16 Top Theatre Shows To Book Now

All being well, theatres look set to reopen in a socially distanced capacity from 17th May, so now’s your chance to book ahead for some of the biggest performances of the year. From new, big-name musicals to old favourites reimagined, here’s our pick of the best stage shows to have on your radar…

Cinderella

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s newest show is Cinderella, a musical comedy starring Carrie Hope Fletcher that’s set to completely reinvent the fairy tale when it opens in the West End this summer. The musical features an original score by legendary Lloyd Webber – whose ‘The Show Must Go On’ online screenings were a godsend during lockdown – lyrics by Oscar-nominated David Zippel and a script from Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman, Killing Eve, The Crown). Cinderella also stars Victoria Hamilton-Barritt (The Wild Party, A Chorus Line) as the stepmother and Ivano Turco in his West End debut as Sebastian. The show will also reunite Lloyd Webber with director Laurence Connor and choreographer JoAnn M Hunter, the woman behind School of Rock and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Be prepared for a total reimagining of the classic story.

Gillian Lynne Theatre, 166 Drury Lane, Holborn, WC2B 5PW; opening summer 2021

Visit LWTheatres.co.uk

Anything Goes

Emmy-Award winning Megan Mullally and Tony and Olivier Award-winning Robert Lindsay are set to star in this major new production of Cole Porter and P.G. Wodehouse’s classic golden-age musical, Anything Goes. Featuring an uplifting score of some of theatre’s most memorable tunes – including ‘I Get A Kick Out of You’ and ‘Anything Goes’ – this is everything you want a big Broadway musical to be – ideal after more than a year away from the stage. Joining Mullally (Will & Grace) and Lindsay (My Family) as Reno Sweeney and Moonface Martin will be Felicity Kendal (The Good Life) as Evangeline Harcourt and Gary Wilmot (Chicago) as Elisha Whitney.

Barbican, Silk Street, Clerkenwell, EC2Y 8DS; 23rd July-17th October 2021

Visit Barbican.org.uk

Amélie The Musical

Following a critically acclaimed and sell-out tour in 2019, a Grammy nomination and three Olivier Award nominations, Amélie The Musical arrives in London next month. The much-loved, five-time Oscar-nominated film is brought to life by a cast of talented actor-musicians and set to a critically acclaimed re-orchestrated score. Amélie, played by the Olivier Award-nominated Audrey Brisson (The Elephantom, Pinocchio, Pericles), secretly improvises small, but extraordinary acts of kindness discovering the possibilities around every corner and bringing happiness to those she encounters. When a chance at love comes her way, Amélie realises that to find her own contentment she’ll have to risk everything. Experience this beautiful story and be inspired by this imaginative dreamer who sees possibility around every corner.

Criterion Theatre, 218-223 Piccadilly, St James's, W1V 9LB; from 20th May

Visit AmelieTheMusical.com

Frozen The Musical

Get ready to experience Disney’s Frozen as it comes to life at Theatre Royal Drury Lane. This forthcoming West End musical will celebrate the story of Arendelle. Expect big-budget sets and special effects, incredible costumes and innovative stagecraft, which are all certain to impress children and adults alike. The musical is being brought to the stage by an award-winning creative team, including Tony and Olivier Award winner Michael Grandage and a Bafta Award-winner Jennifer Lee. The show will feature songs from the original film alongside new songs by Grammy and Academy Award-winning writers Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, creators of the global phenomenon ‘Let It Go’.

Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Catherine Street, Covent Garden, WC2B 5JF; from August 2021

Visit LWTheatres.co.uk

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

You know you’ve seen a terrific musical when, three-weeks later, you’re still singing along to a song you’ve heard just once. But even without the ear worms, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie hits the mark when it comes to successful new productions: a fantastic, believable cast, poignancy and a collective sense of elation as the curtain falls to a standing ovation. Set in Sheffield, the play centres on the titular Jamie New, a 16-year-old boy who wants to become a drag queen. Based on a 2011 BBC Three documentary, we follow Jamie (this time played by Noah Thomas) as he faces prejudice and setbacks for vowing to wear a dress and heels at his school prom.

Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, West End, W1D 7EZ; reopens 20th May

Visit EverybodysTalkingAboutJamie.co.uk

Come From Away

Following continuous sold-out, record-breaking dates on Broadway, across the USA and in Canada, Come From Away landed for its UK premiere at the Phoenix Theatre in 2018 – and has been a hit on the West End ever since. This joyous musical shares the incredible real-life story of the 7,000 air passengers from all over the world who were grounded in Canada during the wake of 9/11, and the small Newfoundland community that invited these ‘come from aways’ into their lives. As uneasiness turns into trust and music soars into the night, gratitude grows into friendships and shared stories become a celebration of hope, humanity and unity.

Phoenix Theatre, Charing Cross Road, Covent Garden, WC2H 0JP; from 25th May

Visit ATGTickets.com

Pretty Woman The Musical

One of Hollywood’s most-loved stories will arrive on the West End this summer. Pretty Woman: The Musical features direction and choreography by two-time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde, Hairspray) and an original score by Grammy winner Bryan Adams. The play focuses on Vivian and Edward, unlikely soulmates who overcome all odds to find each other – and themselves. Expect to experience the moments you love from the film and get to know these iconic characters in a whole new way.

Piccadilly Theatre, Soho, W1D 7DY; from July 2021

Visit PrettyWomanTheMusical.com

Back To The Future: The Musical

The 1985 blockbuster film and pop-culture phenomenon arrives in the West End as a new musical this summer. When Marty McFly finds himself transported back to 1955 in a time machine built by eccentric scientist Doc Brown, he accidentally changes the course of history. Now he’s in a race against time to fix the present, escape the past and send himself back to the future. Adapting this iconic story for the stage are the film’s creators Bob Gale (Back to the Future trilogy) and Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump). The production features original music by multi-Grammy winners Alan Silvestri (Avengers: Endgame) and Glen Ballard (Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror), alongside hit songs from the film, including The Power of Love, Johnny B. Goode, Earth Angel and Back in Time.

Adelphi Theatre, Strand, Covent Garden, WC2R 0NS; 20th August-13th February

Visit BackToTheFutureMusical.com

Happy Days

Happy Days comes to the Riverside Studios in a landmark 60th-anniversary production. Brought together by a multi-award-winning creative team, with direction from Trevor Nunn and starring ‘Beckett interpreter of the first rank’ (Observer) Lisa Dwan as heroine Winnie, this is a spirited and triumphant revival of Samuel Beckett’s classic play. Winnie and her husband Willie are stuck in every sense of the word. Endless days and nights pass by while they struggle on, with only each other for company. But ritual and a sunny disposition can only keep Winnie’s head above the parapet for so long, before the futility of her and Willie’s existence threatens to engulf her completely. This enduring, potent and lively tale of existential limbo presents a playful, but poignant look, at human strength and survival amid the most surreal of circumstances. 

Riverside Studios, 101 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, W6 9BN; 11th June-25th July

Visit RiversideStudios.co.uk

Hairspray The Musical

Michael Ball is back, reprising his Olivier Award-winning role as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray the Musical. The smash-hit musical arrives at the London Coliseum from June. Set in Baltimore in 1962, Tracy Turnblad is a big girl with big hair and big dreams. Can she make it on the local TV dance show, win the heart of teen heartthrob Link Larkin and bring everyone together – whatever their colour, size or hairdo? From the original award-winning creative team of director Jack O’Brien and choreographer Jerry Mitchell, and featuring feel-good songs ‘Good Morning Baltimore’, ‘You Can’t Stop the Beat’ and ‘Big, Blonde and Beautiful’, this inspirational and uplifting musical is sure to be just the ticket.

London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, WC2N 4ES; 21st June-29th September

Visit LondonColiseum.org

Romeo & Juliet

Established in 1932, the multi-award-winning Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is one of the largest theatres in London and resides in the beautiful surroundings of a Royal Park. Passionate about producing first-class theatre in an unusual setting, its al fresco credentials make it one of the most Covid-friendly theatres in the capital. Its 2021 season kicks off with Kimberley Sykes’ take on a classic: Romeo & Juliet, Shakespeare’s timeless story of two young people torn apart by a divided society and forbidden love. If it’s anything like its famed performance of Jesus Christ Superstar in 2016, we’re expecting great things.

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, NW1 4NU; 17th June-24th July

Visit OpenAirTheatre.com

The Prince of Egypt

The Prince of Egypt is a new musical from three-time Academy Award-winner Stephen Schwartz, the man behind Wicked. Journey through the wonders of Ancient Egypt as two young men, raised together as brothers in a kingdom of privilege, find themselves suddenly divided by a secret past. One must rule as Pharaoh, the other must rise up and free his true people; both face a destiny that will change history forever. Based on the acclaimed animated film by Dreamworks, The Prince of Egypt is set to be a powerful and joyous celebration of belief and the human spirit.

Dominion Theatre, Bloomsbury, W1T 7AQ; from 1st July 

Visit ThePrinceOfEgyptMusical.com

16 Top Theatre Shows To Book Now, Singing In The Rain
Singin' In The Rain

Singin’ In The Rain

Based on the classic Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film, song-and-dance legend Adam Cooper reprises the iconic role made famous by Gene Kelly in Jonathan Church’s critically acclaimed production of Singin’ in the Rain. A hit at Chichester Festival Theatre and the West End, this charming show returns to the capital this summer. Andrew Wright’s high-energy choreography and Simon Higlett’s set design – which includes over 14,000 litres of water on stage every night – combine with the charm and romance of one of the world’s best-loved films to create a thrilling production. The show features the same famous score, including ‘Good Morning’, ‘Make ‘em Laugh’, ‘Moses Supposes’ and – of course – ‘Singin’ in the Rain’.

Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue, Islington, EC1R; 30th July-5th September 

Visit SadlersWells.com

Six

From Tudor queens to pop princesses, the six wives of Henry VIII take to the mic to rewrite history, remixing 500 years of historical heartbreak into a 75-minute celebration of 21st-century girl power. Following a sell-out UK tour, and a hit transfer to the West End, pop-concert musical Six is set to return to the Lyric Theatre next month. Slick, fun and with a super-successful recorded soundtrack to its name, we seriously suggest grabbing tickets while you can.

Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, West End, W1D 7ES; 21st May-22nd August

Visit NimaxTheatre.com

Under Milk Wood

A community is sleeping – and if you listen closely, you can hear their dreams. There’s the retired sea captain yearning for his lost love, the landlady living in terror of her guests, a father who can no longer access his memories and a son in search of redemption. As they awake to boiled eggs and the postman, the residents of a small Welsh village juggle old secrets and new realities in this reimagining of Dylan Thomas’s poetic masterpiece. Michael Sheen, Karl Johnson and Siân Phillips star and Lyndsey Turner directs.

National Theatre, Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PX; 16th June-24th July

Visit NationalTheatre.org.uk

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Shakespeare’s Globe will be welcoming audiences back into its theatres for socially distanced performances from 19th May. First up is a fiesta like no other as the theatre’s raucous 2019 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream returns with piñatas, streamers, glitter and a cacophony of brass for its debut run of 2021. Four love-drunk teens, escaped from the confines of an oppressive regime, caught in a dispute of increasingly magical proportions. A posse of wannabe actors, determined to put on a play against the odds. The Fairy Queen and King at war, and one wild spirit hellbent on causing as much havoc as possible. What could possibly go wrong? This promises to be a “joyful explosion of vivid chaos”, with direction by Globe associate artistic director Sean Holmes and music from Jim Fortune, performed by members of the Hackney Colliery Band.

Shakespeare’s Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, SE1 9DT; from 19th May 

Visit ShakespearesGlobe.com

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