West will take on the role, played on the big screen by Divine and John Travolta, when the musical opens in San Diego, California, on November 17. The tour will visit more than 60 U.S. cities. West will be joined by Niki Metcalf and Toneisha Harris, who will play Tracy Turnblad and Motormouth Maybelle respectively, in the cast ensemble.
"This is the role I've always wanted," West, real name Andrew Levitt, says. "Edna's journey as a character is a journey I've been on - not seeing how beautiful we are on the outside, not trusting we are worthy, being ashamed of ourselves. It's a journey many of us go on, right?"
Sharing her thought on what the production will offer, West states, "I think a show like 'Hairspray' is going to allow us to celebrate, reconnect and refocus." She adds, "The role allows me to bring Nina, a drag character I've been cultivating for 20 years."
"It also allows me to be Andrew and celebrate that part of myself as an actor doing the work," West goes on elaborating. "I've really leaned into being very vulnerable with people and allowing myself to be pretty honest."
Director Jack O'Brien has also weighed in on the production. "With the renewed, refreshed energy of the unforgettable Nina West as Edna and a whole new generation of wildly talented kids across the board," he gushes, "we cannot wait to raise the various roofs once more with dance, joy, music, and that glorious, famous, energy-packed score! Come feel great and grateful once more!"