Celebrate 2023 with new West End theatre
What better way to kick off your New Year than with a new show? Happily, London theatre has you covered. There are loads of brilliant productions to choose from – including some very recent arrivals, some exciting upcoming prospects in early 2023, and plenty of acclaimed shows from 2022 that you can catch up with before they finish their runs in the West End.
You can also choose the new show that suits your mood as you crack open a fresh diary and start ticking off your New Year resolutions. If you’re still in the festive spirit, you might fancy a starry pantomime. Or perhaps one of your resolutions is to support new musicals – or to see more plays. Whichever you choose, you’ll definitely beat the January blues.
Read on for our guide to the best new shows to see in London for the New Year.
Fresh from its Tony Award-winning triumph on Broadway, the National Theatre’s acclaimed epic play opens in the West End in 2023 with a brand-new cast: Michael Balogun, Hadley Fraser and Nigel Lindsday. That trio plays the Lehman Brothers, who founded the notorious company that changed the world – as well as numerous other characters. It’s true tour-de-force theatre.
Book The Lehman Trilogy tickets on London Theatre.
Or perhaps you want to begin your New Year with something completely different! The most talked-about immersive theatre show of recent times comes from the legendary company Punchdrunk, and you still have a chance to catch it in spring 2023. The Burnt City plunges you into an astonishing version of the Greek tragedies and the fall of Troy, where surprises lurk behind every corner and the gods watch on.
Book Punchdrunk: The Burnt City tickets on London Theatre.
Jenna Coleman (also of Doctor Who fame) and Aidan Turner (Poldark) star in Sam Steiner’s surreal bite-sized romcom – a memorable hit at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe. The Twitter-esque dystopian premise is that a law is passed limiting everyone’s speech to 140 words a day, challenging this couple’s already fractured relationship and communication. Josie Rourke directs this eye-catching January opening.
It wouldn’t be a New Year’s celebration in London without a jaw-dropping Cirque du Soleil spectacular at the Royal Albert Hall – and 2023 is no exception. Kurios introduces you to a genius steampunk Victorian inventor and his cabinet of curiosities. Expect amazing acts like the Russian cradle duo, aerial bicycle, contortionists, human pyramids, and a giant trampoline.
The 2022 Olivier Award winner for Best New Musical, this joyous production is 1.21 gigawatts of thrilling entertainment. If you haven’t yet seen Marty McFly, Doc Brown and that time-travelling DeLorean in action live on stage, plus a rocking score, then make sure you add it to your New Year’s resolutions: it’s a brilliant outing with either friends or family.
Book Back to the Future: The Musical tickets on London Theatre.
Doctor Who and Sherlock guru Steven Moffat made an impressive stage debut with this dark comedy about a couple who meet an American woman on a cruise – and then despair when she invades their home. Mark Gatiss co-writes and directs this Chichester transfer, featuring Reece Shearsmith, Amanda Abbingdon and Frances Barber: sure to be a popular West End booking this January.
Here’s a sweet treat for lovers of star bakers, Hollywood handshakes and soggy bottoms: a musical version of TV favourite The Great British Bake Off heads to the West End in spring 2023. The show follows a fictional crop of contestants (plus some characters who might just remind you of Bake Off’s judges), with original songs by Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary. On your marks, get set… book!
Book The Great British Bake Off Musical tickets on London Theatre.
Hitting the headlines is the Disney musical Newsies, which makes its long-awaited UK premiere just before Christmas in a new in-the-round staging. You can catch it early in 2023, too, and follow the incredible tale of the real-life newsboy strike which started a youth revolution. With rousing songs and propulsive dance routines, it’ll inspire you to seize the day.
Book Newsies tickets on London Theatre.
January sees the exciting official opening of new feminist musical Sylvia, about another revolutionary: the rebellious Pankhurst sister who fell out with her fellow suffragettes – and family members – while pursuing a socialist agenda. Kate Prince’s bold hip-hop production stars Beverley Knight, Sharon Rose and Alex Gaumond, with music by Josh Cohen and DJ Walde.
Need a really good laugh to begin your year? Then look no further than Michael Frayn’s utterly brilliant Noises Off, which sees a chaotic theatre company trying to stage a creaky sex farce. The more trouble they get into, the funnier it is for us. This 40th-anniversary production, which comes hurtling into London in January, stars Felicity Kendal, Tracy-Ann Oberman and Matthew Kelly.
Another intriguing new musical, which opens just before Christmas and continues into the New Year, is this dramatic account of the life of South African freedom-fighter Nelson Mandela. It’s created by Laiona Michelle, Greg Dean Borowsky and Shaun Borowsky, and stars two musical theatre stalwarts: Michael Luwoye (Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton) as Mandela, Danielle Fiamanya (cover Elsa in Frozen) as his wife Winnie.
Book Mandela tickets on London Theatre.
The 2021 Strictly Come Dancing champion and Deaf actress Rose Ayling-Ellis makes her West End debut in Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, alongside Leah Harvey, Alfred Enoch and Martha Plimpton. This production, which opens pre-Christmas and runs until late January, is the first in-house show for London venue @sohoplace – so you can experience a whole new theatre too.
While most pantos will have done their final “He’s behind you!”, this special run of Mother Goose in London continues until late January, then goes back on tour. Even better – you can see none other than Sir Ian McKellen playing the pantomime dame, alongside John Bishop and Anna-Jane Casey. It’s the best way to keep that Christmas cheer going for a bit longer.
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