Dear Evan Hansen
It seems like yesterday that Pasek and Paul were the relatively unknown writing duo behind cult-hit musical Dogfight, but 2017 has seen them rise to stardom with their Academy Award-winning work on La La Land, the Barnum blockbuster The Greatest Showman and their stonking Broadway musical, Dear Evan Hansen. We've heard rumours it could be heading into the Phoenix after Chicago, which would mean we have to wait until 2019, but if that improves our chances of getting the show's original cast member Ben Platt over, then we'll happily wait.
Emma Rice's parting gift to Shakespeare's Globe is this beautiful and charming new musical adaptation of the French-Belgian film Les Émotifs Anonymes. With a stunning central performance from Carly Bawden and pitch-perfect supporting performances from a company including Joanna Riding, Gareth Snook and Lauren Samuels, this tasty tale about a pair of social misfits who bond over their love of chocolate simply must have another life.
The Dorfman played host to Lucy Kirkwood's new play about particle physics and family dynamics. With fantastic turns from Olivias Colman and Williams, this was one of our top plays of the year and features in Sarah Crompton's Top 10 shows of 2017. In her glowing review she said: "this is the kind of play that makes me want to punch the air in celebration".
Sara Bareilles' musical first premiered at the American Repertory Theater in 2015 and tells the story of a waitress in an unhappy marriage who gets pregnant and begins an affair with her gynaecologist. With a staunch following on this side of the pond already, a West End transfer has been talked about for some time now, and auditions have apparently been taking place, but a venue for the show is yet to be announced. We think it's about time they served it up to London audiences.
When Chichester Festival Theatre's new artistic director Daniel Evans announced that stage royalty Ian McKellen would be revisiting Lear in his first season, the whole of our office gasped in glee. When further casting included Tamara Lawrance, Sinead Cusack and Dervla Kirwan we positively squealed with excitement. Unfortunately, only one of us managed to secure tickets to the production in the tiny Minerva Theatre, so fingers are firmly crossed for a transfer in to town.
We've waited patiently for 13 years and now we can finally look forward to a musical adaptation of Tina Fey's 2004 film, Mean Girls. It opens on Broadway in March and with a book by Fey and direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw (Dreamgirls, Aladdin), it's bound to be fetch. We can't wait to be shouting 'You go Glen Coco' from the royal circle of a West End theatre soon.
Come From Away
The story of this Canadian musical's journey to Broadway is almost as remarkable as the tale it tells. Set in the week following the September 11 attacks, it tells the real-life story of 7000 people stranded after 38 flights were grounded in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland. It was first produced in Ontario way back in 2013 and went on to have record-breaking runs across the USA before finally arriving on Broadway earlier this year. Let's hope its transfer to the West End doesn't take as long.
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole
In a cracking year for new British musicals which included the aforementioned Romantics Anonymous as well as the brilliant Everybody's Talking About Jamie, this reworking of Brunger and Cleary's musical based on Sue Townsend's much-loved novels turned heads when it premiered at the Menier Chocolate Factory. Our five-star review said it was 'a blast: an entertainment-focused spectacle with smart jokes and even better songs.'
Andrew Lloyd Webber's new theatre for new musicals hit the ground running this year and presented some promising workshop productions that we'd love to see have a further light. From a lovely stripped-back production of Frank Wildhorn's Bonnie and Clyde to Laurence O'Keefe and Kevin Murphy's Heathers. But one that seems particularly likely to return in 2018 is the Lord's very own Starlight Express – not least because the show's artwork said 2018 on it. Watch this space.
It's about Shakespeare and has a book by Brit writer John O'Farrell, so it's practically a British musical by default! The show follows the Bottom brothers who struggle to compete with their contemporary, William Shakespeare. When one of them meets Nostradamus' less gifted nephew they learn the key to success is in musicals. It sounds bonkers, and it is bonkers, which is just what we need in town right now. Not even a squeak of a rumour on this one though.
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