2016 is upon us and with many spending their Christmas pennies on theatre tickets or making a new year’s resolution to see more shows, it’s time to think about the hottest productions for the upcoming year. With plenty already announced, here’s my rundown of the top 10 shows you cannot miss this year…
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Palace Theatre, London)
Clearly the most hotly anticipated stage production in years, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the next part in the Harry Potter saga. There was never any doubt that it would sell like hot cakes when it went on sale, and with the best part of a year now largely sold out, this is going to be raking in the cash as tourists travel from far and wide to see what happens next in the world of magic. With 6 months still to go until it even begins previews, it remains to be seen if it’ll be any good, but there’s no denying that this is the show to see in 2016 .
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child runs at the Palace Theatre from 7th June and tickets are available from the Nimax theatres website. Look out for my review on 1st October!
Aladdin (Prince Edward Theatre, London)
The first of the broadway transfers on this year’s list is Disney’s next foray into stage musicals, Aladdin. Met with mixed reviews in New York, this doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a fun and cheesy show, but with London lacking in the family friendly offering, this is a welcome addition. With a promising cast already announced and taking place in one of London’s premiere musical theatres (albeit just around the corner from the obvious competition, Harry Potter), it’ll be interesting to see whether any tweaks are made to help capture the London audiences and go after a more favourable response from critics on this side of the pond.
Aladdin runs at the Prince Edward Theatre from 27th May and tickets are available from the Delfont Mackintosh website. Look out for my review on 4th June!
Cleansed (Dorfman Theatre, National Theatre, London)
It’s not harsh of me to say that the National is having a bit of a poor run of things. Almost all of the most recent productions have all been falling quite flat with audiences, and even the critics in the NT fan club are starting to break away from using their standard 4-star stamps on reviews. And while Cleansed is only in the Dorfman Theatre, they’ll be hoping it pulls in the crowds with its controversy (it’s part of the Sarah Kane portfolio) and Katie Mitchell at the helm. If they can bag themselves a name, this will definitely have more of a chance than recent outings.
Cleansed runs in the Dorfman Theatre at the National Theatre from 16th February and tickets are available from the NT website. Look out for my review on 20th February!
Funny Girl (Savoy Theatre, London)
This is already running at the Menier Chocolate Factory, and opened to mostly positive reviews. However, feedback has been that the production is crying out for a larger space, and in April it will get it thanks to a transfer to the Savoy Theatre. With Sheridan Smith transferring with the show as Fanny Brice, it’s in good hands after she had great feedback for her quirky and comedic performance in the current run. The production also stars Darius Campbell as love interest Nick Arnstein.
Funny Girl runs at the Savoy Theatre from 9th April until 10th September and tickets are available from the ATG website. Look out for my review on 16th April!
People, Places & Things (Wyndham’s Theatre, London)
One of the few successful productions at the National in recent months has been Jeremy Herrin’s production of People, Places & Things in the Dorfman Theatre, so it’s great to see a West End transfer in the works. Making the trip over the river to the Wyndham’s Theatre, it’s taking its star, Denise Gough, with it. Gough is relatively unknown but had exceptional reviews for the original run and is likely to win plenty of awards come awards season early in the year. Reports are that her erratic performance is worth the ticket price alone, and if you get in there quick there are still some £15 on-stage seats remaining for plenty of dates throughout the run.
People, Places & Things runs at the Wyndham’s Theatre from 15th March until 4th June and tickets are available from the Delfont Mackintosh site. Look out for my review on 14th May!
Romeo and Juliet (Garrick Theatre, London)
For Lily James’s sake, I’m praying they make this a modern day production of the story. Following her stints in Downton Abbey, Cinderella, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and War and Peace, James is taking to the stage as Kenneth Branagh’s production of Romeo and Juliet, and must be longing to put on a pair of jeans instead of a petticoat. Starring opposite her is Cinderella co-star and similar fan of period clothing, Richard Madden. This will be the second Shakespeare in Branagh’s stint at the Garrick and while it will be down a Dench, it’s up a Jacobi, so will be sure to get similarly good review’s as 2015’s A Winter’s Tale. Hopefully.
Romeo and Juliet runs at the Garrick Theatre from 12th May until 13th August and tickets are available from the Branagh Company website. Look out for my review on 8th August!
Sunset Boulevard (London Coliseum, London)
Glenn is back. And that’s all you really need to know about this production to book a ticket. Yes, Hollywood-star-cum-dalmation-killer Glenn Close is back with a vengeance in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s return of Sunset Boulevard. Never one to do things by halves, Lloyd Webber has decided to take over the London Coliseum for over a month in April onwards. There’s no news on additional casting just yet, but expect it to be impressive. Although, following in the footsteps of last year’s Sweeney Todd at the same venue, don’t expect the same production values as Sunset’s original London run. Still, regardless of who is in it and what it looks like, this will still likely be a sell out.
Sunset Boulevard runs at the London Coliseum from 1st April until the 7th May and tickets are available from the ENO website. Look out for my review on 2nd April!
Groundhog Day the Musical (Old Vic Theatre, London)
No one is quite sure when this one is going to land as no official announcement of dates has come out, but there’s hope that it’ll be in 2016. And with a run of stinkers at the Old Vic during the early part of Matthew Warchus’s early residency as Artistic Director, the theatre could do with a big hit to get things back on track. Teaming up with Warchus on Groundhog Day the Musical will be fellow Matilda collaborator Tim Minchin. The expertise is definitely there and the source material is solid, so here’s hoping it lives up to expectations because the West End is in real need of a British-born hit musical.
There are no official dates for Groundhog Day the Musical, but keep an eye out on the Old Vic Theatre website for upcoming news.
Elegy (Donmar Warehouse, London)
It’s pretty safe to say that this year’s season at the Donmar lacks the excitement of earlier years, but that’s not to say that there aren’t some promising productions. The best of which is Nick Payne’s new play Elegy. Payne, who was responsible for 2012’s massive hit Constellations, is hoping to make waves again with this philosophical debate on the power of the brain. Artistic Director Jodie Rourke is taking the helm as director of the production so here’s hoping it lives up to the precedence set by the portfolio of both creatives.
Elegy runs at the Donmar Warehouse from 21st April until 18th June and tickets are available from the ATG website. Look out for my review on 27th May!
The Maids (Trafalgar Studios, London)
Another Downton alumni, Laura Carmichael, is making a return to the stage this year. Taking one of the lead roles in this new version of Jean Genet’s The Maids, she’s joined by Orange is the New Black star Uzo Adubo and Fresh Meat’s Zawe Ashton. Jamie Lloyd is in charge (so expect opinions to be as split as they are for Marmite), and this will follow his successful run of The Homecoming at Trafalgar Studios. The ingredients are all there, and here’s hoping it all comes together and makes for a gripping production.
The Maids is running at Trafalgar Studios from 20th February until 21st May and tickets are available from the ATG website. Look out for my review on 11th March!
Agree? Disagree? Think that Motown the Musical is going to be winning all the awards this time next year? Let me know in the comments below.