The best of Broadway crosses the pond
Some of the West End’s most popular shows are imports from Broadway and over the coming months London’s theatres are due to be filled with New York’s best musical productions. With openings from now until early 2017, there’s plenty to keep your evenings filled to the brim with fantastic live entertainment.
The Lion King remains one of the highest grossing shows globally, so the transfer to London of Disney’s newest theatrical offering has been highly anticipated. Aladdin received rave reviews in New York and we expect a similar response when it opens at Prince of Edward Theatre on 27 May. The beloved story of a young street urchin is brought to colourful life with all the songs from the Academy Award-winning film. It will be a spectacular addition to London’s Theatreland and the magic carpet touches down just in time for the summer holidays.
Already opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre, Motown the Musical dramatises the true story of the culture-changing sound that hit the American airwaves in 1959. Charting the journey of Motown founder Berry Gordy from featherweight boxer to music mogul, the feel-good show depicts how he launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and many more. Alternatively, to hear Wonder perform his hits in person, contact our Music team to source tickets for his Songs in the Key of Life concert at London’s Hyde Park this summer.
Next spring will see musical marvel Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber take over the London Palladium with his latest Broadway show. Based on the hit movie starring Jack Black, School of Rock follows the story of wannabe rock star Dewey Finn, who ends up as a substitute teacher in a prep school. When it turns out that his music students have a lot of talent, Dewey enters them into a Battle of the Bands competition. The cast of youngsters all play their instruments live on stage, so contact us to be kept up to date with all the latest news.
Giving Lloyd Webber some competition in the songwriting stakes, Gary Barlow has established himself as one of the music industry’s most prolific writers since leaving Take That. Little wonder then, that he has gone on to achieve success on Broadway with a musical adaptation of Finding Neverland. It tells the biographical story of JM Barrie’s relationship with the Llewelyn Davies brothers, who inspired his best-loved work, Peter Pan. There are strong rumours that Kelsey Grammer (Frasier and Cheers), who originated the role of Hook, will transfer with the production next January, and he may be joined by Alfie Boe in the role of Barrie.
As if all the above Broadway big-hitters weren’t enough to satisfy even the most-demanding musical aficionados, rumours abound of yet more sensational transfers to come.
The King and I was last seen in the West End in 2000 and was revived on Broadway last year. The classic tale of the bond that forms between the King of Siam and a British schoolmistress in Bangkok is set to Rogers and Hammerstein’s fantastic score. With favourite songs such as Getting to Know You and Shall We Dance?, it never fails to leave the audience with that warm fuzzy feeling.
The history of the founding of America, velvet frock coats and hip-hop may not sound like an obvious combination, but Lin-Manuel Miranda has brought them together in Hamilton to create one of the most visionary shows of recent years. Rumour has it that the production may take over the New London Theatre now that War Horse has vacated. Contact us for tickets to Miranda’s first hit, In the Heights, which is currently running at the King’s Cross Theatre.
Keeping with the historical theme, Something Rotten! asks whether musicals could really have started in the 1590s. In this new Broadway comedy, fictional brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom fight to get their turn in the spotlight instead of living in William Shakespeare’s shadow. Director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw (Spamalot and Book of Mormon) has had his eye on London for a while and we’re hoping that 2016 is the year he brings the Tony-nominated show to the UK.
Lastly, Mel Brooks and Susan Stroman, the pair behind the hugely successful The Producers, are teaming up again for Young Frankenstein – a re-telling of Mary Shelley’s Gothic tale. Bringing a corpse back to life is a scary prospect but it can have some very comical consequences, especially when combined with musical numbers such as The Transylvania Mania. Brooks has been busy reworking the show for a UK audience and we’re hopeful that he’ll find a suitable venue soon.
Pictured: School of Rock