8 jukebox musicals we'd like to see in the West End
Love them or hate them, jukebox musicals are a major part of the theatre landscape. In the last two weeks, we’ve seen Bob Dylan-themed Girl from the North Country win two Oliviers, the world premiere of Tina the Musical, and the return of Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell to London.
We’ve had a little think about some musicians we’d like to see with their own musical in the West End, what the show-stopping numbers might be, and what plot of these musicals might be; whether they are bio-musicals or based on original storylines*.
*We are not professional playwrights, story ideas are extremely underdeveloped, but we are open to accepting royalties if they do come to London.
Why? Not only did they produce one of the biggest-selling albums of all-time with Rumours, but the tales about the band's relationships would make for a great storyline.
Plot: Set around the Rumours recording sessions, the musical could focus on the strained relationships that formed the basis of the band’s second album, which is the eighth-biggest-selling album of all-time. The period saw the band’s two couples - John and Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham – both on the verge of collapse as the band soared to new heights.
Showstoppers: “Go Your Own Way”, “The Chain”
Why? One of the most distinctive voices of the 21st century, Amy Winehouse’s songs transported many back to the times of Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha Franklin. Plus, Back to Black is a masterpiece.
Plot: Despite passing at such a young age (joining the likes of Kurt Cobain and Jimmi Hendrix in the 27 Club), Winehouse had a publically troubled life, from her relationship with Pete Doherty to the alcohol and substance abuse that eventually consumed her.
Showstoppers: “Rehab”, “Love is a Losing Game”
Why? Jay-Z’s 2007 album American Gangster explores gangster culture and borrows has influences in 70s funk and soul, inspired by 2007 crime film of the same name which could be thrillingly played out on stage. A musical could also feature some Beyonce songs too, for added star power.
Plot: Group of American gangsters are forced to travel to Paris to strike a deal with a druglord.
Showstoppers: “Show Me What You Got”, “99 Problems”
Why? Both Johnny Cash’s powerful music and soul-bearing lyrics are what made one of the best-selling musicians of all-time. His music would be perfect for atmospheric Girl from the North Country-style arrangements.
Plot: Stage adaptation of the 2005 biopic Walk the Line, which was based on Cash’s life and told the story of his romance with wife June and rise to legend of country music.
Showstoppers: “Folsom Prison Blues”, “Hurt”
Why? Britain’s Queen of Soul has provided us with some of the biggest tearjerkers of the past decade, and a musical could give an up-and-coming actress a real breakthrough role.
Plot: Modern-day retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in London. Because why not?
Showstoppers: “Hello”, “Set Fire to the Rain”
The Rolling Stones
Why? They’re a band that introduced themselves on stage as the “World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band”, so could they lend their songs to the World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Musical?
Plot: The Stones formed in London in the 1960s are were at the forefront of the British Invasion, but even though they’re still filling stadiums almost 60 years later, they suffered early on through the death of founder member Brian Jones (also a member of the 27 Club). A bio-musical could delve deep into their career.
Showstoppers: “Satisfaction”, “Rocks Off”
Why? Allen’s unique brand of in-your-face, London-pop could suit a grittier story at a smaller-scale show at a venue like Southwark Playhouse. It would certainly be a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Plot: In a similar vein to Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, a coming-of-age story about a teenage girl growing up in London.
Showstoppers: “F*ck You”, “Somewhere Only We Know”
Why? British prog-rockers put on stadium shows more theatrical than anything you’ll ever see, so a stage show would be full of lasers, lights and pyro. Plus, their music is naturally orchestral and has the capacity to sound huge.
Plot: Group of young revolutionists decide that humanity’s only hope is to escape the planet and start afresh on Mars, where they become space cowboys. Or something as outlandish.
Showstoppers: “Uprising”, “Knights of Cydonia”