Broadway shows Brits should be excited about
From King Kong to The Cher Show here are the US musicals you definitely need to watch out for
With the recent news that we're getting Pretty Woman in the West End, here's a selection of recent Broadway shows which we think everyone should keep an eye on. There's no concrete information on any of them arriving on these shores, but wouldn't they just go down a treat if they did?
It has just closed on Broadway, after opening on the Great White Way in March 2017 and running for 800-odd performances, so there's no chance to catch this if you're heading to New York anytime soon. But with its very European tale – the story of Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, who may or may not have escaped the execution of her family – it's a prime one for us.
The Cher Show
The Cher Show was described by one critic as a 'maddening mishmash' but by one of our Broadway moles as an undeniably enjoyable hot mess. And it's probably true that if you're a Cher fan, you'll be a fan of this madcap jukebox musical. It recently closed in New York and we can only "believe" we'll see it here soon.
The 1964 musical, based on Thornton Wilder's 1938 farce The Merchant of Yonkers follows Dolly Gallagher Levi, a matchmaker who travels to New York to find a match for an unmarried millionaire. This revival starred the inimitable Bette Midler, before Bernadette Peters took over the role of Dolly from January 2018. Our very own Charlie Stemp appeared in the piece before it closed late last year and headed out on a tour. We haven't had a full-blown revival over here for a very, very long time...
My Fair Lady
Bartlett Sher, the director of the recent successful The King and I revival, is the man behind this revival of Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady, which is currently staring Laura Benanti as Eliza and Harry Hadden-Paton as Henry Higgins. What with the Brits involved, and Sher's last revival doing so well over here, we are hoping we may see the piece in London and beyond sometime soon.
Be More Chill
This madcap sci-fi musical is based on the novel by Ned Vizzini and looks at what might happen if popularity came in the form of a pill. It opened this year to positive reviews and, if so, it could be one we might get to see in the not too distant future.
You will likely remember, or at least have heard of, the film of the same name starring Dustin Hoffman. It follows actor Michael Dorsey who decides to impersonate a woman because he's desperate for a TV job. It opened on Broadway last year and stars Santino Fontana and has music and lyrics by David Yazbeck (see The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown). The film was a huge hit over here, so we're hoping producers are making plans...
The Band's Visit
This show, based on the Israeli film of the same name, has an extraordinary premise. It's the tale of what happens when a police orchestra accidentally gets sent to an isolated desert town, as opposed to the city of Petah Tikvah. It cleaned up at the Tony Awards in 2017, winning ten including Best Musical. We think it's unfair of Broadway to keep hold of it!
The US is reeling at the moment from this Oklahoma! revival, which stages Rodgers and Hammerstein's piece in an innovative way. The in-the-round production features chili and cornbread at the interval and new arrangements and orchestrations by Daniel Kluger and reimagines the original musical, exploring it through a 21st century lens. Note to Broadway: us Brits love a musical that plays with form (see Company).
Its opening on Broadway went down a storm, with stars Sophia Anne Caruso and Alex Brightman proving to be a recipe for success in this movie-turned-musical. We've heard word of a few West End stars making Atlantic trips to see the show in New York, so maybe it's only a matter of time before it arrives here...
It is happily drawing in the fans over in New York, but it's high time London got a look in too. Producer Sonia Friedman hinted last year that the musical was due for a trip over here, and we're still waiting for more news...
Baz Luhrmann's brilliant, effervescent, beautiful film has been adapted into a musical, and opened to a kaleidoscope of great reviews earlier this year, with an awesome soundtrack to boot. There are hints about its movements after New York with an Australian production already confirmed for 2021, but we're hoping that come what may, it will be over here soon.
We may have no news about the show's arrival over in the UK, but you'll be able to watch it in Netflix form, after it was announced that The Prom would feature on it soon. The show isn't based on a book, movie, TV show or anything else, offering a genuine, entirely original new musical. It also echos a little of our Everybody's Talking About Jamie, in that its plot is about a teenage girl who wants to bring a same sex date to her high school prom. Jamie is a proven hit over here, so it bodes well for The Prom.
It may have taken a bit of a bashing over in New York, but how could we not include King Kong on this list? Our very own Drew McOnie directs, Jack Thorne has written the book and its main character is a remarkable feat of theatrical engineering. The 20ft tall 2000lb ape is a huge, animatronic creation that's probably worth the ticket price alone. Can we see it please?
West Side Story
It hasn't even opened yet but already there's a huge amount of excitement about this new take on the iconic West Side Story, which will be directed by deconstruction impresario Ivo van Hove (who recently oversaw All About Eve in the West End). Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker has thrown out everything by Jerome Robbins and will be creating new choreography with a cast of 23 performers, all of whom make their Broadway debuts. Van Hove's work tends to travel far and wide after opening, so fingers crossed we'll get it on our shores.
Other shows on the horizon:
The Music Man with Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster is already causing a hugh-ge sense of anticipation – unusually it hasn't even announced a venue but is on sale. Diane Paulus (Waitress) is directing a revival about the American Revolutionary War (another one!) called 1776, while James Lapine is overseeing a show about artists experimenting with LSD called Flying Over Sunset. Then there's Alanis Morissette musical Jagged Little Pill, coming soon. Oh, and for those worried that we haven't covered plays – fear not, they're coming soon.