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West End Musicals in 2015 – A Round-up

July 11, 2014 

Our cheat-sheet on which big new musicals will make it to the West End in 2015.

Today in the Daily Mail Baz runs through the latest new slate of musicals circling the West End with hopes of a 2015 run.

Here’s our cheat-sheet on what’s what in the West End for next year.

Groundhog Day The Musical

What is it? The Matilda dream team of Tim Minchin (songs), Matthew Warchus (direction) and Peter Darling (choreography) are progressing with this movie-to-stage adaptation of Groundhog Day The Musical.

Status: Staged readings have taken place

Timing and theatre: Unknown (Baz in the Daily Mail speculates that it may become part of an Old Vic season when Warchus takes over from Kevin Spacey at the Old Vic). Possibly 2015, expect a West End transfer.

LINKS

Tickets and info on Groundhog Day The Musical

Kinky Boots The Musical – West End

Billy Porter in Kinky Boots on Broadway

Billy Porter in Kinky Boots on Broadway

What is it? Jerry Mitchell’s hugely successful Broadway show, which won lots of Tony Awards last year, and has songs by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Harvey Fierstein

Status: Broadway to London transfer; casting will be the challenge to follow Billy Porter’s extraordinary performance as Lola (unless he can be tempted over to London?)

Timing and theatre: Would ideally like the Adelphi – waiting to see how Made in Dagenham plays out; Second choice the Palace Theatre -which would mean The Commitments closing; Ideal timing is late Spring 2015

LINKS

More about Kinky Boots on WestEndTheatre.com

Back To The Future The Musical

What is it? Jamie Lloyd and Soutra Gilmour team up again for another movie-to-stage adaptation of Back to the Future following The Commitments.

Status: Jamie Lloyd and the show’s producer Colin Ingram are flying to LA to run through the proposed adaptation with the movie’s original creators – Steven Spielberg and Bob Zemeckis ; then another workshop in London in September

Timing and theatre: Timing unknown but the show is on a fast-track so very likely to be 2015; Soutra’s designs are all done and major discussions for a theatre  are underway (might be the Dominion)

LINKS

Tickets and info on Back to the Future The Musical

Calendar Girls The Musical

What is it?  Tim Firth, who wrote the original screenplay and West End play for Calendar Girls, teams up with Gary Barlow to pen songs for a new musical version of Calendar Girls. Producer lined-up to be David Pugh, who produced the play, although the erratic (disastrous) run of The Full Monty last year may have thrown that somewhat.

Status: Workshops meant to be happening now (TBC)

Timing and theatre: Unknown

LINKS

Tickets and info on Calendar Girls The Musical

Bend It Like Beckham The Musical

What is it? Gurinder Chadha’s movie-to-stage adaptation of her own 2002 movie hit, penned by composer Howard Goodall (Love Story, The Hired Man) and lyricist Charles Hart (The Phantom of the Opera), with a book by Chadha and Paul Mayeda Berges based on Chadha’s screenplay

Status: Friday 2 May 2014 saw a workshop at the Dominion Theatre.

Timing and theatre: Rumours that it will follow ONCE into the Phoenix Theatre in April 2015

LINKS

More about Bend It Like Beckham The Musical on WestEndTheatre.com

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical – West End

What is it? The story of Carole King’s rise to stardom featuring her catalogue of songs, currently playing on Broadway

Status: Broadway to London transfer;  casting TBC – they are looking for a British lead to play Carole.

Timing and theatre:  The show has secured the Aldwych Theatre for early 2015.

LINKS

Tickets and info on Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

Motown The Musical – West End

What is it? Broadway hit  that follows the story of Motown founder Berry Gordy and his stable of artists including Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five and The Supremes, mixing new songs with renderings of the classics.

Status: Broadway to London transfer; no news on casting

Timing and theatre: Mean’t to be going into the Dominion in early 2015 following the run of White Christmas, although still no announcement or on-sale suggests it may be fighting against other shows (like Back to the Future)

LINKS

Tickets and info on Motown The Musical

Dusty The Musical

What is it? Sandi Toksvig’s play about the life of Sixties icon Dusty Springfield featuring her back-catalogue of music, produced by West End impressario David Ian (The Bodyguard, Cats) and directed by Jonathan Church.

Status: Script completed; A performed reading to take place this Autumn; search is on for an actress to play Dusty

Timing and theatre: TBC. Given Jonthan Church’s involvement it might be a Chichester show that transfers.

LINKS

More About Dusty The Musical on WestEndTheatre.com

Aladdin The Musical – West End

What is it? Disney movie-to-stage adaptation of its popular animated film, doing great business on Broadway, with James Monroe Iglehart as the Genie scooping a Tony Award earlier this year.

Status: Broadway to London transfer; no casting announced.

Timing and theatre: Head of Disney Theatrical Productions, Thomas Schumacher, in talks with RUG about securing the London Palladium. May be more 2016 than 2015.

LINKS

More about Aladdin on WestEndTheatre.com

Newsies The Musical – West End

What is it? Disney movie-to-stage adaptation, big on dance numbers, directed by Jeff Calhoun and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli. Announced it is closing on Broadway on 24 August 2014.

Status: Broadway to London transfer.

Timing and theatre: Disney haven’t been able to find a suitable theatre. This transfer looking more unlikely given that the show is shuttering on Broadway and it seems that Disney’s focus is now on Aladdin.

LINKS

More about Newsies on WestEndTheatre.com

Kinky Boots to play the West End in 2015

January 23, 2014 

Director of Broadway hit Kinky Boots confirms that the show is to open in the West End in 2015.

Billy Porter as Lola in the Broadway production of Kinky Boots

Billy Porter as Lola in the Broadway production of Kinky Boots

We knew it

Following our recent”Broadway to London: Broadway hits we want to see transfer to the West End in 2014” top of the list was Kinky Boots – the Tony Award winning musical penned by Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein and based on the British film that starred Chiwetel Ejiofor.

And now Jerry Mitchell, director of Kinky Boots, has confirmed that the show is to transfer to London in 2015.

At a press conference today for his new show Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the Savoy Theatre, he confirmed to The Stage that, “It’s definitely coming” and that the show was scouting four suitable theatres but all currently have shows in them.

The news places Kinky Boots as the front-runner for most exciting new opening of 2015. Following Billy Porter’s extraordinary performance as Lola in the New York production, announcements on casting will be of huge interest.

We are gunning for Billy to do London!

LINKS

More news on Kinky Boots
Book tickets to Kinky Boots on Broadway
Book tickets to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the Savoy Theatre

Broadway to London: Broadway hits we want to see transfer to the West End in 2014

January 2, 2014 

The hottest Broadway shows that we think should be transferring to the West End in 2014?

Do you think that London Theatre has enough Broadway exports to last us a lifetime? (Think Wicked, The Lion King, Jersey Boys, Once, The Book of Mormon et al) Or can’t you get enough of those US of A-listers?!

To help you decide Paul Raven gives a quick run down on what he thinks should be heading towards London in 2014, and what is coming up on Broadway that needs careful transfer-monitoring.

KINKY BOOTS

Billy Porter in Kinky Boots on Broadway

Billy Porter in Kinky Boots on Broadway

This could easily be numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 in our list. It’s the great big smash hit that caused Tony Awards carnage in 2013 and made us fall in love all over again with Cyndi Lauper. Her joyful score for Kinky Boots, along with Harvey Fierstein’s fabulous book, has made Kinky Boots the show that MUST TRANSFER! Holding out any hope that Chiwetel Ejiofor will feel a pang of loyalty to the UK and head back to the stage to recreate his crowd-pleasing turn from Kinky Boots The Movie seems pretty remote in a post-12 Years A Slave age. But we’d settle for Billy Porter to come give us his Lola any day. Come on Billy, London is fun!

Fierstein Sidebar: We will also be keeping a close eye on Harvey’s latest project – Casa Valentina – which is part of the Manhattan Theatre Club’s 2014 season and his first play for THIRTY YEARS (Why? In God’s name, why Harvey?). Based on a true story, Fierstein tackles a secret 1960’s New York State enclave for straight men who liked to shed the suit and inhabit their female alter egos.

Kinky Boots official website
Manhattan Theatre Club
Book tickets to Kinky Books on Broadway

PIPPIN

Patina Miller in Pippin

Patina Miller in Pippin

It’s not an obvious one for a Broadway to West End transfer, and you’d need a producer with some VISION (and money!) but we’d give our prized (stolen) Hugh Jackman dance cup to see Patina Miller back in London and giving us her Tony Award-winning performance as the Leading Player. She’s just been voted Broadway.com’s Star of the Year which seems about right given the stir she has caused on the Great White Way in 2013, alongside wowing Michelle Obama and Shirley MacLaine, getting engaged AND snaring a role in The Hunger Games!  We fell in love with Patina during her long, successful stint in Sister Act at the London Palladium, and although she seemed pretty pleased to be back on home turf, there must be something she missed about us? GET ON A PLANE PATINAAAA.

Pippin Sidebar: There’s lots of other reasons why Pippin deserves a London run – if nothing else so we can hear something else from Stephen Schwartz besides Wicked, see Bob Fosse’s choreography in action, and prove that London performers do have the talent and energy to match Broadway. Given that Chichester’s Barnum didn’t make it to the West End this year (although it’s off on the road on a UK tour), this could be our circus hit for 2014 (okay, more likely 2015). We just need to ignore the failure of the original 1973 London production at Her Majesty’s…

Pippin official website
Book tickets to Pippin on Broadway

NEWSIES

Newsies on Broadway

Newsies on Broadway

In the couple of decades that Disney has been aggressively producing stage musicals they have only really dipped their toe into London, first with Beauty and the Beast, and then Disney’s The Lion King, which is still doing good business at the Lyceum Theatre. But on Broadway it is a different story, with Aladdin heading to the Great White Way in March, and The Jungle Book apparently not far behind it. But we should not forget current Broadway hit Newsies, based on the 1992 Disney movie that was renamed The News Boys for us simple, British folk. Based on the strike of 1899 held by the paper boys who worked the streets of New York, the movie starred our very own Christian Bale. It wasn’t a big hit but a cult following led Disney to revive it as a Broadway show in 2011 and it has been going great guns ever since, featuring music by Alan “Little Shop of Horrors and Aladdin” Menken, and a book by Harvey Fierstein (see above). Whether it is too American for us remains to be seen but persistent rumours circulate that Disney are looking to transfer it.

Newsies official website
Book tickets to Newsies on Broadway

STAR POWER

We often take UK casts to Broadway to recreate the magic (Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry have been giving their successful UK versions of Twelfth Night and Richard III on Broadway). So how about the other way round? Top of the list has to be Christopher Durang’s big Chekhov mash-up Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike starring David Hyde Pierce, Kristine Nielsen and Sigourney Weaver, which proved a critical and audience smash-hit earlier in 2013. It would be a nightmare getting those people back together but if they can tempt Dame Angela Lansbury to make the journey to resurrect Blithe Spirit in London this March, IT MUST BE POSSIBLE to get these youngsters on a boat and over to a London venue in 2014.

Bette Midler in I'll Eat You Last

Bette Midler in I’ll Eat You Last

Close behind is the Divine Bette Midler whose turn in I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers is crying out for a London transfer. David Pugh, get to it! Or it’s probably about time we Londoners got to see some authentic Tennessee Williams, albeit by an Englishman (John “Once” Tiffany). His production of The Glass Menagerie currently wowing them at the Booth Theatre starring Zachary Quinto, Cherry Jones, Celia Keenan-Bolger and Brian J. Smith would be a good place to start.

Oh and can Tracy Letts bring his performance in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to London please?

PINTER REVERSE TAKEOVER

We even have a theatre named after him! Surely that means we should also get to see Rachel Weisz, husband Daniel Craig and Rafe Spall in their Broadway production of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal (it closes this Saturday, why isn’t it opening in London on Monday?).

And get to see Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart bring over their No Man’s Land? Fine, we got to see their Waiting for Godot first, but there would be some poetry in now bringing Pinter’s classic back to London. If nothing else it would allow Damian Lewis to attend the first night, sheepishly pose with McKellen at the after-party and then goose the fruity old wizard!

MUSICALS ON TV!

Carrie Underwood in The Sound of Music Live!

Carrie Underwood in The Sound of Music Live!

Yes, London led the world in live broadcasts of theatre in 2013 with highlights including Helen Mirren in The Audience. But NBC in the US kind of trumped us in December by staging The Sound of Music Live starring Carrie Underwood as Maria, in a brand new, live production of the musical on a massive sound stage, and all especially for TV. It scooped 18.6 million viewers in the US and more are in the works. We could do this!

AND LOOKING AHEAD

We will be keeping a close eye on the following to see whether we want these in London!

Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston playing the President in All the Way
Michelle Williams making her Cabaret debut as Sally Bowles, with Alan Cumming returning to the MC role
James Franco giving his George in Of Mice and Men
Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway gets the musical treatment starring Zach Braff
Denzel Washington starring in American classic A Raisin in the Sun

Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Neil Patrick Harris camping it up in Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Rocky The Musical: It’s had a great reception in Germany but how will it fare on Broadway? If it does well then London will be next.
Idina Menzel popping herself into a new musical is going to always get your attention, and so London producers will be quietly waiting to see how If/Then does when it opens in March
We enjoyed Tyne Daly giving us her Maria Callas in Master Class, and she’s all set for another Terrence McNally play in February in Mothers and Sons
Rebecca Hall in a revival of expressionist play Machinal at the Roundabout Theater directed by fellow Brit Lyndsey Turner

AND WHAT WE DON’T NEED TO SEE

Jekyll & Hyde The Musical didn’t go down particularly well on Broadway in 2013.
Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark: It’s a toughie. Legendary Broadway restaurateur Joe Allen has decided to keep the poster out of its “Flop” section, so maybe that clears the way for a London transfer? Unlikely.

LINKS

Book tickets to Broadway shows

Kinky Boots at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre | Broadway Tickets

November 20, 2013 

Winner of six Tony Awards including Best Musical, Kinky Boots is the Broadway hit from Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein.

Based on the indie hit film, Kinky Boots The Musical is a riotous Broadway smash-hit.

Winner of SIX Tony Awards including Best Musical, the show features a score by pop superstar Cyndi Lauper and a book by four-time Tony winner Harvey Fierstein.

Directed by Tony winner Jerry Mitchell (Legally Blonde The Musical), the cast features Andy Kelso as Charlie Price opposite Billy Porter (Miss Saigon, Dreamgirls) who dons the high heels as Lola, and Jeanna de Waal (Wicked) as Lauren.

THE STORY

Kinky Boots follows Charlie Price, a young man from Northern England who takes over a struggling family shoemaking business after the death of his father. In his attempts to save the shoe factory, he discovers an unlikely hero in a drag performer named Lola. What results is an engaging, big-hearted spectacle full of dancing, singing and laughs.

REVIEWS

“THE HOTTEST MUSICAL ON BROADWAY! CYNDI LAUPER has created a score with audience-hugging charisma that performs like a pop star on Ecstasy. KINKY BOOTS is an emotional button-pusher about finding your passion, overcoming prejudice and transcending stereotypes. The finale is one of THE BEST CURTAIN NUMBERS since ‘You Can’t Stop the Beat’ sent HAIRSPRAY audiences DANCING OUT OF THE THEATRE. WONDERFUL!” The New York Times
“THE MOST TALKED-ABOUT SHOW ON BROADWAY! So much FUN, YOU’LL DANCE OUT OF THE THEATRE. YOU’VE GOT TO SEE IT. CYNDI LAUPER delivers the BEST BROADWAY SCORE IN YEARS!” ABC News
“You’d be a HEEL not to have fun at KINKY BOOTS! It’s CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION! BILLY PORTER is REMARKABLE in a STAR-MAKING TURN.” Entertainment Weekly
“SWEETLY, VIVACIOUSLY, IRRESISTIBLY GOOD! Boots off to director/choreographer JERRY MITCHELL!” The Washington Post

Kinky Boots and Matilda win big at 2013 Tony Awards

June 10, 2013 

The 2013 Tony Awards have been announced with musicals Kinky Boots, Matilda The Musical and Pippin winning multiple awards.

Cyndi Lauper picks up her Tony Award for Kinky Boots

Cyndi Lauper picks up her Tony Award for Kinky Boots

Last night, Sunday 9 June 2013, at a star-studded ceremony at Radio City Music Hall in New York, the 67th Tony Awards were announced.

Hosted once again by Neil Patrick Harris, the big winners of the night were all musicals as Kinky Boots swept the awards with 6 wins including Best Musical, best music for Cyndi Lauper’s music and lyrics and Billy Porter’s lead performance as Lola, closely followed by Matilda The Musical and Pippin with 4 wins each.

Based on the hit movie set in a Northampton shoe factory about a Drag Queen who rescues the firm from collapse, Kinky Boots has been a huge hit on Broadway, featuring music by pop icon Cyndi Lauper and a book by Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein. Kinky Boots pipped front-runner Matilda to the winning post in the awards. The RSC’s musical Matila, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin based on Roald Dahl’s classic kids book, won a huge haul of awards at the Olivier Awards last year for it’s London run at the Cambridge Theatre, and still managed to win 4 impressive awards at the Tonys including best performance by an actor in a featured musical role for Gabriel Ebert.

In the plays categories, the awards were spread across a wide number of shows including Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike scooping Best Play.

Cicely Tyson picks up her award for The Trip to Bountiful

Cicely Tyson picks up her award for The Trip to Bountiful

It was also a big night for women at the Tonys. Cyndi Lauper’s win for best music and lyrics for Kinky Boots was a first for a woman to win the award on her own. It was also only the second time in 67 years that women won in both Best Director categories -Pam MacKinnon for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Diane Paulus for Pippin.

One of the highlights of the night was when 88 year old Cicely Tyson won her first Tony Award for best actress in a play in The Trip to Bountiful. “It’s been 30 years since I stood onstage”, she said, “and I really didn’t think it would happen again in my lifetime”.

The evening was filled with numbers from some of Broadway’s biggest shows including the casts of big winners Kinky Boots, Matilda The Musical and Pippin, plus A Christmas Story The Musical, Annie, Bring It On: The Musical, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella and Motown The Musical.Long-running Broadway shows featured included Chicago, Jersey Boys, Newsies, Once, Mamma Mia, Rock of Ages, Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, The Lion King and The Phantom of the Opera.

The evening featured appearances by a wealth of stars including Tom Hanks, Jake Gyllenhaal, Scarlett Johansson, Sigourney Weaver, Anna Kendrick, Zachary Quinto, Sally Field, Audra McDonald, Cyndi Lauper, Jane Krakowski, Alan Cumming, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jon Cryer, Megan Hilty, Andrew Rannells, Matthew Morrison, Cuba Gooding Jr, Jesse Eisenberg, Laura Benanti, Steven Van Zandt, Martha Plimpton, Hal Prince, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Barrett Foa and Mike Tyson.

AWARDS

Tony Awards 2013 – full list of winners

LINKS

Book tickets to Broadway shows

Tony Award Winners 2013

June 10, 2013 

Awards announced: 9 June 2013

WINNERS

BEST PLAY
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang

BEST MUSICAL
Kinky Boots

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL
Matilda The Musical by Dennis Kelly

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATRE
Kinky Boots – Music & Lyrics: Cyndi Lauper

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
Pippin

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY
Tracy Letts – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY
Cicely Tyson – The Trip to Bountiful

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Billy Porter – Kinky Boots

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Patina Miller – Pippin

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY
Courtney B. Vance – Lucky Guy

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY
Judith Light – The Assembled Parties

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Gabriel Ebert – Matilda The Musical

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Andrea Martin – Pippin

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY
Pam MacKinnon – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL
Diane Paulus – Pippin

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Jerry Mitchell – Kinky Boots

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS
Stephen Oremus – Kinky Boots

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY
John Lee Beatty – The Nance

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Rob Howell – Matilda The Musical

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY
Ann Roth – The Nance

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
William Ivey Long – Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY
Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer – Lucky Guy

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Hugh Vanstone – Matilda The Musical

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A PLAY
Leon Rothenberg – The Nance

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
John Shivers – Kinky Boots

SPECIAL TONY AWARD® FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE THEATRE
Bernard Gersten
Paul Libin
Ming Cho Lee

REGIONAL THEATRE AWARD
Huntington Theatre Company

ISABELLE STEVENSON AWARD
Larry Kramer

TONY HONORS FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE THEATRE
NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
Career Transition For Dancers
William Craver
Peter Lawrence
The Lost Colony
The four actresses who created the title role of Matilda The Musical on Broadway – Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon and Milly Shapiro

Kinky Boots to get the musical treatment

June 25, 2010 

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Lola in Kinky Boots the movie

Hit British film Kinky Boots is set for a stage adaptation as the great drag migration to the stage continues apace (see La Cage, Hairspray, Priscilla).

And who better to write the book for the new show than Harvey Fierstein, author of fabulous 80s play – and film – Torch Song Trilogy, about a New York drag queen. Fierstein also won a Tony award winner for originating the part of Edna Turnblad in the Broadway production of Hairspray, and he wrote the book for Jerry Herman’s La Cage Aux Folles.

Even better, pop queen Cyndi Lauper is writing the songs. We cannot WAIT.

Here’s hoping that incredible stage and screen actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, who played Lola in the movie, will resurrect the role for the stage show.

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