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...
Rumoured West End shows we want to see in 2017
After looking back at our favourite shows of 2016 we decided to compile our very own Santa list of shows that we hope to see in the West End in 2017.
It has been quite the year for rumours flying with Broadway transfers on the cards as well as new shows trying out around the UK ahead of a hopeful West End run. Whilst we're certainly excited about what's already confirmed for the next twelve months we couldn't help speculating about which shows are rumoured to be coming to London in 2017 - from Broadway transfers to original home-grown hits. Below is our round-up of shows that we'd love to see hit the West End throughout the next twelve months. Fingers crossed - 2017 may just be the biggest year for new theatre yet!
Based on the 1988 comedy film of the same name starring Tom Hanks, this 1996 musical by Maltby and Shire may finally make the leap to the West End in 2017 following an out of town tryout in Plymouth and Dublin. Billed as 'prior to the West End' this brand new production is directed by Morgan Large and stars Strictly Come Dancing winner and The Wanted vocalist Jay McGuiness alongside Gary Wilmott, Diane Vickers and Jessica Martin. The show certainly has an interesting and troubled performance history following its Broadway debut where it ran for just 193 performances, but this UK premiere is based on the more successful US National Tour version of the show. With a giant piano, a slightly inappropriate relationship and ounces of 'Fun', 2017 could finally be the time for this much loved story to hit the West End.
Sleepless the Musical
Continuing the trend for films on stage, Nora Ephron's 1993 film 'Sleepless in Seattle' is the latest romantic comedy to receive the musical theatre treatment. Opening in Plymouth before runs in Manchester and Dublin, the musical is reportedly heading to the West End with its stars Danny Mac and Carley Stenson who lead the cast opposite Jennie Dale and Cory English. Having been in development since 2009, Ben Toth and Sam Forman's musical version premiered at California's Pasadena Playhouse in May 2013 and is now ready to take UK audiences by storm in a new production written by Michael Burdettmusic by Robert Scott and lyrics by Brendan Cull. A much loved rom-com it's certainly a strong title and market that will appeal to fans of nostalgia and new musical theatre lovers.
Comedy legend Mel Brooks confirmed earlier this year that his 2007 Broadway musical Young Frankenstein is heading to the West End in 2017, following an opening at the Newcastle Theatre Royal. Aiming to strip the production down from the 'overblown' original, this new "streamlined version" will once again be directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Susan Stroman. No words on cast or further creative team have been leaked, but it is thought that actors are falling over themselves to work with Brooks and bring this much-loved comedy to life in the UK. Opening the show in Newcastle in August 2017, we may be lucky enough to see the show grace London before Christmas next year.
They're creepy and they're spooky and they're going on tour. Andrew Lippa's musical version of everyone's favourite macabre comic strip family is hitting the road in 2017 beginning at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre in April. Starring Samantha Womack as Morticia, Carrie Hope Fletcher as Wednesday, Cameron Blakely as Gomez, and Les Dennis as Uncle Fester this UK premiere is already set to be one of the most exciting shows on the touring circuit and could potentially end up in the West End. With a bouncy score by Andrew Lippa and a hilarious book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, this is one new musical you won't want to miss.
The Hunger Games
Production team Imagine Nation and Lionsgate announced last year that they would be bringing a live stage adaptation of the hit franchise to London in Summer of 2016 in a brand new purpose built venue in Wembley Park, next to the Wembley Arena. Using immersive and innovative staging techniques, the show is expected to be a spectacle like no other, bringing the brutal world of Panem (a dystopia where representatives battle to the death in order to be the last person standing) to life live on stage. Word has since gone cold on the project, but planning applications submitted to the council have shown that the wheels are certainly in motion for what could be a brand new style of theatrical entertainment. May the odds ever be in its favour that it will hit London sometime in 2017.
The Royal Court Theatre announced their 2016 season with a new play from Jez Butterworth as the jewel in its crown. Directed by Sam Mendes and with commercial producers attached, there's certainly an extended life expected for this new play that has already sold out at the Sloane Square venue. Set in rural Derry in 1981 this new drama is set in the Carney farmhouse is a hive of activity with preparations for the annual harvest. A day of hard work on the land and a traditional night of feasting and celebrations lie ahead. But this year they will be interrupted by a visitor...Butterworth returns to the Royal Court following his hit play The River and the multi-award winning Jerusalem in what is sure to be one of the biggest new plays of 2017. Watch out for it on Shaftesbury Avenue in 2017.
Five Guys Named Moe
It was originally thought that a revival of this Olivier Award-winning entertainment would run in London at a site-specific venue in 2016, but the venue itself was withdrawn. Underbelly Productions in association with Cameron Mackintosh presented the musical at the Edinburgh Festival with a cast that included Cameron Johnson, Jacob Maynard, Matt Mills, Emile Ruddock, Spin and Mitchell Zhangazha. The show was put on the back burner, but will hopefully land in London sometime in 2017 in a new purpose built venue.
Gary Barlow's televised search for a musical theatre boyband begins next year as the Take That front man leads a new BBC show aimed at casting his latest new musical. The musical is reportedly about an original boyband but will use the songs from the Take That catalogue. The programme is named 'Let is Shine' and will be hosted by Graham Norton and Mel Giedroyc and feature in the Saturday night primetime slot. Barlow recently launched the musical, seeking men with “charisma, showmanship and stage presence” to put themselves up to audition for the role. The exact details of The Band are not yet known, but it is thought that the new musical could tour before a stop in the West End.
After an impressive run in London's West End where it concluded performances at the Garrick Theatre on 7 November 2011, the talk on the Rialto is that Kander and Ebb's legendary musical may head back to the West End for a limited run. Now Broadway's longest running revival of all time, the production, which originated at the Encores! City Center, has been enjoyed by millions of audience members around the world. Thanks to the Oscar winning film in 2002 the show has widened its appeal. Currently on UK Tour, the musical may just make a pit stop in the West End in 2017. Watch this space.
Broadway continues to house shows with the most West End potential. Producing a show in New York is significantly more expensive and riskier than opening in London, and once shows have achieved a credible level of success, eyes begin to turn across the pond to see what potential a second market may have. Many shows however take their time to mount a London production, and few come in direct from Broadway - only those shows that appear to have little-to-no changes, such as Kinky Boots, The Book of Mormon and Beautiful seem to get fast-tracked. There are countless examples of over-eager Producers misreading the market and finding shows that worked successfully on Broadway don't find an audience in the UK. Examples such as 'The Drowsy Chaperone' and 'Spring Awakening' are two of the biggest recent flop transfers. Adversely, sometimes a production that didn't fare quite so well in New York can be given a new lease of life in London, for example 'Legally Blonde', which delighted audiences at the Savoy Theatre, but only ran for 595 performance on Broadway.
The past two Broadway seasons included a number of sure-fire hits that are continuing to pull in huge grosses at the box office, but which of these could we potentially see in London in 2017? With Hamilton already confirmed to open in October 2017, which other Broadway shows could London be expecting to see?
After opening on Broadway to great acclaim earlier this year where it earned a Tony nod and accolades for the all-female core creative team, this hit musical is apparently in talks to head to London. With a score by five-time Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, choreography by Lorin Latarro and direction by Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus, Waitress is based on Adrienne Shelly's 2007 film of the same name and 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. With a knock-out original score, fun design and a moving story, Waitress continues to be one of the biggest hits in New York, and would be a welcome addition to the West End. Let's hope whichever theatre it ends up in can replicate the front of house pie oven that fills the auditorium with the smell of fresh pies before every show...
Although the show was formally announced for London in 2017 Gary Barlow and James Graham's musical seems to have hit a stumbling block in its journey to the West End, with talk of it still looking at coming to the West End but no formal dates or theatre announced. The musical opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway in April 2015 and managed to defy its reviews and press to pull in excellent grosses, appealing to families and new theatre audiences. Barlow certainly has his work cut out in 2017 with the opening of The Girls at the Phoenix Theatre alongside his BBC talent search for a boy-band musical, but audiences never seem to tire of the Peter Pan franchise, with Peter and the Starcatcher but with Barlow's name having much more recognition in the UK, we're confident that Peter Pan will land in the West End once again sometime this year.
This five-time Tony Award-winning musical was the Broadway smash-hit of 2014 and transferred from a modest production off-Broadway complete with an incredible cast and astute direction. Based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, the musical features a wonderful score by Jeanine Tesori and was without a doubt one of the best musicals we have ever seen. Producers have expressed interest at a West End run, although the question of venue could stall talks until an ideal space becomes available. The modest scale of the show would mean it would look perfect in the National's Dorfman or even The Young Vic as the intimacy is really required to pull off the emotional connection with the audience. With this show, it's not just a question of 'if' but more 'when', as every Tony Award winning Best Musical has eventually transferred to the West End since 1991 (sad times, 'Will Rogers Follies'), with the exception of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder (2014) who are also in talks for a London run.
Next to Normal
Okay, so this may be on our list every year, but with London now welcoming The Other Palace (St James Theatre to you and me) and the Charing Cross Theatre as homes for challenging musical theatre, 2017 may finally bring us Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey's Pulitzer Prize-winning musicals. Rumours always state that it's red tape and logistics holding up the UK premiere rather than lack of audience appetite - the show has developed more than a cult following amongst fans and is ripe for a new production in the West End or London fringe.
After holding 'exploratory auditions' ahead of a London production, Disney Theatricals appear to have abandoned their plans to bring this surprise Broadway hit to the West End. No fear however, those who can't get enough of Jeremy Jordan and cast hot-footing their way across the stage in this delightful mid-depression tuner will soon be able to see the original Broadway cast at their local cinema. Playing on 19 February 2017, don't miss your chance to see the Tony Award®-winning musical filmed live on stage.
All of these productions are only rumours. Continue to check our latest news page to keep yourself up to date with all new show announcements.
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