Here’s our annual round-up of the most popular and well-read news stories on WestEndTheatre.com in 2021.
Given the scale of Covid disruption that has faced theatre and live events in 2021, the list is a pretty positive read, of new shows opening and new casts revealed.
However, the top spot goes to theatre on TV rather than theatre live on stage, perhaps reflecting the year we had in the West End. The BBC revealing its new Sunday night musicals season got the highest traffic, and other stories about the Christmas TV schedule and further musicals on TV – including the BBC showing Anything Goes – were in the Top 20 stories of the year. In the same vein, news of the Almeida live streaming their production of Hymn starring Adrian Lester and Danny Sapani (pictured) also got high traffic. Some people may not have been able to get out to see a show in 2021, but their passion for seeing theatre, in whatever form, seemed as strong as ever.
Other news stories in the Top 10 include some new show openings, from JAWS comedy The Shark is Broken at the Ambassadors Theatre, to Barlett Sher’s Broadway production of My Fair Lady coming to the London Coliseum in Spring 2022. Also stories centred on casting, with the announcement that Rafe Spall will replace Rhys Ifans in the Aaron Sorkin adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird coming to the Gielgud Theatre in March 2022; Felicity Kendal and Gary Wilmot were getting aboard Anything Goes at the Barbican Theatre; and the full cast for Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward, with company members such as Petula Clarke joining Zizi Strallen and Charlie Stemp in the show.
Finally, extensions to the length that a show is running in the West End were announced, primarily the date extension of Frozen The Musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane; and, of course, gossip always gets plenty of attention: will Hello, Dolly! starring Imelda Staunton be coming to the West End in 2023?