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15 musicals we can't wait for in 2019

Here's all the big song and dance shows you should be watching out for next year

Blues in the Night

2019 seems to be the year a lot of big New York musicals finally make their way over to these shores. Thank goodness for that. But it's not all bright lights from Broadway – there are several homegrown beauties that we're just as excited about. Here's what's coming up, squeezed into a list of 15 – meaning we couldn't manage to mention the returning Jesus Christ Superstar, Man of La Mancha at the Coliseum and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the Palladium. No doubt there will be more announcements to come, but here's a start.

Standing at the Sky's Edge

Standing at the Sky's Edge

Musician Richard Hawley is following in the footsteps of Dan Gillespie Sells and is providing the music and lyrics for Sheffield Crucible's latest musical offering. Written by Chris Bush and directed by Robert Hastie, Standing at the Sky's Edge is about the first residents of Sheffield's Park Hill and their story over the next 50 years. Hawley's sound is anything but what you'd call musical theatre, so this should be an intriguing, off-beat offering. Sheffield Crucible 15 March to 6 April

Mary Poppins

l-r Zizi Strallen as Mary Poppins and Charlie Stemp as Bert
© Seamus Ryan

The film's sequel has just been released, with star turns from Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, so what better time to announce a return for Mary Poppins the musical version? The show is directed by Richard Eyre and will star Zizi Strallen and Charlie Stemp. Best be ready when tickets go on sale for this one in the new year. Prince Edward Theatre, dates TBC

Blues in the Night

Blues in the Night

Sharon D Clarke is currently wowing audiences in Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori's magical realist musical Caroline, Or Change and she was seen on our small screens earlier this year in Doctor Who. Luckily we're seeing even more of her in 2019. Kiln Theatre's production of Sheldon Epps' musical opens in July and will feature Clarke singing songs by stars including Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer and many more. Kiln Theatre, 18 July to 7 September


Kaisa Hammarlund
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

This is a UK premiere for Tesori and Brian Crawley's musical, which takes short story The Ugliest Pilgrim as its starting point. It is set in 1964 and follows Violet, who was disfigured as a child, on her search to find a miracle. The brilliant Kaisa Hammarlund is going to take on the lead role, and after her turn in Fun Home at the Young Vic, we just can't wait. Charing Cross Theatre, 14 January to 6 April

Leave to Remain

The cast of Leave to Remain in rehearsals
© Helen Maybanks

Tyrone Huntley has wowed us in many things recently, including the superb revival of Jesus Christ Superstar (which incidentally is returning in 2019). Here he is starring in this piece which has songs from Bloc Party's Kele Okereke and is created by Matt Jones. Leave to Remain tells of a young gay couple whose lives are changed by visa issues. Lyric Hammersmith, 18 January to 16 February

9 to 5 the Musical

Louise Redknapp as Violet Newstead, Natalie McQueen as Doralee Rhodes and Amber Davies as Judy Bernly in 9 to 5 the Musical
© Simon Turtle

It's Dolly Parton's music and a whole host of musical theatre and pop stars! What's not to like? 9 to 5 the Musical is adapted from the 1980 movie and features Louise Redknapp, Amber Davies and Natalie McQueen, who play three colleagues who rebel against their sexist boss. Savoy Theatre, 28 January to 31 August

Come from Away

Heralded over in New York, this musical from Irene Sankoff and David Hein is set in the week following the September 11 attacks when 38 planes were told to land in the small towns of Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada. It's finally coming over to these shores following a run in Dublin and many runs in the US, this time with a crack cast led by the brilliant Rachel Tucker. Phoenix Theatre, 30 January to May 25


Katharine McPhee as Jenna
© Waitress the Musical

Sara Bareilles' beautiful melodies make this US musical a total treat. Waitress is adapted from the 2007 film about a young woman in a small town with a talent for baking. The cast for the London run of the show has recently been announced, with Katharine McPhee taking on the lead role of Jenna. It was nominated for four Tonys in the US, so this is nothing short of a hot ticket. Adelphi Theatre, 8 February to 25 May

Dear Evan Hansen

Taylor Trensch in Dear Evan Hansen
© Matthew Murphy

Another US import! But with this musical, we really don't mind where it has come from, so great is it. Details for casting are being kept firmly under wraps, but producers have said they are committed to a British cast. The piece itself follows a student with social anxiety who fakes a series of letters from a deceased member of his class to gain popularity. It won six Tonys so we're thinking it has a good chance of faring well over here. Noël Coward Theatre, dates TBC

Little Miss Sunshine

Little Miss Sunshine

Who isn't a fan of this hit 2006 film? This musical is therefore likely to appeal to a lot of people. The UK premiere of the show opens at the Arcola Theatre in May before an extensive tour. The heartwarming tale follows a family who travel from New Mexico to California to help their daughter Olive compete in a beauty contest. Arcola Theatre, 21 March to 11 May

West Side Story

Manchester Royal Exchange and Leicester Curve

Here's two for the price of one! One of our all-time favourite musicals gets put on twice in one year by two of the best theatres. First out is Manchester Royal Exchange's West Side Story, which will have new choreography from Aletta Collins and will be staged in the round. It's the first professional UK production not to use Jerome Robbins' choreography and we can't wait to see what happens. The second version will run at Curve over Christmas 2019, directed by the theatre's artistic director Nikolai Foster. This one has choreography from Ellen Kane, who is currently working on the new film adaptation of Cats and was the co-choreographer of Groundhog Day. If they aren't two things to get mighty excited about in 2019, then who knows what is.


Regent's Park Open Air Theatre
© DavidJensen 2018

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre has become synonymous with excellent musical theatre productions and this year's WhatsOnStage nominated Little Shop of Horrors is no different. In 2019 the inimitable Jamie Lloyd is to direct Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's iconic piece with casting and creative team yet to be announced. Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, 2 August to 21 September


Tracie Bennett
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

One of our finest musical theatre actresses Tracie Bennett is to star in the revival production of Jerome Lawrence, Jerry Herman and Robert E Lee's musical which is set in New York in the Great Depression. Bennett stars as Mame Dennis, the eccentric bohemian at the heart of the piece. Hope Mill Theatre, 27 September to 9 November



You'll remember the iconic, Parisian-esque soundtrack to this hit 2001 movie rom-com, which was directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and was nominated for five Academy Awards. Now we get the Broadway musical version, which will open at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury before heading out on tour. Casting has yet to be announced, but the Watermill is one of the nicest and smallest theatres around, so what a chance to see the first UK outing of the show in a great setting. Watermill Theatre 11 April to 18 May and then touring