It might only be the start of the year (almost) but if you’re wondering what to book for in 2015, here’s a rundown of some of the best shows coming soon in London. Think I’ve missed something? Let me know at the bottom in the comments.
#1 Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Beautiful is the only opening in London penned for 2015 to come from Broadway. Following the story of Carole King and her rise to fame, it’s a jukebox musical but with real heart. It had incredible reviews on the other side of the pond, so here’s hoping it has the same response over here. And with what looks like a great cast in place to open it, it’s got a good chance of achieving that.
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical opens at the Aldwych Theatre on 24th February, with previews from 10th February. It’s currently booking until 23th June and tickets can be purchased at the Aldwych Theatre website.
There have been plenty of high profile Hamlets in recent years, but few that seem to have the buzz of Benedict Cumberbatch’s turn at the Barbican. Tickets sold out in seconds (although we are promised that a few extras will be released nearer the time) and hardcore fans are one small step away from selling a kidney to get hold of those tickets doing the rounds on ticket resale sites. Let’s hope it’s half decent then.
Hamlet tickets are currently sold out but keep an eye out on the Barbican website for more info about later tickets announcements. It opens from 5th August until 31st October.
#3 The Hard Problem
The Hard Problem has a lot of expectation surrounding it. Not only is it Nicholas Hytner’s final turn in the director’s chair while he’s Artistic Director at the National, it’s also the first proper opening of a play in the revamped Dorfman Theatre and is a completely new work by Tom Stoppard. So it’s fair to say the general feeling is that it’s going to be a good’un. Fingers crossed you pull something amazing out the bag, Nick.
The Hard Problem is currently sold out but keep an eye out on the National Theatre website for returns and information about day tickets. It runs from 29th January until 16th April, with previews from 21st January.
#4 American Buffalo
A late runner on the list in that it’s only just been announced, American Buffalo is a revival of the David Mamet play about a group of small-time thieves and the events that surround them planning one big heist. The real drawer for many here though is going to be the presence of Homeland/Band of Brothers/sexiest gingers in the world star Damian Lewis, who hasn’t been seen on the London stage since 2009.
American Buffalo opens at the Wyndham’s Theatre on 16th April and runs until 27th June. Tickets can be purchased from the Delfont Mackintosh website.
#5 High Society
It’s been a while since the Old Vic staged a musical, and they’ve pulled a right cracker out of the bag this season, with a new staging of High Society. This version, directed by west end favourite Maria Friedman will be staged as part of their Season in the Round CQS Space, so don’t expect elaborate sets, but do expect a cracking cast and some of the best musical theatre London has to offer. Now all we need is a casting announcement to actually confirm that sweepingly presumptuous statement.
High Society runs from 14th May until 22nd August at the Old Vic theatre. Previews are from 30th April and tickets can be purchased at the Old Vic website.
#6 A View from the Bridge
In the centenary of Arthur Miller’s birth, we can expect to see more than one revival of his work, but none can be much finer than this one which was seen at the Young Vic last year and is being transferred over to the west end for a longer run. Starring Mark Strong (that chap who you know from the films but can’t quite place the name) it opened at the Young Vic to rave reviews so expect it to do very well in its new home at the Wyndham’s prior to Damien Lewis’s American Buffalo.
Another one of the high profile transfers, this promises to be an absolute cracker when it rocks into the Savoy in a few months. Starring Imelda Staunton as Mama Rose, Lara Pulver and Kevin Whately, it had almost unanimously five-star reviews when it ran at the Chichester Festival Theatre earlier in 2014, so it’s no surprise that it’s made the move into town. This is bound to be one of the hot tickets this year so get yours now. I have.
Gypsy opens at the Savoy Theatre on 28th March and is currently booking until 18th July (but is expected to extend until November). Tickets are best purchased from the Ambassador Theatre Group website.
#8 The Ruling Class
It seems James McAvoy has found himself a taste for the Trafalgar Studios. Following his impressive run as Macbeth in 2013, he’s returning to play the lead in Jamie Lloyd’s latest Trafalgar Transformed play The Ruling Class. Surrounding paranoid schizophrenic Jack, the story focuses on the English nobility. This new production marks the first time the cult classic has been revived, and with London’s golden boy Lloyd at the helm, expect good things.
The Ruling Class opens at Trafalgar Studios 1 on 28th January and runs until 11th April, with previews from 16th January. Tickets can be purchased from the Ambassador Theatre Group website.
#9 Sweeney Todd
There was a definite flurry of people trying to get tickets when this one was announced. An almost-Broadway-transfer, it actually ran over at the Lincoln Center in a similar format, but we’re still not sure to what degree this version by the ENO is going to be staged. With Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel playing Mrs Lovett and Sweeney Todd, you can guarantee it’ll be a cracker though. Further casting is still to be announced, but it makes little difference because it’s virtually sold out already.
There are a few tickets left for this over at the ENO website, but most are restricted views or premium prices. Still, for Sondheim fans, this isn’t one to be missed. It runs at the London Colisum for an incredibly limited 13 performances from 30th March until 12th April.
#10 A long runner
This isn’t a new production before you start Googling the name, but it’s there for anyone who has missed one of London’s best productions to date. Either because there’s been something else you want to see instead or you just haven’t got around to it. There are plenty of long runners in town that deserve a viewing if only to find out what you have or haven’t been missing. Nip into The Lion King and see why the first ten minutes really are the best, visit Phantom and check out why it’s still to this day one of the most expensive looking musicals on the west end, or go and see Billy Elliot, sit on the front few rows and cry your way through it (I totally didn’t do that, obviously…).
Whatever you go and see in 2015, enjoy! And let me know what you think.