Top theatre to see in London in January

Find out the best shows to see in London in January 2024, including exciting new plays, big West End musicals, and Hollywood A-listers coming to town.

Marianka Swain
Marianka Swain

The best way to start off your new year is with plenty of new shows! Happily, London is as busy as ever when it comes to great plays, musicals, comedy, cabaret and more, so you can find loads of enticing options in the West End and beyond in January 2024.

A new play from Jez Butterworth, who gave us Jerusalem and The Ferryman, is a definite event, so you won’t want to miss The Hills of California. Another hot ticket is the transfer of Broadway hit Plaza Suite, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, while Rodgers and Hammerstein fans will cheer the return of The King and I.

Alan Cumming brings his cabaret show to Theatre Royal Drury Lane, and over at the Old Vic, you can experience an incredible moment in history with the new Live Aid musical Just For One Day. Plus there’s amazing 1990s nostalgia on offer thanks to the Cruel Intentions musical.

Book tickets to London shows in January on London Theatre.

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Just For One Day, Old Vic

Turn back the clock to a very special day in July 1985, when the whole world was united by music. New musical Just For One Day tells the story of how the Live Aid concert raised an incredible $127 million for famine relief, with simultaneous performances at Wembley Stadium in London and the John F Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia.

John O’Farrell writes the book, Luke Sheppard directs, and the show features the incredible Live Aid music that billions of people watched – from Bob Dylan, Queen and David Bowie to Diana Ross, Status Quo, Bryan Adams and more.

Book Just For One Day tickets on London Theatre.

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The King and I, Dominion Theatre

Bartlett Sher’s glorious, Tony-winning revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I is back in the West End, this time starring Helen George (Call the Midwife) as the intrepid governess Anna Leonowens, and Broadway star Darren Lee as the King of Siam.

See this ravishing musical in an epic production, and enjoy all of those wonderful Golden Age songs – including “Getting to Know You,” “Something Wonderful,” “I Have Dreamed,” “Whistle a Happy Tune” and, of course, “Shall We Dance?”

Book The King and I tickets on London Theatre.

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Plaza Suite

Plaza Suite, Savoy Theatre

This brilliant revival of Neil Simon’s comedy broke box office records during its smash-hit Broadway run, and is now set to take London by storm. Check into the Plaza Hotel and follow the complex love lives of three different couples in this funny, poignant and riveting show.

It’s a rare chance to see the real-life couple Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick on stage together. Parker, of course, is beloved for Sex and the City – she’s making her West End debut in Plaza Suite. Broderick, a two-time Tony winner, is back following his 2019 London performance in The Starry Messenger.

Book Plaza Suite tickets on London Theatre.

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The Hills of California, Harold Pinter Theatre

This new play from Jez Butterworth is set in Blackpool during the heatwave of summer 1976. The story begins when the Webb sisters return home to the family’s rundown, backstreet guest house where their mother is dying.

Butterworth reunites with director Sam Mendes, who last brought to life his Olivier and Tony-winning The Ferryman, for this intriguing premiere. The cast features Laura Donnelly (who also starred in The Ferryman), Ophelia Lovibond, Leanne Best, Helena Wilson, Bryan Dick, Shaun Dooley and Corey Johnson.

Book The Hills of California tickets on London Theatre.

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Kim’s Convenience, Park Theatre

Ins Choi’s award-winning show about a Korean family-run convenience store in Toronto became a success in Canada back in 2011 and then reached a global audience when it was turned into a TV sitcom and aired on Netflix (the cast included future Marvel and Barbie film star Simu Liu).

Now London audiences can experience the original version of this thought-provoking and heart-warming story about the immigrant Mr Kim and his difficulty relating to his Canada-born children in Park Theatre’s staging of the show, once again starring Choi.

Book Kim’s Convenience tickets on London Theatre.

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Alan Cumming Is Not Acting His Age, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

The star of stage and screen, whose wide range of roles include his Tony-winning Emcee in Cabaret, movies such as GoldenEye, Burlesque and X2, and TV series like The Good Wife and Schmigadoon, brings his new cabaret show to the West End.

At 58, Alan Cumming celebrates his joie de vivre with an eclectic set list – Kander and Ebb, of course, but also contemporary song and even some original material riffing on botox. Cumming also shares hilarious stories from his life.

Book Alan Cumming Is Not Acting His Age tickets on London Theatre.

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Cruel Intentions: The ’90s Musical, The Other Palace

The iconic movie update of Les Liaisons Dangereuses featured a who’s who of 1990s talent: Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Selma Blair, plus a scene-stealing Christine Baranski. Now Cruel Intentions is reborn as a tongue-in-cheek stage musical.

This production, previously seen in New York and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, celebrates the 25th anniversary of the film. Watch manipulative step-siblings Sebastian and Kathryn compete in their sexual power games, accompanied by ’90s favourites like The Verve, R.E.M., Britney, TLC, and much more.

Book Cruel Intentions: The ’90s Musical tickets on London Theatre.

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Othello, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

It’s the 10th anniversary season of the Globe’s candlelit indoor space, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, and what better play to make use of its atmospheric intimacy than Shakespeare’s great domestic tragedy, Othello?

Ola Ince, who created the Globe’s stirring Romeo and Juliet in 2021, returns to direct this provocative contemporary update. She moves the action from 16th-century Venice to modern-day London, all the better to explore pressing topical issues like institutional racism and toxic masculinity.

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Afterglow, Southwark Playhouse

Back by popular demand, S Asher Gelman’s acclaimed Off-Broadway play returns for an encore run at Southwark Playhouse, where it had its UK premiere in 2019. Gelman is once again directing his raw, funny and sexy modern love story.

A cast featuring Peter McPherson, James Nicholson, Victor Hugo and Paddy Cavendish tell this tale of Josh and Alex, who are married but in an open relationship, and how a threesome redefines and challenges their whole dynamic.

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Rehab the Musical, NEON 194

There’s another chance to catch this new British musical by Grant Black, Murray Lachlan Young and Elliot Davis, which premiered at the Playground Theatre in 2022, as it comes to NEON 194.

Pop star Kid Pop winds up in rehab following a tabloid sting, but will he actually embrace a second chance? The cast includes Keith Allen, Mica Paris, Maiya Quansah-Breed, Christian Maynard, Jodi Steele and Oscar Conlon-Morrey.

Book Rehab the Musical tickets on London Theatre.

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