My West End Touring Wish List

My West End Touring Wish List
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Touring West End shows have a dicey history. They used to have a reputation for being the poorer cousin of their London counterparts, featuring chopped-down sets and losing most of their star casts somewhere by the M25.

Thankfully, the curtain is coming down on that era. No longer do you need to fear bits of the set falling apart because they've been made on the cheap. Many of the shows are now extremely close to their West End versions, with only minor alterations to make it feasible to move between theatres. Casts too are frequently shared (Sheridan Smith in Funny Girl last year was a prime example).

But why even make this wish list? After all, you can see Wicked, Kinky Boots, Shrek, Miss Saigon, This House etc. all on tour this year anyway. Well, partly because I'm greedy, and partly that the ability of famous shows to get new people into theatre is unparalleled. The more shows that get out into the regions the better.

So what makes my wish list?

1. Hamilton

You may already have heard of this musical...

Of course, I've chosen Hamilton. How could I not? It is the musical of the moment and very possibly the next few moments too. Having seen it, I confirm it is as good as you've heard. Plus it basically has a huge sign around its neck saying 'YOUNG PEOPLE WELCOME'.

As a touring show, it's perfect. It has minimal technical requirements: a simple revolve and a relatively wide stage. Mix that with huge demand for tickets and a UK tour would be a fantastic shot in the arm for the regions. It's already on tour in the US, which proves it can be done (although admittedly demand in the US is driven by the vast distances involved).

Maybe tweet Lin and see if we can make it happen...

Chance of happening: 2/10 (for now anyway)

2. The Ferryman

This is a masterpiece of a play. Let's drag it out of the capital and onto the road. As an ensemble piece of theatre it's sensational; Jez Butterworth has done it again after the huge hit Jerusalem.

While the cast undoubtedly has stars within it, it's never about the individual like it was with Rylance in Jerusalem, which makes the decision to tour it look even more appealing. With its pedigree, there would be a variety of houses wanting this one.

This the kind of play that can turn people onto theatre.

Side note: perhaps the goose might need to be a fake one for the road.

Chance of happening: 5/10

3. Les Misérables

OK, so this is a bit of a cheat as it has toured before. Although technically, its most recent tour was a new staging rather than an exact copy of the London version.

It might seem a bit unadventurous to suggest this one, but as it continues to march defiantly on to smash records, it's still an important show. It's had new life of late with several versions of the songs making it into a variety of TV talent shows. Hence it makes it onto the list.

Whatever you think of it, it remains a giant of British musical theatre, and it would be great to see it regularly go to the regions.

Chance of it happening: 6/10

4. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

There's a very good reason I want this to tour: it comes in two parts. This means seeing it either on consecutive nights, or as a double-header matinee and evening, which even for an ardent fan is a lot of sitting down. This also makes it doubly expensive if you end up staying over in our fair capital.

Nevertheless, Harry Potter is a British phenomenon. The books are cherished by many, and I'm sure there are huge numbers who would love to see this travel to somewhere close by to give them the chance to see it.

Sadly, the complexity and the expense of this show means it's unlikely to be catching the Hogwarts Express around the country anytime soon.

Chance of it happening: 2/10

5. The Book of Mormon

At first glance, a musical about a religious group founded in the US a mere two centuries ago doesn't seem a particularly appealing prospect. But throw in the creators of South Park and Avenue Q to write the show and what comes out is, well, divine.

I find myself frequently disappointed by shows labelled as 'hilarious', but this one is different: a genuinely infectious musical that's a glorious send-up of the form (listen out for the musical nods to shows like Wicked).

This is one for people who say they don't like musicals. Maybe even Stu Heritage might like it, who knows. It's been in London a while now and is no longer the hottest ticket, so maybe a tour would be a good shot in the arm to remind people about its brilliance. Let's pray to make it so.

Chance of it happening: 5/10

Which West End shows would you like to see tour? Tweet us or post on our discussion board here!

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan

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From This Author Tim Wright

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