Tickets are now on sale for one of the most inventive musicals of the year: & Juliet, a continuation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that follows the female lead through a big weekend in Paris. With the cast now fully announced (no less than 11 months before the show’s West End opening), we’re beginning to get the first glimpse into the music that will be featured in the musical, which will be a mash-up of the biggest hits by songwriting machine Max Martin.
From Britney to Backstreet, Goulding to Grande, Perry to Bon Jovi, Martin has written no less than 22 Billboard 100 number one songs for some of the biggest names in pop over the past three decades. With so many tunes to choose from, listen to some of the songs confirmed to feature in the musical, which runs at the Shaftesbury Theatre from 2nd November, and speculate for yourself how they might fit into a musical about one of Shakespeare’s greatest romantic.
If you’re sceptical about the premise of this musical – which is fair enough – try listening to its star Miriam Teak-Lee perform this version of Britney’s debut single. You won’t find a shred of the schoolgirl dance party here, as Teak-Lee delivers an intense vocal performance over a bed of dramatic orchestral strings. If this is a taste of things to come, it is definitely set up to be a show that will surprise audience members.
“Everybody (Backstreet's Back)” – Backstreet Boys
This song was very particular to the ‘90s pop group, so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes down in the back streets of Paris. What we do know however, is that it opens the door for some epic urban dancing scenes.
“Love Me Like You Do” – Ellie Goulding
Originally written as part of the soundtrack to the big screen adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, this electronic power ballad hit number one in 25 different countries. It already has a cinematic silver screen vibe to it and, like with the other numbers, we can imagine if you strip back the synthesisers and layer up the strings, this could serve as a very powerful moment in the musical.
“Can’t Feel My Face” – The Weeknd
A big feel-good number to end the show, perhaps? “Can’t Feel My Face” has a big summer feeling to it, despite beginning with darker moody tones, it kicks in with smooth, groovy, bass-driven hooks. Layered with harmonies which could sound huge when performed by a full West End ensemble, this song has huge potential to be a standout number in the show.
“Larger Than Life” – Backstreet Boys
Backstreet’s back (alright). Like “Baby One More Time”, we’ve already had a glimpse of what “Larger Than Life” will sound like in & Juliet, and the most exciting thing is that it confirms the iconic Backstreet bass wub will make an appearance.
Shaftesbury Theatre, London
Hits by Ariana Grande, Backstreet Boys, Britney and more