The show I’m probably most excited for is Jason Robert Brown’s Songs For A New World, playing at the St James Theatre from the 22nd July. It weaves together a range of characters in the space of a 90 minute show; from the deck of a Spanish sailing ship to the top floor of a New York apartment. I’m a big fan of Jason Robert Brown, composer of some of my favourite musicals including Parade and The Last Five Years. He has a really distinctive style of writing and I love his piano-orientated scores and beautiful, emotive lyrics. His shows are far too infrequently performed in the UK, which makes this 20th Anniversary production all the more exciting.
Following on from the success of disco-musical Here Lies Love last year, Rufus Norris’ first season at the National Theatre includes a new British musical, wonder.land. Based on Lewis Carroll’s classic tale Alice in Wonderland, it follows 12 year old Aly and her alternate online persona, Alice, as her real and online worlds collide. The concept of this seems quite confusing, but I think the show will be an interesting exploration of the relationship between how people are seen in real life and the way they are online. An additional element of this show that makes it so intriguing is the fact the music comes from Blur lead vocalist Damon Albarn and I’m looking forward to seeing what influence this has on the style of music in the show.
Another New York import set to take the West End by storm is Kinky Boots, moving in to the Adelphi Theatre from the 21st August. Set in a struggling Northampton factory which finds a new lease of life when it starts making high-heeled boots for men, the British-based location of the show and its success on Broadway (winner of the Tony award for best musical in 2013) will be sure to attract audiences. The recently announced cast is also impressive; I’m especially looking forward to seeing Olivier award nominee Killian Donnelly play Charlie. I’ve loved the soundtrack to this show for ages, and the performance of 'Everybody Say Yeah' at the 2013 Tony awards made me so excited about this show that I got up before 9am to buy tickets for the first preview!
Soon to be showing at Leicester Square’s Arts Theatre is Off-Broadway smash, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. My attention was initially drawn to this following the announcement of its cast; I’m a new fan of Simon Lipkin following his incredible performance as the Proprietor in the Menier Chocolate Factory production of Assassins, and I’m really interested to see Gina Beck perform following her time in Wicked. Following the ups and downs of a stereotypical relationship, this show aims to answer some of life’s great unanswered questions and it definitely seems to have all the makings of a really funny night at the theatre.
So there we have it! Four new musicals from the West End to the Southbank that I just can’t wait to see this year.