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Book tickets to summer shows in the West End

Marianka Swain
Marianka Swain

The sun is out, and that means the West End summer theatre season will soon be upon us! If you’re looking to catch some of London’s great shows during your holiday – or staycation – then you’re in luck: this is a particularly good year for hot, hot, hot summer productions.

Of course, there are the annual outdoor theatre experiences at Shakespeare’s Globe and Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, plus the amazing pop-up Underbelly Festival, all of which allow you to combine soaking up the sun with fantastic plays and entertainment.

But the British weather isn’t always reliable, so it’s definitely worth having some indoor options too. And there’s a real wealth of those in summer 2022, including the welcome return of last summer’s musical hits, some tantalising revivals of classic shows, and several Hollywood A-listers coming to our stages. So, if you’re looking for theatrical inspiration, here are some of the hottest summer shows in London that you can book for today.

Anything Goes - 750 - LT - 220422

Anything Goes

It was one of the most perfectly joyful theatrical treats in summer 2021, and now it’s back for more. Cole Porter’s feather-light musical is set aboard a luxury ocean liner sailing from New York to London. Among the passengers are stowaway Billy Crocker, who’s in love with heiress Hope Harcourt. She’s engaged to a British aristocrat, while nightclub singer Reno Sweeney has feelings for Billy. Add in gangsters pretending to be missionaries, Billy’s boss and a heap of disguises, and you get a glorious madcap comedy.

Even better, the show is packed with Cole Porter songs: “I Get A Kick Out of You”, “You’re the Top”, “Blow, Gabriel Blow” and the great title number. Joining the tap-dancing sailors in this encore production are Kerry Ellis, Denis Lawson, Simon Callow and Bonnie Langford, while Samuel Edwards, Carly Mercedes Dyer, Nicole-Lily Baisden and Haydn Oakley reprise their roles. All aboard!

Book Anything Goes tickets on London Theatre.

The Seagull - 750 - LT - 030322

The Seagull

Jamie Lloyd’s Chekhov revival finally opens in the West End following Covid delays. This promises to be a bold update, using Anya Reiss’s contemporary adaptation. The story takes place on a country estate, where the once-famous actress Irina Arkadina is holidaying with her lover, writer Boris Trigorin. Arkadina’s son Konstantin presents a performance of his modern play, starring neighbour Nina, but Arkadina finds it ridiculous. We then get a mass of romantic entanglements: schoolteacher Semyon is in love with Masha, who longs for Konstantin, who loves Nina, who becomes involved with Trigorin.

This celebrated tragicomedy is being staged with an exciting cast, including Emilia Clarke – aka Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones – making her West End debut in the role of Nina. She’s joined by fellow Game of Thrones actress Indira Varma as Arkadina, plus Tom Rhys Harries, Daniel Monks and Sophie Wu.

Book The Seagull tickets on London Theatre.

My Fair Lady - 750 - LT - 270422

My Fair Lady

Wouldn’t it be loverly to have a sumptuous new London revival of Lerner and Loewe’s musical? Well, Bartlett Sher is giving us just that, transferring his acclaimed Broadway production to the London Coliseum. Revisit the compelling story of linguistics professor Henry Higgins attempting to teach Cockney flower seller Eliza Doolittle elocution – and forming a surprising bond in the process. Meanwhile, Eliza picks up a suitor in Freddy Eynsford-Hill, but feels caught between two worlds.

The cast features Amara Okereke as Eliza, Harry Hadden-Paton as Henry Higgins, Vanessa Redgrave as Mrs Higgins, Maureen Beattie as Mrs Pearce, and Sharif Afifi as Freddy. The English National Opera orchestra will accompany them in delivering those unforgettable songs, such as “Wouldn’t It Loverly?”, “Just You Wait”, “I Could Have Danced All Night”, “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face”, “On the Street Where you Live”, and “Get Me to the Church On Time”.

Book My Fair Lady tickets on London Theatre.

Bad Jews - LT - 750 - 240322

Bad Jews

Joshua Harmon’s incendiary black comedy was a huge hit in London in 2015, returning for a West End season in 2016, and is now back for a much-deserved encore run. It centres on two warring cousins, who are thrust together following their grandfather’s death: the ferociously devout Daphna, and the self-labelled “bad Jew” Liam, who is dating gentile Melody. Trapped in a small Manhattan apartment, along with Melody and Liam’s brother Jonah, the pair embark on a furious, and startlingly funny, war of words.

As well as giving us a scenario that we can all relate to – either being part of or witnessing a family feud that spirals out of control – Harmon’s play digs into specific issues around Jewish identity, faith and heritage, while also tapping into grief and intergenerational tension. This strictly limited 11-week run will be helmed by revival director Jon Pashley.

Book Bad Jews tickets on London Theatre.

Amy Adams  - 750 - LT - 030322

The Glass Menagerie

Tennessee Williams’ heartbreaking semi-autobiographical memory play features a coveted role among actresses: the monstrous mother Amanda Wingfield. She is a faded Southern belle living in a dingy apartment with her two children who constantly recalls her debutante days and pressures her shy, unwell daughter Laura to land a suitor – or a “gentleman caller”. The story is narrated by Tom, the character based on Williams, an aspiring writer who longs to escape his family, yet feels guilty about abandoning them.

Six-time Academy Award-nominated Hollywood star Amy Adams, known for films like Doubt, The Master, Junebug, Enchanted, American Hustle and Arrival, will make her West End debut as Amanda in Jeremy Herrin’s revival. Joining Adams in the cast is Lizzie Annis as Laura, Victor Alli as their visitor Jim, and, in an interesting creative choice, two actors sharing the role of Tom: Paul Hilton and Tom Glynn-Carney.

Book The Glass Menagerie tickets on London Theatre.

Sister Act - 1200 - LT - 180322

Sister Act

Find your own slice of musical theatre heaven this summer at Sister Act in London. The popular story of a jazz lounge singer who joins a convent will be newly updated for this upcoming production. Thanks to a script update, the role of Deloris Van Cartier is now played by an older actress. We're in for a treat with the Olivier-nominated actress Beverley Knight in the lead role. She's supported by a set of starry sisters, including Keala Settle, Lesley Joseph and Lizzie Bea.

Sister Act in London is at the Eventim Apollo for just two months, ahead of a nationwide tour. Join the musical congregation this summer and raise your voice!

Book Sister Act tickets on London Theatre.

David Harbour - 750 - LT - 270422

Mad House

It's not just musical spectacles opening in the West End this season. Over at the Ambassadors Theatre, see David Harbour and Bill Pullman in the world premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s play, Mad House. Not much is known about the new play, however the storyline will follow a family as they decide how to split their dying father's possessions.

The Mad House play promises to be a dark comedy with controversial topics of conversations. That's unsurprising given the show's creative team: director Moritz Von Stuelpnagel previously helmed the puppet comedy Hand to God. So we're expecting a great deal from this play, and you can see it first in London this summer.

Book Mad House tickets on London Theatre.

Beauty and the Beast - 750 - LT - 270422

Disney's Beauty and the Beast

This summer will see four Disney musicals concurrently running in the West End. Beauty and the Beast joins Frozen, The Lion King and Mary Poppins in the London Disney roster. The charming musical follows a young woman named Belle as she finds herself with a group of animated household appliances for company. While in her new abode, she falls in love with the Beast and Belle ultimately transforms him. All the Beauty and the Beast songs remain: "Be Our Guest," "Human Again," "Gaston" and more. Prepare for the tale as old as time to take over this summer.

Find out more about Disney's Beauty and the Beast on London Theatre.

Photo credit: Anything Goes (Photo by Marc Brenner)

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