Spotlight on Marisha Wallace: star of ENO's new Hairspray revival this autumn

Updated on 10 October 2023

After being rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic, "the hit with maximum lift" is heading to the West End's London Coliseum this September! Joining the London Hairspray cast as Motormouth is none other than American actress Marisha Wallace, who is perhaps best known for portraying Becky in the West End's Waitress musical. Here's everything you need to know about this shining star!

Marisha Wallace in the spotlight

Now widely known for her work on Broadway and in West End musical theatre, Marisha Wallace initially had humble beginnings before frequently treading the boards. Though she was born in a small town in North Carolina, she always longed for a life in the big city and kept her eyes on the prize!

Marisha Wallace biography

At just five years old, Marisha gave her first-ever stage performance at a church for Easter mass... and forgot the words! But that didn't stop her from chasing her dreams. She eventually went on to attend East Carolina University where she earned a BFA degree in Musical Theatre and Theatre Education. It was there at uni where she developed a heartfelt passion for acting, singing, dancing, and performing and later went on to perform in many shows all around the world.

What has Marisha Wallace starred in?

Marisha received her big theatre break when she was cast as Ado Annie in Oklahoma!, a role that earned her a Drammy Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Following her major stage debut, she was eventually cast in the first US nationwide tour of Tony Award-winning musical The Book of Mormon. After a year of being constantly on the road, Marisha moved back to New York City to fulfil her lifelong dream of becoming a huge Broadway star. Leaving Mormon behind, she joined the original company of Disney's Aladdin The Musical, in which she originated the role of the Fortune Teller.

Her next major role was that of Eggie White in the original cast of Something Rotten, in which she sang the iconic line: "And I am telling you I'm not going to be an omelette." Marisha's stunning voice can also be heard on Disney's Frozen Fever (2015), a short film based on the hit blockbuster Frozen (2013). Marisha's next role was that of Effie White in Dreamgirls at the Dallas Theater Center in Texas.

She later crossed the pond to become an American expatriate performer in the UK and even got her visa after hiring a lawyer, an expensive process which she admitted in an exclusive Q&A session for Lockdown Theatre [Direct] as being highly worth it in the long run. Since moving to London, Marisha Wallace has starred as an alternate and replacement for Effie White in Dreamgirls, Becky in Waitress, and now Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray The Musical... We definitely think she made the right decision!

An actress, singer, comedian, and teacher... Marisha Wallace is a quadruple threat!

In addition to her theatrical pursuits, Marisha Wallace is also an established recording artist and in 2017, she released her first Christmas album entitled Soul Holiday, which includes such festive hits as "Do You Hear What I Hear" and "Blue Christmas." Other songs of hers include her own powerhouse single "Fight Like a Woman."

Marisha was due to embark on a UK-wide tour entitled The Marisha Wallace Tour this year and had scheduled stops in London, Glasgow, Leeds, Lichfield, Cardiff Bay, and more before mass gatherings were banned and social distancing measures were put in place due to the pandemic.

Marisha is a natural comedian and currently remains active on social media despite the current situation, often posting hilarious TikTok videos on Twitter and even giving masterclasses during the lockdown. Be sure to catch her in Hairspray this September!

New 2020 Hairspray musical tickets on sale now from £24 and up!

Run and tell that! Tickets for the newly rescheduled run of Hairspray showing at the London Coliseum are on general sale! Booking for the show is now reopened after ticketholders for the spring run were given priority access for exchanges due to coronavirus. 

Marisha Wallace is set to grace the stage this autumn in Hairspray opposite Michael Ball and you simply won't want to miss it! All performances of Hairspray are currently scheduled to go ahead from 1 September until 8 November 2020! Get your Hairspray tickets today and save London theatre by seeing this spectacular star-studded production.

Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

Ephram is a jack of all trades and enjoys attending theatre, classical music concerts and the opera.