WhatsOnStage Logo
Home link

Autumn preview – top stage shows and musicals to see before 2022's out

Our editorial team pick the new shows they're most excited about

A variety of shows on offer

The nights are drawing in, so it's time for the comfort of a theatre to keep spirits high! The WOS editorial team – Alex Wood, Tom Millward and Tanyel Gumushan – have picked their favourite shows coming over the next four months. To note, we've only included unstaged productions never seen before – but you should always check out the likes of My Son's A Queer and The Doctor in the West End, Iphiginia in Splott at the Lyric Hammersmith and Othello on tour!

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The cast of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

It's a beloved fan franchise and with its sweet-natured tale of compassion, community and making a hotel run smoothly, perfect for the stage. UK tour just started. TM

Mrs Doubtfire

The hit movie had a Broadway premiere overshadowed by Covid, but that won't stop its Manchester opening from landing with a splash! Gabriel Vick will be stepping into the in-soles of the inimitable Robin Wiliams. Manchester Opera House, from 2 September TM

The Book Thief

The ensemble
© Ray Jefferson

The best-seller novel is adapted for the stage in this autumn – providing heartbreak, pathos and a horrifying world filtered through the imagination of a young girl. Bolton Octagon, from 17 September AW

The Famous Five

© Tim Hills

Another book making its way to the stage (there must be something in the literary water this winter), Chichester Festival Theatre and Theatr Clwyd are hosting the brand-new musical – a perfect family treat. Theatr Clwyd from 23 September, Chichester Festival Theatre from 21 October TG

The Band's Visit

Miri Mesika in rehearsals for The Band's Visit
© Helen Murray

It was a tearaway Tonys success on Broadway, so we've been counting down the weeks before we could finally see it in the UK. With a stellar cast, it's finally arrived. Donmar Warehouse, from 24 September AW

Good Luck, Studio

Greg Tannahill and Bryony Corrigan

The Mischief crew are like comedy sharks – they never stop swimming through the tropical waters of fun entertainment. Good Luck, Studio is their third new show of the year, which is pretty impressive stuff. The show takes place during the final night of recording for a massively over-budget and underwritten kid's TV show called Wibble the Dragon. Mercury Theatre in Colchester (30 September to 15 October), Salisbury Playhouse in Wiltshire (18 October to 5 November) and the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford (8 to 12 November). TM

The Time Traveller's Wife

Another new musical getting a regional premiere before it heads to the West End, a strong cohort of creatives have come together to tackle the much-loved tale about a man at the mercy of chronology – and the woman who decided to love him anyway. You can have an exclusive first listen above. Chester Storehouse, from 30 September.


David Tennant
© Georgia Tennant

One of the shows impacted by the pandemic, David Tennant will finally lead this gripping tale based around the underlying philosophy of Nazism. Something for one of the UK's finest performers to get their teeth into. Harold Pinter Theatre, from 6 October 2022 AW

My Neighbour Totoro

The Studio Ghibli masterpiece is being brought to the stage by a company who knows exactly how to make 'em – the RSC. Puppetry, live music, movement and more combine to conjure up a fantastical world of escapism. Barbican Theatre, from 8 October 2022 AW

Tammy Faye

Zubin Varla, Katie Brayben and Andrew Rannells
© Left: Leon Puplett

Announced very suddenly after literal years of waiting, the powerhouse writing team of Elton John (!), James Graham (!) and Jake Shears (!) bring the world of the inimitable preacher to the stage, with a powerhouse company in tow. Almeida Theatre, from 13 October TM

Let the Right One In

The Royal Exchange
© Joel Fildes

Jack Thorne's stagey version of the spooky thriller (about a vampire who befriends a boy) was an enchanting success at the Royal Court – but it'll fit sublimely in-the-round at the Royal Exchange. Royal Exchange, from 22 October AW

The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz

Another show disrupted by Covid is this sparkly new version of the recent Wizard of Oz musical – with additional Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice tunes. Now we just need to know who's stepping into those ruby slippers! Curve Leicester, from 19 November TG


© Felicity McCabe

The National has a brilliant autumn of shows coming up – from Blues for an Alabama Sky, The Crucible and Othello, with Giles Terera in the titular role. All are must-sees but we didn't want to look like we were fawning too much... National Theatre, from 23 November AW


Emma Corrin
© Michael Grandage Company

Virginia Woolf sees its lead character hop through centuries, countries, romances and genders, with captivating brilliance. We can't wait to see what Michael Grandage (Frozen) and Emma Corrin (The Crown) bring to this new version. Garrick Theatre, from 25 November AW


Michael Luwoye (Hamilton) plays the title role of Nelson Mandela, with Danielle Fiamanya (Frozen) as Winnie Mandela

New musicals have been slightly thin on the ground in London this year after last year's bonanza of Frozen, Back to the Future, Cinderella, Get Up, Stand Up and more – so it's exciting to see how the life of the political powerhouse is brought to the stage. Young Vic, from 28 November TG



Another Broadway fan favourite finally reaching our shores is one to make you want to seize the day! An innovative production laden with exciting talent (from what we've heard...) – make sure you check it out in Wembley! Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, from 29 November TM

Dolly Parton's Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol

A scene from the US production

A dose of Dolly Parton for Christmas? Yes please! Parton herself doesn't appear in her show but her magic will surely radiate from this excellent show twisting the tale of A Christmas Carol. Southbank Centre, from 8 December TG

A Streetcar Named Desire

Paul Mescal, Anjana Vasan and Lydia Wilson
© Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons, Dan Wooller

Paul "making-chains-cool-again" Mescal is heading for the Almeida in this new revival of the Williams classic, featuring the equally magnificent Anjana Vasan and Lydia Wilson. Rebecca Frecknall, who just beat an Oliviers record with Cabaret, directs. Almeida, from 10 December AW