Touring can be tough, but former The X-factor auditionee Brenda Edwards is bringing it on stage every night with the high-energy show Hairspray, while battling breast cancer. What’s On spoke to her as the show reaches Kent.
Hairspray star Brenda Edwards takes to the stage despite a personal battle
You previously toured with Hairspray – why did you come back? It really helped to get me through, what I was going through, when after the first half of the tour, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. The songs in the show are uplifting in so many different ways and performing in the show helped me not to focus on the chemotherapy. One of the songs that I sing and especially drew strength from, was I Know Where I Have Been, the words already had so much meaning to me, and throughout the rest of the tour helped me to stay positive and keep thinking of brighter days! So I guess to me it was very therapeutic and just what I needed. I obviously haven’t been doing much exercise over the last year so I’m finding it a bit harder this time. I’m absolutely loving it, the cast are so talented, I’m enjoying getting to know everyone. But it’s great – it’s so much fun and the energy! The energy levels are so high all the way through.
Describe Hairspray in three words and tell us what to expect from it.
Bigger, brighter and beautifuller! I love it! Audiences can expect energy, a lot of laughs some fantastic songs played by a phenomenal band, while at the same time listening to the message which I think is so current. I know, I am sounding like I am a 1960s hippy, but I just wish everyone would just spread the love and get on with one another, I think that’s what this show embodies no matter what race, size or opinions in the end it’s all about coming together and showing a united front.
Tell us about Motormouth Maybelle, your character.
Having a son and daughter of my own, I could relate to her nurturing, strong, protective side where she has to be in charge and then there is the entertaining side, where she plays her music and has fun with everyone. The songs she sings are just fabulous! She has a big personality just like me, so I think it’s a perfect role.
What inspired you to go into musical theatre?
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. But it was Sharon [Osbourne] who told me that she was approached by the producers of Chicago the Musical when I was on The X-factor in 2005, to come for an audition. I feel so lucky.
Brenda Edwards and the cast rehearse
Hairspray is coming to the Orchard Theatre in Dartford