10 Musicals Open in London's West End in Summer 2007!
After a jam-packed Autumn season last year, with 8 musicals in 8 weeks, the West End goes one better and gives us 10 musicals to look forward to over the summer months. With Broadway imports, popular reality TV cast musicals, new musicals and short-run revivals, there's certainly something for everyone, so read on for the full lowdown..
Show: The Drowsy Chaperone
Venue: Novello Theatre (formerly The Strand)
First preview: May 14th (previewing now!)
Opening night: June 6th
Booking to: February 23rd 2008
Cast includes: Elaine Paige (Drowsy Chaperone), Bob Martin (Man in Chair), Summer Strallen (Janet), John Partridge (Robert)Creative: Greg Morrison and Lisa Lambert (music/lyrics), Don McKellar and Bob Martin (book), Casey Nicholaw (director/choreographer), David Gallo (designer), Kevin McCollum (producer)
Trivia: The Drowsy Chaperone was written as a stag party present for Bob Martin, who would later join the creative team and eventually star in the show on Broadway and in the West End. A critical hit, and audience favourite, Drowsy took seven years to get to Broadway, with a cast including Sutton Foster. The London production will see the return of Elaine Paige, her first role in seven years.
Show: Lord of the Rings
Venue: Theatre Royal Drury Lane
First preview: May 9th (previewing now!)
Opening night: June 19th
Booking to: March 29th 2008
Cast includes: James Loye (Frodo), Peter Howe (Sam), Laura Michelle Kelly (Galadriel), Malcolm Storry (Gandalf), Jérôme Pradon (Aragorn)
Creative: Matthew Warchus (director), Peter Darling (choreographer), Rob Howell (designer)
Trivia: Despite a negatively received, loss-making run in Toronto, Lord of the Rings has bounced back for a stab at the West End market with a shorter, revised show, rumoured to have a budget of £25m, including a £1m revolving stage. Hidden away in the 50 strong cast is the Olivier award winning Mary Poppins actress Laura Michelle Kelly.
Show: Fiddler on the Roof
Venue: Savoy Theatre
First preview: May 19th (previewing now!)
Opening night: May 29th
Booking to: September 29th
Cast includes: Henry Goodman (Tevye), Beverley Klein (Golde)Creative: Lindsay Posner (director), Peter McKintosh (designer)Trivia: This revival of Fiddler originated at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre - a hugely successful theatre in north England - in December 2006 and transfers with its principal cast intact. Henry Goodman was apparently offered the role of Tevye shortly after appearing in The Merchant of Venice in 1999, but declined as he did not wish to be typecast in Jewish roles.
Venue: London Coliseum (the English National Opera)
Previews: June 25th and 26th
Opening night: June 27th
Closes: July 14th(19 performances only)
Cast includes: Michael Ball (Hajj), Faith Prince (Lalume), Alfie Boe (The Caliph) and Sarah Tynan (Marsinah)
Creative: Gary Griffin (director), Javier de Frutos (choreographer), Ultz (designer)
Trivia: After the recent success of On the Town, the English National Opera are returning to musical theatre, with Faith Prince making her London debut. Kismet is the first time the company has presented a consecutive run of performances, they usually run strictly in repertoire. Choreographer Javier du Frutus recently won an Olivier Award for his work on Cabaret.
Show: Into the Woods
Venue: Royal Opera House (Linbury Studio)
First preview: June 14th Opening night: June 18th
Closes: June 30th (run sold out, check for returns)
Cast includes: Clive Rowe (Baker), Anna Francolini (Baker's Wife), Beverley Klein (Witch), Anne Reid (Jack's Mother), Gary Waldhorn (Narrator)
Creative: Stephen Sondheim (music/lyrics)Will Tuckett (director), Lez Brotherson (designs)
Trivia: Beverley Klein signed up to this revival before Fiddler on the Roof announced a transfer from Sheffield, so she will take a short break from the latter in order to star in this strictly limited season. This is the second Sondheim musical that the Royal Opera House has produced; their first was Sweeney Todd in December 2003.
Show: Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Venue: Adelphi Theatre
First preview: July 6th
Opening night: July 17th
Booking to: Jan 5th 2008
Cast includes: The winner of TV competition 'Any Dream Will Do'
Creative: Stephen Pimlott (original director), Anthony Van Laast (choreographer), Mark Thompson (designer)
Trivia: This reality TV cast show is the follow up to the hit How do you Solve a Problem Like Maria, which made Connie Fisher a household name. The reworked logo incorporates its 'youthful' new image; written in brightly coloured grafitti.
Show: Take Flight
Venue: Menier Chocolate Factory
First preview: July 13th
Opening night: July 25th
Closes: September 22nd
Cast includes: Sally Ann Triplett, more to be announced soon
Creative: Richard Maltby Jr and David Shire (music/lyrics), John Weidman (book), Sam Buntrock (director), David Farley (designer)Trivia: The director and designer of the hit West End revival of Sunday in the Park with George return to the small London fringe venue the Menier Chocolate Factory for the world premiere of a new musical about the pioneers of flight; the Wright brothers, Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh.
Venue: Piccadilly Theatre
First preview: July 25th
Opening night: August 8th
Closes: 23rd February 2008Prices: £15-55
Cast includes: The winner of TV competition 'Grease is the Word'
Creative: David Gilmore (director), Arlene Phillips (choreographer) Trivia: After the success of How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria, producer David Ian decided to go it alone on ITV and run a programme against Andrew Lloyd Webber's successful BBC programme. His fellow guests include Liza Minnelli's ex-husband David Gest, now a big celebrity in the UK following his appearance on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. This production has been seen several times both in London and on tour.
Venue: Donmar Warehouse
First preview: September 14th
Opening night: September 24th
Closes: November 24th (tickets already selling fast)
Cast includes: TBA
Creative: Jason Robert Brown (music/lyrics), Rob Ashford (director/choreographer), Christopher Oram (designer)
Trivia: Parade marks Rob Ashford's directorial debut, following his successful career as a choreographer. Tickets are already selling fast, due to Jason Robert Brown's legendary status among Britain's hundreds of musical theatre performers and students, and also as the theatre only holds 252 theatregoers per performance! Parade won 2 Tony Awards; best book and best score. Website: www.donmarwarehouse.com
Venue: Shaftesbury Theatre
First preview: October 11th
Opening night: October 30th
Booking to: March 15th 2008Prices: £12-60
Cast includes: TBA
Creative: Jack O'Brien (director), Jerry Mitchell (choreographer)
Trivia: Finally! Five years after it opened on Broadway, Hairspray makes the long-awaited hop over the water to open in London. It's set to open at the 'doomed' Shaftesbury Theatre, but let's hope this is one show that can break the curse and have a long and healthy life.
And to look forward to beyond October…
Emma Williams may possibly star in the Blondie stage adaptation of Desperately Seeking Susan at the Gielgud Theatre, the London fringe hit Tomorrow Morning could transfer to the West End, Connie Fisher is being heavily promoted to follow up her run in The Sound of Music with Funny Girl (Lloyd Webber is making regular pointed remarks about this all over the shot!), Jersey Boys is close to signing on the dotted line and Grey Gardens is in early stages of a London production…