In true West End Wanderer tradition, here’s a look ahead at what’s in store for theatre in 2017. These are my top 10 shows to look out for over the coming 12 months.
Angels in America – National Theatre
It feels like it’s been a while since the National had a show with quite so much buzz about it as this one – heck, they’ve even decided to give it its own on-sale dates to deal with the expected traffic to the website. And with Andrew Garfield (it’s freaking Spider-Man!), Nathan Lane (a freaking theatrical legend and, you know, Timone from The Lion King), Russell Tovey (former History Boy) and Denise Gough (that one what won the Olivier Award last year) it’s not surprising that it’s got people talking. Split into two parts, it’s going to be both epic for audiences and epic for the National’s bank balance, no doubt! Tickets are on sale now, and the production runs from April onwards in the Lyttelton Theatre.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – Harold Pinter Theatre
The first of two entries on the list for everyone’s favourite Mama Rose, Imelda Staunton. From February, she’ll be starring opposite Conleth Hill in Edward Albee’s iconic play about marital relationships. This is the first time the play has been seen in the West End since Kathleen Turner took on the role of Martha back in 2005, and with James MacDonald at the helm, and Luke Treadaway and Imogen Poots finishing off the cast, there are high hopes for this latest revival. Tickets are already on sale, and the production runs until May.
An American in Paris – Dominion Theatre
An American in Paris is the first of only three Broadway transfers on the list, having recently closed on the other side of the pond. Based on the film of the same name starring Gene Kelly, the musical tells the story of a war-Veteran-turned-artist Jerry Mulligan and his relationship with Lisa Bouvier. With grand production values, and stunning music, this stage version promises to capture the same charm as the original movie, and the list of accolades it received during its run in New York would suggest it manages to do just that. An American in Paris runs from March and is currently booking until September on the Dominion Theatre website.
Don Juan in Soho – Wyndham’s Theatre
Mum’s favourite, David Tennant, returns to the London stage this year in Patrick Marber’s production of his own play Don Juan in Soho. Promising to be both funny and filthy, this is the play’s first London revival since its original run at the Donmar Warehouse in 2006. Adrian Scarborough and Gawn Grainger have already been announced as support, with further casting to be announced. With a strictly limited run, this looks set to continue the Wyndham’s very healthy string of successful plays. Tickets are available from the Delfont Mackintosh website for dates between 17th March and 10th June.
The Glass Menagerie – Duke of York’s Theatre
This is one transfer that has been a long time coming – over two years in fact. John Tiffany (who will now forever be known as the guy who brought Harry Potter to the stage) did this little known version (it received 7 Tony nominations…) of The Glass Menagerie back in 2013 on Broadway. After paying a visit to Edinburgh last year, it was only a matter of time before the set found its way down the country and it’s opening at the Duke of York’s Theatre this month for a limited engagement. Expect great reviews and a couple of award nominations once again. Tickets are available from the ATG website, and the production runs from 26th January until 29th April.
Woyzeck – Old Vic Theatre
Ey up, it’s that chap from Star Wars. Yes, John Boyega is gracing the London stage this year in what is an exciting season for the Old Vic. This is a new version of Büchner’s play that’s been adapted by Jack Thorne (also now of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child fame), and it’ll be interesting to see what director Joe Murphy does with the material. Don’t go in expecting a laugh a minute, and there will be absolutely no Storm Troopers involved. Woyzeck has an incredibly short run from 13th May to 24th June, and tickets are available from the Old Vic website.
Follies – National Theatre
Imelda Stauntun returns to Sondheim in what is surely the National’s second moneymaker of the year. Follies is coming back to London, and with Dominic Cooke directing and a cast that includes Staunton, Janie Dee, Philip Quast and Tracie Bennett, it’s pretty safe to say that it’s in safe hands. The National have taken the interesting decision to pop this on the Olivier stage, which can only mean we’re in for a visual treat, and some showgirl numbers that are more camp than Christmas. Dates are to be confirmed and tickets will be going on sale later in the year.
On the Town – Open Air Theatre
Open Air Theatre had a great year last year with their revival of Jesus Christ Superstar, directed by Timothy Sheader and choreographed by Drew McOnie. And while JCS will be returning later this year, before that will be a revival of Leonard Bernstein’s On the Town with McOnie doing both the direction and choreography. The second adaptation of a Gene Kelly film on the list, this has all the ingredients to be another big hit, and An American in Paris over at the Dominion could find itself outcharmed. Tickets are on sale now from the Open Air Theatre website, and the production runs from 19th May until 1st July.
The Wild Party – The Other Palace
Where on earth is The Other Palace? Well, in case you haven’t heard, St James’s Theatre has been taken over by Andrew Lloyd Webber and is set to be rebranded as the slightly controversial name above. That aside, artistic director Paul Taylor-Mills has done a cracking job of securing an opening season that starts off with The Wild Party. Also directed by Drew McOnie (clearly the man of the moment), this stars Les Mis legend Frances Ruffelle in the main role. The production runs from 13th February to 1st April and tickets are available now.
Hamilton – Victoria Palace Theatre
If there’s a 2017 equivalent of the buzz that surrounded Harry Potter in 2016, this is it. Arguably (well undoubtedly) Broadway’s biggest hit in years, Hamilton will be heading our way in November with more anticipation than Cameron Mackintosh can handle. It’s going to be interesting to see if UK audiences take to it in the same way as the US has, but early buzz suggests Mackintosh won’t have to worry about filling the void left in his bank from gutting and rebuilding the Victoria Palace. We’ve been promised that prices won’t be reaching quite the same astronomical levels as in the US – watch this space… Tickets go on sale from the 30th January via Ticketmaster.