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.

Sara Bareilles ready to bring Waitress to London?

It’s the delicious new musical that became the crème de la crème of Broadway, but Sara Bareilles has confirmed Waitress is looking to transfer to the West End.

Waitress, which is based on the 2007 film of the same film which is about a waitress called Jenna who is the victim of an abusive relationship, premiered on Broadway in 2016 and is set to open in Sydney in 2020.

Responding to one fan’s frustrations about the musical not yet cooking up a storm in London, composer Bareilles said: “We are working on it my dear! We are hopeful for a home very soon! London is so high on our wish list... we just need a theater!”

The musical, which starred Jessie Mueller who won a Tony Award for starring in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, was written by Bareilles, who achieved entered the mainstream consciousness with her hit “Love Song” in 2007.

You can read more about Waitress on Broadway over at our partner side, New York Theatre Guide.

Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day to repeat itself in the West End in 2018?

Ever since it premiered at The Old Vic in London in 2016, the rumour mill has been rife with talk about if and when Tim Minchin’s musical Groundhog Day would be returning to London.

The musical, based on the 1993 film about a weatherman who is stuck reliving the same day over and over again, won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best New Musical and ran on Broadway for 176 performances at the August Wilson Theatre.

Its limited run at The Old Vic opened in July 2016 and ran until September the same year, and fans have been longing for a West End return of the show ever since.

Well now, Tim Minchin has implied that the show may be coming back to the capital, or returning to the UK for a national tour.

Responding to a fan who tweeted asking if the show would be “unrecognizable in London or on tour”, Minchin replied “No ma’am. The show will be exactly the show you love”.

Minchin also confirmed that there were no longer plans to tour the show around the US, as was initially intended.

So no details on dates or a venue as of yet, but Groundhog Day could be on its way back to London to run again and again and again and again and again and again and...

The Bee Gees
New Bee Gees jukebox musical in the works?

It’s been confirmed that a new bio-musical about the rise to fame of the Bee Gees is in the works, and could be eyeing a place in the West End.

Universal Theatrical Group is the team behind huge West End musicals such as Wicked and Billy Elliot, and will collaborate with the Bee Gee’s sole surviving member, Barry Gibb, who will be an executive producer on the show.

The as-yet-untitled musical will tell the story of how the pop group spring to fame in the ‘70s with a string of hits including “Stayin’ Alive”, “How Deep is Your Love” and “Night Fever”, all of which we can expect to hear in the show.

While no creative team or details regarding venues of dates have been announced, given the success of similar musicals such as Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and Jersey Boys (as well as the upcoming Tina Turner musical), this is a show we can hope will land in the West End at some point in the coming years.

Sting musical The Last Ship to sail into the West End?

Following the news that a UK tour of the Sting musical The Last Ship is set to tour the UK next year, it could be eyeing a transfer to London’s West End late next year.

With music and lyrics by Sting, and a book by John Logan and Brian Yorkey, The Last Ship is inspired by the singer’s childhood in Wallsend in Tyne and Wear, and its connections with the shipbuilding industry. It tells the story of the community as the shipyards in the area begin to close, focussing on the Swan Hunter shipyard.

The musical premiered in America and opened on Broadway in 2014 at the Neil Simon Theatre starring Michael Esper and Rachel Tucker, with Sting joining the cast himself as Jackie White for a six-week period. The musical was nominated for two Tony Awards: Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations.

Now, a UK tour of the musical produced by Northern Stage has been announced, starring original Broadway cast member Jimmy Nail. Directed by Lorne Campbell, it is set to begin its tour at Northern Stage in Newcastle in March, before heading to Liverpool, Birmingham, Northampton, Leeds, Nottingham, Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, York and ending in Salford in July.

The show is also produced by 59 Productions whose recent West End stage work includes Oslo at the National and the Harold Pinter Theatre, An American in Paris at the Dominion Theatre and City of Glass at the Lyric Hammersmith.

The Last Ship tried out in Chicago before the Broadway production, and has also had productions in Salt Lake City and Finland, but it has been yet to dock in the UK. With its intrinsically British storyline, a successful touring production could make its way to a West End theatre in time for the summer of 2018.

Photo courtesy Mark Savage for Northern Stage

Rock of Ages
Rock of Ages to strut back into the West End?

Rock jukebox musical Rock of Ages could be returning to the London stage soon.

Last week, the production shared a video teasing the show’s return with the tagline “Here We Go Again”. The video is available to view on the musical’s website.

Featuring hits spanning several decades of modern rock music (but focussing on the 1980s), Rock of Ages told the story of a “small town girl” who falls for a “big city rocker” who fall in love in a famous LA rock club. It includes the songs “I Wanna Know what Love Is”, “We Built This City”, “Dead or Alive” and “The Final Countdown”.

Dates, casting and a venue are yet to be announced.

The production premiered in Los Angeles in 2005 before transferring to Broadway in 2009 where it became the 29th-longest running show in Broadway history after 2,328 performances. The original Los Angeles cast included comedian Chris Hardwick, musician Kyle Gass (one-half of the band Tenacious D with Jack Black), and Laura Bell Bundy, who originated the role of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde.

It came to the UK in 2011 when it ran at the Shaftesbury Theatre. It starred Wicked actor Oliver Tompsett, X Factor winner Shayne Ward, Avenue Q actor Simon Lipkin, comedian Justin Lee Collins and Amy Pemberton, known for her role in Doctor Who. After a run at the Shaftesbury, it transferred to the Garrick and ran until November 2013. It then embarked on a UK tour in 2014, finishing at the New Wimbledon Theatre in November 2014.

So do you wanna rock? Can’t fight the feeling? Well, don’t stop believing, sign up to out newsletter to hear the latest news about Rock of Ages’ return.

Spice World
Spice Girls musical Viva Forever! to return to London?

Is it what you really, really want? Mel C has sparked rumours that Spice Girls musical Viva Forever could make a comeback. 

Written by Ab Fab star Jennifer Saunders, the musical opened in December 2012 and featured the girl group’s biggest hits, including "Who Do You Think You Are", "Wannabe", "2 Become 1", “Spice Up Your Life” and the title track. It centred around Viva, who finds herself in the public spotlight overnight as she auditions for a TV show with her band. 

The production ran at the Piccadilly Theatre, and starred Hannah John-Kamen, Sally Ann Triplett, Siobhan Athwal and Lucy Phelps. Viva Forever wasn’t received well by the critics, and was closed after six months. 

However, it could be making a comeback. Talking  about the musical to Gay Times, Spice Girl Mel C said:  I think, at some point, yeah – at some point, I think. The music lends itself so well to musical theatre and I just think, at some point, we will [bring it back].

"It's something we talk about. We'd really love to make that work and for people, not only in London to enjoy it, but tour it and take it international. We'd love to do that.”

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Kristin Chenoweth to star in Soapdish Musical in London
Kristin Chenoweth to star in Soapdish Musical in London

Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth has announced via Watch What Happens Live that she is set to star in the new Stiles and Drewe musical adaptation of Soapdish in London.

Soapdish is based on the 1991 film directed by Michael Hoffman and written by Robert Harling and Andrew Bergman that tells the backstage story of a cast and crew working on a popular fictional television soap opera. The film starred Sally Field, Kevin Kline, Robert Downey, Jr, Whoopi Goldberg and Teri Hatcher.

George Stiles and Anthony Drewe have together written the musicals Just So!, Honk!, Soho Cinders as well as providing new material for Mary Poppins and the current London production of Half a Sixpence.

Soapdish the musical first had a reading in New York back in 2010 with Gavin Creel and Sally Ann Triplett and was last workshopped in 2012 with Kristin Chenoweth starring alongside Jane Krakowski. It is thought that the musical might have its London premiere at The Other Palace Theatre in Victoria which has recently opened as a home for new musical theatre.

Kristin Chenoweth shot to fame after creating the role of Glinda in the original Broadway production of Wicked. Her recent Broadway credits include a revival of On the Twentieth Century and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown for which she won a Tony Award.

Further information about Soapdish the Musical are yet to be announced. Sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date!

Mary Stuart starring Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams in West End bound.
Mary Stuart starring Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams is West End bound?

Following the news that the Almeida Theatre are transferring their current production of Hamlet starring Andrew Scott to the West End's Harold Pinter Theatre, actress Juliet Stevenson has said on Twitter that the venue's previous production of Mary Stuart is heading to the West End in 2018 from January to March. 

Mary Stuart was a new production of Schiller's political tragedy adapted by Robert Icke, starring Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams who both played the leading roles, deciding before the performance with a coin toss who would play Mary and who would play Elizabeth. The production ran at the Almeida Theatre in north London from 2 December 2016 to 21 January 2017.

"Two queens. One in power. One in prison. It’s all in the execution. Schiller’s political tragedy takes us behind the scenes of some of British history's most crucial days..."

The production was greeted with five star reviews, including an Editor's Pick from London Theatre:  "They're each thrilling in both roles: Stevenson the more inscrutably regal, Williams the more conflicted and quixotic. The production offers complexity and detail throughout, with some stunning supporting performances from a brilliant ensemble cast." 

Further casting and information about the West End transfer of Mary Stuart is to be announced.

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Could Andrew Scott's Hamlet find a West End home?
Could Andrew Scott's Hamlet find a West End home?

In an interview with The Sunday Times this weekend it was rumoured that the Almeida Theatre's current production of Hamlet starring Andrew Scott could find a new home in London's West End. The production, which is directed by Robert Icke, sold out performances at the north-London venue almost immediately, and continues to attract attention due to the presence of the Sherlock star in the title role.

Reviews for the production have generally been mixed, with London Theatre commenting that Scott "rises to the challenge succeeding primarily at the intellectual and haunted side of the Danish Prince" but "rarely feels spontaneous or off the cuff".  The Guardian commented that the production was "cool, clever, chic and has some good ideas, but also some that strike me as eccentrically wrong-headed" which The Telegraph called it  "more Elsi-snore than Elsinore". 

The production, which currently runs over four hours, could follow in the footsteps of the Almeida's West End transfers of Ghosts and Oresteia at Trafalgar Studios and American Psycho the Musical which went on to transfer to Broadway.

No West End venue for this new production of Hamlet has been suggested, but keep your eyes peeled for further news...

UPDATE 28/03/17: Confirmed! Read the full story

Cilla the Musical
Could Cilla the Musical head to London's West End?

It has been announced that Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield will present a new musical about the life and legend of Cilla Black, based on the critically acclaimed ITV mini-series that followed the early life of Cilla Black and starred Sheridan Smith. The musical will open in Cilla's hometown at the Liverpool Empire in September 2017 ahead of a UK tour, but could the West End soon be on the cards?

Cilla - The Musical is described as "a spectacular and heart-warming musical" that follows the extraordinary life of the ordinary teenage girl from Liverpool, Priscilla White, and her rocky, yet incredible, rise to fame. By the age of just 25 she was recognized as international singing star Cilla Black. By the age of 30 she had become Britain’s favorite television entertainer headlining series’ of Blind Date, Surprise Surprise and many more. It will feature a string of Cilla's greatest hits including "Anyone Who Had a Heart", "Alfie" and "Something Tells Me" as well as contemporary sounds of Liverpool including The Beatles and The Mama and The Papas.

It was also announced that producers would be holding open auditions to find the role of Cilla, mirroring the way she was "plucked from obscurity before becoming the iconic Liverpudlian songbird."

Written by Jeff Pope and directed by Bill Kenwright and Bob Tomson, Cilla the Musical will tour to Edinburgh, Milton Keynes, Southampton, Birmingham, Blackpool, Stoke and Manchester. It will have a London run at the New Wimbledon Theatre, but hopes are a West End production could be in the pipeline.

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