The next year is an exciting and busy period for musical revivals, as some beloved shows return to the West End. Here are four of the biggest ones that guest blogger Nicole Ackman advises you to get booking now...
Chess is coming to the London Coliseum for just five weeks, starting 26 April 2018. The show features music from ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus with lyrics by Tim Rice. The story centres around a chess tournament between an American and a Soviet man during the Cold War.
The show includes hits like “Anthem”, “I Know Him So Well”, and “One Night in Bangkok”. It premiered in the West End in 1986 and reflected the American-Soviet tension of the time. In 2008, there was a special concert version of the show at the Royal Albert Hall that resulted in a CD and DVD of the performance. The cast included Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal, Kerry Ellis, and Josh Groban.
A newly remastered version of the show is headed to Broadway soon, after a successful
Rodger and Hammerstein’s The King and I will have its fourth West End revival starting this June at the London Palladium. Based on the 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam, it tells the story of an English governess who goes to Siam to teach the King’s many children. It had its West End debut in 1953 and its last revival in London was in 2000.
The King and I
This production comes straight from Broadway, where it ran at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre from 2015 to 2016 to rave reviews. Directed by Bartlett Sher, it garnered four Tony Awards and featured Kelli O’Hara as Anna and Ken Watanabe as the King. Both O’Hara and
Kander, Ebb, and Fosse’s hit Chicago returns to London at the Phoenix Theatre on 26 March 2018, after only being gone from the West End for five years. The show, set in Chicago during Prohibition, is a satire about corruption in the courts and celebrity criminals. It originally opened in the West End in 1979.
The 1997 London revival ran for nearly 15 years, making it the longest-running American musical in the West End ever. The film adaption made in 2002 won an Oscar for Best Picture. The show features classic songs like “Cell Block Tango” and “All That Jazz”.
Chicago will open later this month at the Phoenix Theatre with film actor Cuba Gooding Jr as Billy Flynn, Josefina Gabrielle (who previously played Roxie Hart in the West End) as Velma Kelly, and Ruthie Henshall (the only British actress to have played all three female leads of the show) as Mama Morton. Sarah Soetaert will return to the role of Roxie Hart.
Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Company will open at the Gielgud Theatre in September 2018 for a limited run. The show originally opened in the West End in 1972 with a 1995 revival following at the Donmar Warehouse. It follows the story of a single man with commitment issues named Bobby and his best friends, who are five married couples.
It is a concept musical, rather than a traditional book musical, and is composed of scenes in non-chronological order.
This new revival by Elliot & Harper will feature Rosalie Craig as Bobbi. The decision to change the lead character to a woman and the related changes have been approved by Sondheim himself. Craig is joined by Mel Giedroyc (of Great British Bakeoff fame) and Broadway legend Patti LuPone.