Coming Up In The West End: What Not To Miss, Spring 2016
| By Liz Dyer
Well, that’s that. Miss Saigon, one of my favourite shows, has closed its doors after a spectacular couple of years. I hope Broadway know what an amazing show they’re getting… (If they don’t appreciate it, we’ll happily have it back. Just saying.)
And Miss Saigon isn’t the only musical that’s saying farewell; Bend It Like Beckham has also closed, and Billy Elliot will be leaving the West End in the next few weeks, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has announced that its recent extension to January 2017 will be its last.
But luckily we have lots to look forward to, including a couple of exciting transfers: Guys and Dolls moves to the Phoenix Theatre from 19th March and Funny Girl, starring Sheridan Smith, will take its place at the Savoy from 8th April.
And here are a few of the other fantastic musicals arriving in London over the next couple of months:
Miss Atomic Bomb - 7th March, open now!
Miss Atomic Bomb is a brand new musical comedy starring Catherine Tate, Simon Lipkin and Dean John-Wilson at the St James Theatre. Based on real events, it’s set in 1952 and tells the story of a farm girl who moves to Vegas and enters the Miss Atomic Bomb beauty contest. Since most West End musicals these days seem to be either revivals or based on movies, it’ll be great to see an original show, especially with such a great cast.
Sunset Boulevard - opens 1st April
Then again, revivals can be pretty exciting too… In April, Hollywood legend Glenn Close will make her West End debut in style, as she reprises her Tony award winning role as reclusive silent movie star Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard. I grew up listening to Glenn Close’s version of With One Look, but never expected to have a chance to see her on stage - so this is really exciting.
Show Boat - opens 19th April
Another revival, this one of the 1927 show by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, following life and love aboard the Cotton Blossom, a Mississippi show boat. It’s often considered one of the most influential musicals of the twentieth century, because it was the first attempt to move away from musical comedy and write a serious play that included musical numbers. Though the show’s been revived many times, this will be the first production in the West End for nearly 20 years.
The Go-Between - opens 27th May
So much to be excited about with this one. A new British musical from David Wood, with music by Richard Taylor. A classic story, based on the 1953 novel by L.P. Hartley. And the return to the stage of another legend - the original Phantom of the Opera, Michael Crawford. He plays Leo Colston, a man tortured by the secrets of his past, in the show’s West End premiere at the Apollo Theatre.
Aladdin - opens 27th May
Also starring Miss Atomic Bomb’s Dean John-Wilson (he’s got a busy few months ahead), Disney’s hit Broadway musical touches down at the Prince Edward Theatre on 27th May. Featuring the songs and characters we know and love from the movie, Aladdin mixes romance, action and comedy in a spectacular show for the whole family. And sure, it might not have a helicopter, but it does have a magic carpet, which is almost as good.
So much to look forward to! Which of these exciting musicals do you most want to see?