Regular visitors to London who enjoy the city’s outstanding theatrical offerings are always after something new. Are you one of them? Even if you’re not, you may be tempted by one or more to be found on this dynamic and intriguing A-Z list of new musical shows to be staged in the capital this summer – and beyond.
(Running until 11th February 2017; Prince Edward Theatre, 28 Old Compton Street W1D 4HS)
Already a gigantic, blue genie-sized hit Stateside, Disney’s Broadway musical adaptation of one of its most beloved modern animated movies arrives in the West End offering top tunes and breath-taking visuals that are sure to sweep you up and away on its marvellous magic carpet-ride, taking you to, yes, a whole new world.
(5th August-10th September; Southwark Playhouse, 77-85 Newington Causeway SE1 6BD)
Poorly received when first staged back in the 1940s and rarely revived it may be, but don’t let that put you off, because this is a little seen treat from the musical giants of American theatre that were Rodgers and Hammerstein. Featuring a plot that follows four decades in the life of an ‘Average Joe’, this new version of Allegro is brought to London by the multi-award winning team behind the likes of recent West End hits Grand Hotel and Titanic.
(9th July-25th September; Arts Theatre, 7 Great Newport Street WC2H 7JB)
An explosive, double Tony award-winning Broadway musical from rock giants Green Day (which boasts several songs from their album of the same name and whose plot centres around many of the themes explored on that album), this London version actually played at the same venue last year – now it’s back by popular demand for a likely just as successful stint at the classy, cool Soho theatre. If you’re tempted by this most modern of new London musicals, then like many of the theatres featuring on this list, its venue’s located very centrally in the city, so terrifically easy to get to – especially if you’re staying in the vicinity at somewhere like, say, the Piccadilly hotel.
An American in Paris
(4th March-30th September 2017; Dominion Theatre, 268-269 Tottenham Court Road W1T 7AQ)
Another Tony award-winner, this stage version of the classic Oscar-winning movie musical starring Gene Kelly has been acclaimed by the New York Times as ‘a perfect integration of dance, romance and classic Gershwin’. Don’t doubt it; it’s stylishly, energetically and compellingly staged and features some of the greatest tunes from the Great American Songbook. Beware then, it could have you hoofing in the aisles yourself!
Babes in Arms
(20th July-7th August 2016; Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre Pub, 55 Hoe Street E17 4SA)
You’ll need to be quick to catch this intimate but perfectly-formed take on the classic Rodgers and Hart musical about a bunch of teenagers who put on a show one summer to prove their mettle – and learn a great deal about themselves and the world around them. But be sure to do so; it sounds like a little gem.
(Running until 4th September; Lyric Hammersmith, King Street, Lyric Square, W6 0QL)
Speaking of little gems… a perennial favourite in schools up and down the country for decades, this splurge gun-tastic musical never was a stage show originally, you might be surprised to learn; its classic 1976 cinematic version being what kicked off the whole kids-as-American-gangsters-directed-by-drama-teachers craze. But what fun it is anyhow. Why not treat the kids by popping down to Hammersmith to watch a professional production of this firm family favourite during the school holidays – and discover just how we all can be ‘good guys’ or, for that matter, ‘bad guys’?
Death Takes a Holiday
(3rd December 2016-21st January 2017; Charing Cross Theatre, The Arches, Villiers Street WC2N 6NL)
Hosted at this exquisite little theatre (boasting a maximum capacity of just 265 seats), this recently debuted off-Broadway musical takes for its inspiration a 1920s Italian play that was a few years later adapted into a Hollywood film of the same name and then in the 1990s remade as the Brad Pitt starrer Meet Joe Black, its story concerning Death ‘himself’ deciding to become mortal to discover, out of sheer curiosity, why human beings value life so much – only for him to fall in love…
Jesus Christ Superstar
(15th July-27th August; Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Inner Circle NW1 4NU)
A perfect if unusual summer treat, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s seminal rock opera that offers up an acerbic account of the last days of JC celebrates its 45th anniversary this year, thus it’s something of a centrepiece of this season’s slate at the fantastic outdoor theatre venue to be found in the elegant environs of Regent’s Park. To be honest, this venue’s worth the visit whatever might actually be playing – so this one really might be unmissable.
A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer
(14th October-29th November; Dorfman Theatre at the National Theatre, Stage Door Avenue, SE1 9PX)
A brand new no-holds-barred musical take on the real cancer experience that peels back the poster campaigns and looks beyond sporting pink ribbons to reveal the reality of the disease – from waiting rooms to chemo suites and changed bodies to family pressures and financial worries. Not for the faint hearted.
(8th September-22nd October; The Cockpit Theatre, Gateforth Street NW8 8EH)
And, finally, described by its accompanying blurb as a ‘modern fable of our time, a dark interpretation of one of humanity’s oldest stories’, this brand-spanking new offering takes a look at the doomed life and career of a fictional rock star in the manner of Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse – all of whom died at the age of, yes, 27 years-old. Could be special and will certainly feature some terrific rock tunes.