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Looking Ahead: Best of the New Seasons

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With new seasons already announced from regional theatres such as the Lowry, Oldham Coliseum, Manchester's Library, The Liverpool Empire, Palace and Opera House, and The Royal Exchange - among so many others - the future looks bright for theatregoers in this neck of the woods. But are you looking forward to the most? Here, we lament the loss of Mystic Meg and have a look into the future at what the stalls and beyond has in store for your hard earned cash.

Ramin Karimloo - He may have learned that Love Never Dies is no more, but this excellent performer is the West End's loss and the regions' gain as he tours as a singer. I first saw him in the touring version of Miss Saigon and he moved me beyond belief so expect the same effect when he arrives at the Bridgewater Hall in October.

Beautiful Thing - is a beautiful play which was last seen at the Bolton Octagon a few years ago. It is set to be a highlight in the Royal Exchange Theatre's New Season. It never dates and if the performers deliver as heartfelt turns as I have seen previously, this is set to melt hearts all over again. It also gives Corrie audiences the chance to see what a great playwright Jonathan Harvey is.

Man With Two Guvnors - is so popular that is has the muscle to replace Love Never Dies at the Adelphi. Already a huge hit at the National, it embarks on a small tour then opens in the West End. This is a real coup for the Lowry and it has already sold out so the term "Beg for a ticket" does not apply as there are none left. If you have already booked, you are in for a really funny treat.

The Ladykillers - opens at the Gielgud in December. But prior to that, Liverpool audiences get the chance to see the play, based on the famous Ealing movie. Forget the Cohen Brothers clumsy adaptation, this looks set to restore some of the great slapstick scenes of the original. With Ben Miller and Peter Capaldi in the cast, this one cannot fail.

Two - Jim Cartwright's clever two hander is brilliantly observed. North West audiences have two chances to see this classic, at the Dukes and the Royal Exchange. The material is so strong that even when done by amateur companies, this one soars. It also serves as a reminder of how pubs made us all feel part of a community that facebook and twitter could only dream of.

South Pacific - is at the Barbican and the Palace in Manchester. This seems to be the year of London arriving in the North West. The bonus of this production is that it's really New York coming to Manchester as this is their production. Samantha Womack should prove there is more to her than crying with a baby in her arms on Albert Square, as anyone who has seen her in Betrayal or Guys and Dolls will testify. With some of the finest songs in musical history, this is one to watch out for.

With Legally Blonde, Wind In the Willows, Equus, Edward II, Slava's Snowshow, and Dirty Dancing - all coming to the North West, this promises to be another great second half of 2011. So, keep on coming back here - as we will be covering them all.

That's enough from us, what are you looking forward to the most? Leave your comments at the foot of this blog.


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