Jukebox musicals might not be to everyone’s taste, but over the last twenty years they have become a staple of theatre land.
Its easy to see the attraction, it’s hard work getting an original musical off the ground these days, so a star name combined with a proven back catalogue and inbuilt fanbase seems a quick win.
Perhaps it was the internatioal success of ABBA show Mamma Mia! (1999) that gave this genre a shot in the arm, but since 2000 there have been over 60 juke box musicals travelling the world. But for every Mamma Mia!, Jersey Boys and Thriller there’s an ill fated Viva Forever and Dusty show on the musical theatre scrap heap.
Here’s a list of Diva’s currently getting the musical treatment.
1. SUMMER: THE DONNA SUMMER MUSICAL
Billed as a musical biography of the disco diva using songs she made famous including Hot Stuff, On the Radio, Bad Girls, and MacArthur Park. Tommy Mottola and The Dodgers produced a workshop in 2016 with a tryout scheduled for 2017-2018 season La Jolla Playhouse in LA. Des McAnuff to direct.
LOCATION: La Jolla Playhouse, LA, USA
WHEN: 2017-2018 season
2. THE CHER SHOW
Following a top-secret read-through in January 2017, Cher recently confirmed THE CHER SHOW will hit Broadway in 2018. The musical will chart her early life in LA, the Sonny & Cher years and the pop diva years we know today.
According to previous reports, the show will include Cher’s hits, including “I Got You Babe,” “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,” “Take Me Home,” “Believe,” and “If I Could Turn Back Time,” among others. Tony winner Daryl Waters is musical supervisor.
The musical has a book by Tony Award-winning librettist Rick Elice (Jersey Boys, Peter and the Starcatcher), musical supervision by Tony winner Daryl Waters and is directed by Avenue Q and Pitch Perfect’s Jason Moore.
LOCATION: Broadway, US
3. UNTITLED BRITNEY SPEARS MUSICAL
It’s early days for this one. But as Britney comes to the end of her Vegas residency her business managers have reportedly been in touch with theatre veteran Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, On Your Feet, Legally Blonde) to discuss a potential jukebox musical.
The show would feature the pop princess’ hits to tell a fictional story like musical behemoth Mamma Mia! Let’s hot it’s not Toxic.
4. ALANIS MORISSETTE: JAGGED LITTLE PILL
Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill remains one of the defining albums of the 1990s. Morissette confirmed a new musical with an orignal story is on its way to the Big White Way. Directed by Diane Paulus (Waitress) the musical has a book by Oscar-winning screen writer Diablo “Juno” Cody and musical orchestrations and arrangements by Tom Kitt (Next to Normal).
The show’s storyline revolves around a modern, multigenerational family and their complex dynamics, touching on issues of gender identity and race. It will feature songs from her groundbreaking album including ‘Ironic’ and ‘Hand In My Pocket’ as well as other songs from her extensive back catalogue.
LOCATION: Broadway, USA
5. CILLA – THE MUSICAL
Cilla needs no introduction to UK audiences. A 60’s pop star who rose to become one of Britain’s favourite entertainters. This new musical is based on the acclaimed ITV min-series which follows her rocky start in Liverpool, to international singing star, who then re-invented herself as the queen of light entertainment shows in Britain.
The musical score features Cilla’s greatest hits Anyone Who Had a Heart, Alfie and Something Tells Me, alongside a backdrop of the legendary “Liverpool Sound” including the Beatles’ Twist and Shout, and American influences like California Dreamin by The Mamas and The Papas and many more.
The musical will begin previews in September 2017 at the Liverpool Empire Theatre.
LOCATION: Liverpool Empire Theatre, UK
WHEN: September 2017
6. TINA – THE MUSICAL
As the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll and one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time, a Tina Turner musical is well overdue. Thankfully Phyllida Lloyd (Mamma Mia!) is directing this new musical based on Turners life. The creative team include book by Katori Hall (with input from Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins), set and costume by Mark Thompson, choreography by Anthony van Laast and musical supervision by Nicholas Skilbeck.
Turner attended a read through in December 2016 however no date on the West End has been announced.
LOCATION: West End, UK