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BWW Feature: 5 Shows I'd Most Like To See When Theatre Returns

BWW Feature: 5 Shows I'd Most Like To See When Theatre Returns
Luke Brady and Christine Allado
in Prince of Egypt

I don't think I'll ever forget my "last press night" before lockdown. Barefoot in the Park was opening at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre mid-March. There was definitely a sense of "Should we be here?" in the room.

While I've enjoyed live-tweeting and reviewing some of the online theatre we've been granted in recent months, it would be nice to get back into a theatre one day. This could be as early as next month from what the UK Government is currently advising. Below are a few of the things I had been looking forward to seeing this year - and maybe I'll get to see them in 2021!

Prince of Egypt

In early March, I was passing through London after a family holiday. I wanted to catch a show before getting the sleeper train back north to Scotland. I had narrowed my choices down to Prince of Egypt or a return trip to Waitress to see Sara Bareilles and Gavin Creel as Jenna and Pomatter, respectively.

I usually prioritise shows that are closing or performers who are leaving soon. Going by this logic, I opted to return to the diner, assuming that I would catch Prince of Egypt when I was in London again for work in April or May.

I certainly don't regret seeing Waitress again. Still, with the benefit of hindsight, I might have opted to see Prince of Egypt if I'd known all UK theatres were going to close later that month. The stage adaption of the 1998 film, with songs and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, opened at the Dominion Theatre in February 2020. It tells the story of Moses liberating his people from enslavement by Ancient Egyptians.

I can't remember how many times I've watched the film and I recently took part in the show's virtual fan choir in their rendition of "When You Believe". You can spot me singing the Hebrew section at three minutes, five seconds in!

It was fun to explore the reasons for the show's popularity in a feature article I wrote last year about religious musicals. I'm pleased to see Prince of Egypt is attempting to reopen in November. That said, I'm not sure when I'll be comfortable being in a theatre as large as the Dominion at the moment.

Something Rotten!

I had been looking forward to Something Rotten! finally making it over the Atlantic to the UK. Having followed its success in the US online, I assumed it wouldn't work over here because of its panto vibe. It was going to run at the Birmingham Rep in October this year, but that has now been delayed to 2021.

Something Rotten! follows the story of Nick and Nigel Bottom as they try to write the next big theatre hit in a time when Shakespeare has a monopoly on the arts. They seek the wisdom of a fortune teller to find out what will be popular in theatres in the future and go about trying to write the first musical.

It's an incredibly silly show, chockfull of musical and Shakespearean easter eggs. It's also full of wit and joyful choreography - from what I've seen of the Broadway production online. As their showstopping number "A Musical" says "It's such a delight, there's nothing quite like a musical!".

The Signalman

One of the shows local to me that I had been looking forward to was The Signalman playing in Perth Theatre. It tells the story of a signal controller who sent an Edinburgh-bound train onto Dundee's Tay Rail Bridge on the night of an historic (and disastrous) storm in 1879. The show was originally produced by A Play, A Pie and A Pint and Traverse Theatre. This particular production was going to feature local artists, director Ken Alexander and actor Tom McGovern.

I had only just moved back to Perth before lockdown and had enjoyed starting to attend press nights at my local theatre. Horsecross had to suspend all performances at Perth Theatre and Concert Hall, and staff are now sadly facing redundancies.

Come From Away

This is appearing in many people's top fives at the moment. Come from Away was one of the last shows I saw last year and it certainly is "the show we need right now". Set on the island of Gander, Newfoundland, Come From Away follows the story of locals and thousands of plane passengers who found themselves thrown together on 9/11 when US airspace closed.

The story shows the best of humanity at the worst of times and includes an ironic abundance of toilet paper. I loved reading Marianka's BWW review of the new cast, just before lockdown. The story will undoubtedly be viewed in a new light post-Covid.

The resident Captain Beverley Bass, Alice Fearn, has been keeping herself busy during theatre closures with a concert series from her own back garden. I'm sure Come From Away fans like myself can't wait for the day when she can don her pilot's uniform and belt out "Me and the Sky" again. You can catch her and the cast performing it and much much more as part of the Virtual West End Live content from Official London Theatre.

Groan Ups

Fifth and finally, one of the UK tours I had been looking forward to was Mischief Theatre's Groan Ups, having missed the West End run last year. Mischief Theatre shows never fail to make me laugh, and I particularly enjoyed their BBC Goes Wrong Show over Christmas. Humour has very much kept me going during the past few months, and I think we will all be continuing to look for some laughter as we move out of lockdown.

We did get to catch a snippet of their performances on the Royal Variety Performance at the end of last year. I also enjoyed getting to interview Mischief Theatre's Nancy Zamit about the show - you can read that here.

Which shows are you most looking forward to seeing post-lockdown? Let us know @BroadwayWorldUK! And read Gary Naylor's picks here!

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