London Theatre Gossip & Rumours

Contains news that has not been officially confirmed (such as date of opening etc.) or has been reported as a possibility! If a rumour materialises then it will be removed from this page and put on the main listings.

If after a long period nothing more is reported concerning a particular rumour then it will be deleted from this page.

Sleepless in Seattle
Sleepless in Seattle the Musical heading to London's West End?

Producers of Sleepless in Seattle the New Musical have announced via the show's official website that the UK premiere of the musical, which takes place in March 2017 at the Theatre Royal Plymouth, will find its way into the West End following a try-out in both Plymouth and Dublin. Audiences are invited to see the show 'prior to the West End', with an 'all star cast to be announced'.

The musical is based on the popular 1993 comedy film of the same name which starred Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. According to the show's official synopsis: "Sparkling with all of the charm, romance and wit of the much loved movie, Sleepless is the heart-warming tale of Sam who moves to Seattle with his eight–year–old son Jonah, following the tragic death of his wife. But when Jonah phones a radio show and gets Sam to talk about his broken heart and sleepless nights live on air, he suddenly finds himself one of the most sought after single men in America and a great news story for feisty journalist Annie on the opposite side of the country. It looks like love is in the airwaves, but how do you know if someone is the one for you when you’ve never even met..."

The UK production is being produced by Michael Rose and David Shore in association with Marc Toberoff, The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Dublin and the Theatre Royal Plymouth. Sleepless in Seattle — The Musical had its world premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse in spring 2013 and featured a script by Jeff Arch and David S. Ward, and a score by Ben Toth and Sam Forman. Casting and creative team for the UK production are yet to be announced.

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42nd Street London
Could 42nd Street hot foot its way to London's West End?

Rumours are flying that the upcoming Théâtre du Châtelet production of classic Broadway musical 42nd Street could find a home in London's West End following a run at the Paris venue from 17 November to 8 January 2017. The musical, which features a score by Harry Warren and Al Dubin, tells the rags to riches tale of chorus girl Peggy Sawyer who finds herself plucked out of the ensemble and thrown centre stage to save a brand new musical. With a score of hits including "Lullaby of Broadway", "About a Quarter to Nine", "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" and "We're In The Money", this new production is directed and choreographed by Stephen Mear and stars West End favourites Alexander Hanson, Ria Jones and Dan Burton. With such a celebrated West End cast and creative team attached, could London soon be hearing those dancing feet? 

UPDATE 05/08/2016: Confirmed! Read the full story

Imelda Staunton
Imelda Staunton to star in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

The Daily Mail have reported that Olivier Award-winning actress Imelda Staunton is in "very early talks" to star as Martha in a West End revival of Edward Albee's 1962 [almost] Pulitzer Prize-winning play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Produced by Sonia Friedman, with direction by James Macdonald, the production is apparently one of many options that the 'Gypsy' and 'Harry Potter' star is considering, along with a Broadway transfer of Jonathan Kent's production of Gypsy in 2018 - if a theatre with the correct orchestra pit can be found.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? presents the breakdown of the marriage of a middle-aged couple, George and Martha who invite a younger couple, Nick and Honey to their home following a university faculty party. The play has been revived numerous times on Broadway and around the UK, and is well-known due to the film version which starred Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

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Nice Fish Mark Rylance
Mark Rylance and Louis Jenkins' Nice Fish heading to London?

The Daily Mail have reported that Olivier, Tony and Oscar-winning actor Mark Rylance will return to the West End later this year as Nice Fish transfers to London this November.

Written by Mark Rylance and Louis Jenkins, the play ran this Spring at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn, New York, following a run at Minnesota's Guthrie Theater and A.R.T. in Cambridge, Mass. The play takes place at the end of the fishing season on a frozen lake in Minnesota, where two men travel out to the ice and find themselves contemplating life's big questions. The text brings together the prose poems of Louis Jenkins with original writing by Rylance. The New York production starred Mark Rylance as Ron, Jim Lichtscheidl as Eric, Louis Jenkins as Wayne, Bob Davis as the DNR Officer and Kayli Carter as Flo.

More details with exact dates and theatre location are expected to be announced shortly.  

UPDATE 08/07/2016: Confirmed! Read the full story

Waitress Musical
Waitress the Musical heading to the West End?

The Daily Mail have reported that the Tony nominated Broadway musical Waitress is looking to transfer to the West End in early 2017, following high grosses and sold out houses in New York. Producer Barry Weissler and director Diana Paulus are apparently in talks to find an appropriate theatre, for what the paper described as "one of the most successful shows, after Hamilton". 

The musical, which features a score by five-time Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, choreography by Lorin Latarro and direction by Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus, opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in April following a run at the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) in Cambridge MA. It was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Musical, losing out to Hamilton.

Based on the 2007 film of the same name by Adrienne Shelly, Waitress follows pie maker Jenna who finds herself stuck in a small town and a loveless marriage. Faced with an unexpected pregnancy, she fears she may have to abandon her dreams of opening her own pie shop, and starts on a journey of self discovery and resilience. 

No further details about dates or casting have yet been announced.

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Gary Barlow searching for new Musical talent
New Take That Musical Heading to London?

Take That frontman Gary Barlow doesn't seem content enough with having two musicals running in the West End next year, as The Girls and Finding Neverland open in London. It has been announced that a new musical featuring the songs of Take That will open in 2017 and will tour the UK, but could London also be on the cards? 

The show will be called 'The Band' and has been created in association with Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald. It will be cast via a BBC1 series named 'Let it Shine', which will scour the country in the hope of finding five performers to head up the leading cast. The TV talent search marks a return to the format by the BBC who previously ran similar competitions to find Dorothy and Nancy in new West End productions of 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'Oliver!'. 

The new series is hosted by Mel Giedroyc and Graham Norton and will see Barlow joined by guest mentors each week. Auditions will begin around the country in July and August, with filming for the series starting in September. In a casting call video, the BBC have called for  people who “can sing and move as well as the original members of the group”.

The West End has previously seen a Take That musical, as Never Forget ran at the Savoy Theatre from 7 May to 15 November 2008 and featured the band's greatest hits alongside an original story.

Which shows are rumoured to be coming to the West End in 2016?

We take a look at the new productions, UK transfers and Broadway transfers that could land in London's West End in 2016, including 'Finding Neverland', 'An American in Paris', 'Fun Home', 'Show Boat', 'The King and I' and 'Dreamgirls'. Read our full feature here!

Frank Sinatra
ATG to develop stage musical biopic of Frank Sinatra

The Ambassador Theatre Group has announced plans to produce a brand new stage musical based on the life of the legendary singer Frank Sinatra, in partnership with Stewart Till and Frank Sinatra Enterprises. In a press statement released today, ATG announced plans for script development for the Frank Sinatra musical to begin shortly, with an aim to open in 2018.

The musical is set to feature a number of hit songs from Sinatra’s incredible catalogue of over 1400 tracks recorded during his illustrious career. Adam Speers of Ambassador Theatre Group said: “Frank Sinatra was the greatest singer of the 20th century and one of the world’s most iconic show business legends. I’m delighted to be working in partnership with Stewart and Frank Sinatra Enterprises to bring his incredible journey to the stage". Described as a "musical dramatization of Mr. Sinatra’s life and art" the show will be biopic in nature, drawing on the singer's early life, career and rise to global fame.

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Tom Hooper to direct film adaptation of Cats?

Following on from his success with the film version of Cameron Mackintosh's 'Les Miserables', director Tom Hooper is reportedly in discussion to bring Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1981 musical to the big screen. It has been reported that he is currently developing the film for Universal Studios and Working Title, with production aimed for a 2017 or 2018 start date. It's not known if the film will use CGI animation, humans, or even real cats, but it's certainly going to be a project that gets people talking. The musical originally ran in London for 21 years, and returned to the West End in 2014 and 2015. The Broadway production originally opened in 1982 where it ran for 18 years, and the first revival is set to open at the Neil Simon Theatre on 2 August 2016. 

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Could Big the Musical transfer to London?

A new production of the 1996 flop Broadway musical Big by David Shire and Richard Maltby, Jr is opening at the Theatre Royal Plymouth in November 2016 and is advertising itself as a 'pre-West End' production. The musical is an adaptation of the 1988 Tom Hanks film, and was originally directed by Mike Ockrent with choreography by Susan Stroman. The show had a troubled out of town tryout and Broadway engagement, despite strong marketing links with FAO Schwartz, the Toy Shop featured in the film which is known for its scene with the big piano. The trials and tribulations of the show's journey to the stage were documented in Barbara Isenberg's diary 'Making it Big'. The new production reflects the changes made to the show ahead of its US National Tour, and are now part of the official licensed version.

The UK premiere at the Theatre Royal Plymouth will star Strictly Come Dancing winner and The Wanted vocalist Jay McGuiness as Josh. No official plans for a West End production have yet been announced, but it is thought the show may transfer in a similar way to 'Elf' in 2015, which also opened at the Theatre Royal Plymouth and the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin. 

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