The summer is often a boom time for classic shows in the West End with tourists visiting London looking to see the best that the city has to offer. With many long running shows still playing to packed houses, there is always a great deal of choice, from the original productions of international favourites such as The Phantom of the Opera or Les Miserables, to modern classics such as Billy Elliot and Wicked.
Whilst many tourists flock to the city, more and more UK visitors are also choosing to spend their holiday in the Capital City, and even Londoners are going on 'staycations', using their precious holiday time to take in the many delights that the city has to offer.
For those looking to enjoy the best of London theatre, there are a number of high profile openings that should certainly be on your radar. Whether you're visiting London from abroad or elsewhere in the UK, or simply looking for some inspiration, we've rounded up the best brand new theatrical offerings opening this summer.
After an intense six week preview period this brand new musical finally opens in London's West End. Fans of the 2002 film will no doubt hope to relive the popular story and theatre fans will flock to see how yet another screen-to-stage adaptation compares to the original source material. Early word of mouth has been mixed – but this is a rare chance to see some beautiful Indian singing, colourful costumes and an impressive cast. Whether this new musical will hit the back of the net or score an own goal is yet to be seen, but if I were you I'd see it before the poster ends up on the wall at Joe Allen's.
Roll up for the annual revival of Oscar Wilde's most famous comedy of manners. If the memory of last year's travesty is still etched into your mind, head over to the Vaudeville for a classic production with a twist. Following on from successful productions in New York and Australia, the gimmick of this production is that the formidable Lady Bracknell is played by a man – and not just any man, the incomparable David Suchet. Fans of the quick witted comedy will no doubt enjoy this new take on such an iconic character – and I predict it will certainly be a hit.
In his centenary year, Frank Sinatra will be returning to the London Palladium, 65 years after he made his UK debut on the same stage in 1950. This production uses latest technology to show never before seen footage combined with a stunning orchestra, backing singers and dancers to give a nostalgic glance at the life of Old Blue Eyes himself. Described as a 'multi-media' concert, we're hoping for a hologram so impressive that we can convince Granny he never died at all...
Yet another Broadway musical import hits the West End with the arrival of the 2010 musical 'American Idiot', based on the Green Day concept album of the same name. The popular tunes have been strung together to tell the story of three disaffected young men who flee a stifling suburban lifestyle and parental restrictions in 21st Century America. Expect lots of angst, rocking costumes and impressive power vocals. BYO air guitar.
The Regent's Park Open Air Theatre return to doing what they do best – high quality revivals of classic musicals. This year's offering already has me quivering with anticipation as I can't wait to see Michael Kidd's famous Barn Dance recreated live in the beautiful atmospheric surroundings. True, the story may be heavily dated and verge on the wrong side of politically correct, but when the songs are as delightful as “Bless Your Beautiful Hide”, “Goin' Courtin” and “Spring, Spring, Spring”, it's easy to turn a blind eye to casual sexism. Alex Gaumond and Laura Pitt-Pulford lead this 'rootin' tootin' cast in what will hopefully be the biggest musical hit of the summer.
Hamlet: Barbican (opens 25 August, previews from 5 August)
One of the most eagerly anticipated productions of the year, if not decade, opens at the Barbican Theatre after months of discussion and excitement. Shakespeare's Hamlet starring Oscar nominee and 'Sherlock' star Benedict Cumberbatch has already proven to be the fast selling theatrical event in history – but for those unlucky folks who missed out on tickets you will be pleased to know that a limited number have been held back to be sold on the day. Grab your sleeping bags now and get in line at the Barbican to hear the immortal soliloquy uttered by one of Britain's biggest home-grown stars.