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Five 2021 London Shows We Can't Wait To See

From Andrew Lloyd Webber to Sondheim via David Tennant's West End return

Five 2021 London Shows We Can't Wait To See

A new year is always ripe with potential, even amidst a pandemic. Sure, the ongoing lockdown has once again put live theatre on hold, but already some shows are considering live-streaming alternatives or simply putting things on hold until they are given the nod. In the spirit of eternal optimism, here is a handful of titles promised for the year ahead that have us giddy with anticipation to be in a playhouse once again.

Hymn, Almeida Theatre

Adrian Lester and Lolita Chakrabarti had a sizable hit with an earlier collaboration, Red Velvet, that premiered at the then-Tricycle Theatre in 2012 before hitting the West End and touring internationally. Now, the theatre couple (they are husband and wife) are back with a new play written by Chakrabarti and starring Lester and Danny Sapani under the direction of Blanche McIntyre. This looks to be a big year for Chakrabarti whose additional play Life of Pi has generated extensive buzz in advance of West End and, it is hoped, Broadway runs.

The Normal Heart, National Theatre

Larry Kramer's 1985 play written in white heat amidst the AIDS crisis roiling New York City at the time hasn't been seen in London since Martin Sheen and Paul Jesson led its UK premiere at the Royal Court. All the more reason, then, to whet the appetite for its National Theatre revival starring Ben Daniels and due to be staged in-the-round by the protean Dominic Cooke. A play set during one pandemic being revived during another one sounds more than apt, and Cooke's track record with the American repertoire is staggeringly high following productions at this same address of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Follies.

Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre

Few have worked as tirelessly over the last year to find a way forward for the theatre than Andrew Lloyd Webber, so it seems fitting that the big commercial juggernaut due on the West End this year is his latest musical Cinderella, starring Carrie Hope Fletcher, who was last seen lending her clarion vocals to the starry concert performance of Les Misérables . The show's book is by the fast-rising Emerald Fennell, whose film Promising Young Woman, with Carey Mulligan, has been generating lots of Oscar buzz.

Good, Harold Pinter Theatre

CP Taylor's Holocaust-themed 1981 play was premiered by the Royal Shakespeare Company and then transferred to Broadway, where it ran alongside David Hare's Plenty, thereby amusing those old enough to remember the American sweets that went by the name Good & Plenty. The play is due back on the West End with David Tennant in the role of the literature professor Halder, originated by the late, great Alan Howard and with none other than the ever-busy Dominic Cooke at the helm.

Sunday in the Park with George, Savoy Theatre

Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's glorious 1984 musical about Georges Seurat was due to be seen last year in London, in a transfer of its recent Broadway revival starring Jake Gyllenhaal as the French Pointillist master and Annaleigh Ashford as his irrepressible lover and muse, Dot. That, of course, didn't happen but the wish in every way is to welcome director Sarna Lapine's production to the West End during the year ahead, and not before time: As the show's soul-searing climactic number reminds us, "you keep moving on" - and may that be true of the theatre at no time more fully than during the year ahead.

Which shows are you excited to see in 2021? Let us know @BroadwayWorldUK!

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From This Author Matt Wolf