 times and play the CD full blast in my car..I am a huge Abba fan too..You have to see Hairspray..
    Lots of love

  11. Jill Franks August 21, 2009 at 1:02 pm -  Reply

    Great to hear from you. I went to the first preview of Jersey Boys and Like you loved it. What talent..
    I am dying to know what Dreamcoats and Petticoats is like, I have seen the ads for it everywhere. Sandra keep me posted on that one.#

  12. Jill Franks August 21, 2009 at 1:05 pm -  Reply

    My kind of Girl!!
    I loved War horse and Priscilla. I Laughed so much at Priscilla and am planning another trip. I havent seen Dirty dancing and The Lion King so will add those to my list

  13. Jill Franks August 21, 2009 at 1:09 pm -  Reply

    Hi Kay
    Wow some great shows you have seen. Let me know what you think of Dreamcoats and Petticoats. There is something special about seeing a show in New York. Do you remember Brian Conley’s Saturday night show when he played Dangerous Brian…so funny..Just loved it

  14. Jill Franks August 21, 2009 at 1:11 pm -  Reply

    Thanks Karen
    I will go there if i visit…I think Connie Fisher is fabulous and done so well. I haven’t seen the Sound of Music but I’ve heard she was fabulous

  15. Jill Franks August 21, 2009 at 1:22 pm -  Reply

    Hi Sue
    Can’t wait to hear what Sister Act is Like..I heard 2 ladies on the Tube talking about it the other week. They loved it..I was ear wigging the converstaion…naughty me!!
    I would have been in 42nd St when you saw it..I will post a few pics for you. I have them in storage at the moment as I am in between moving house..So bare with me. Georgia Brown is sadly no longer with us but she was fabuolus and a lovely lady too. The role was also played by Gill Gascoigne and Shani Wallis who was the original Nancy in the Film Oliver. You saw Clare play Peggy Sawyer, She came over from the USA to open the show. I had the best 4 1/2 years of my life at Drury lane …it’s scarey to think I was only in my early twenties at the time. But I have amazing memories…Its a very stange feeling when I go to Drury Lane and see shows, as it always feel like home as I spent so many hours there. Lots of Love Sue. P.S Dont forget to post me on Sister ACT..

  16. Sarah August 26, 2009 at 6:58 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jill, Just come back from a weekend in London with my 12 year old son and we saw Wicked and Carries War, Both were excellent. We have also seen Lion King, Joseph and Cats. Hoping to pop up again in the Christmas Hols not sure what we will try and see then. Perhaps Grease.

  17. Kiu Mok August 29, 2009 at 12:26 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jill,
    If its musical theatre you want then you must go and see PRISCILLA its brilliant šŸ™‚ – the best thing Jason Donovan has been in!!!
    also my sisters both recommend Sister Act

  18. Louise September 10, 2009 at 12:20 pm -  Reply

    Jersey Boys is one of my favourite shows. I know all the words by heart so it was nice to remember again in your post. Thanks for bringing back some fond memories about Jersey Boys . This weekend Iā€™m going to visit my sister and we get pretty good tickets to attend it again so I’ll be analyzing as well as enjoying that show. I know that I will enjoy every blessed minute of it!

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