Bra-vo! Leanne lands star role

A DANCER from St Ives found out that she was starring in the new West End musical Hairspray when her bra started vibrating. Leanne Jones, who stars as Tracy Turnblad, the lead role in the show, had been through seven recalls for the part. At the time, sh

A DANCER from St Ives found out that she was starring in the new West End musical Hairspray when her bra started vibrating.

Leanne Jones, who stars as Tracy Turnblad, the lead role in the show, had been through seven recalls for the part.

At the time, she was working in the office of the Halifax Building Society and was not allowed to have her mobile phone on.

"I put it on vibrate and stuffed it down my bra - when it started moving, I ran to the bathroom to take the call," she said.


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"If you have got the part, they will tell you the next day or the day after, so when the phone rang at lunchtime, I guessed what it was.

"I went to the bathroom and called my agent. I came out crying and with a swollen face, but I couldn't tell anyone why. I just said, it's all right, I'm happy."

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Leanne, 22, is starring at the Shaftsbury Theatre with comedian Mel Smith playing her dad, Wilbur, and singer Michael Ball playing her mum, Edna - the part played by John Travolta in the film.

"They are awesome," she said. "They are so cool and they have been really looking after me - Michael taught me how to take a bow.

"Mel Smith is amazing he lights up the stage. I have learned a lot from watching him. They are both very supportive."

Leanne was a pupil at St Ivo before studying performing arts at Impington Village College and then taking a three-year degree at Mount View Drama School.

She took two unpaid parts in fringe shows, Enchanted in Pontefract Castle (part of the Liquorice Festival) and The Karaoke Wedding at the Union Theatre in London.

She said: "It's a showcase for you. You have to make your own luck, you work for free and invite people to see you in the show and that is how I got an agent - and my agent got me the audition for Hairspray."

Leanne had been seen 13 times before she finally landed the plum part.

"I went for auditions in 2005 but the show was postponed and I went back to drama school. Then the director called me for an audition for the movie.

"I did a screen test but I didn't hear anything and once an audition is over, you just put it to the back of your mind. When I went for the auditions again this year, I tried not to get too excited."

In the end, the recalls took place within two weeks while the American producers were in London.

Leanne, a former pupil of the Guitart School of Dance in St Ives, has always wanted to be a performer, as does her brother, Simon, who is working front of house for the show Spamalot.

Leanne, too has paid her dues, working in a jewellery shop at Liverpool Street station in London as well as teaching dance at Impington Village College.

Speaking to The Hunts Post just hours before the first preview on Thursday, she said: "I am nervous but I have a contract for a year and I am so excited about this part I can't imagine ever wanting to do anything else."

INFORMATION: Hairspray is at The Shaftsbury Theatre from Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm with matinees on Thursday and Saturday at 3pm. Previews until October 30. Tickets, from £20 to £60, from 0207 379 5399.

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