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20 Spotify albums to get you musical ready for 2020

Check out these cast recordings to get you in the mood

Jake Gyllenhaal
© Matthew Murphy

It's no surprise some of the most-celebrated musicals have Spotify albums that theatre fans play on repeat again and again and again. Hamilton averages over 2 million monthly listeners and Six is set to break 100 million listens on all its streaming platforms by the end of the year. Plus, albums of previous productions are a great way to learn those all-important song lyrics before the musical comes to the UK stage. So, to get ahead of the curve, check out these cast recordings for shows that are destined to grace the boards in 2020:

Rags the Musical

This revival had its UK premiere at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester in spring 2019 and recently announced a transfer to London's Park Theatre. A tale of Russian immigrant Rebecca, who travels with her son to America and is faced with the difficult decision of either adopting a new identity or staying true to her roots, it has lyrics by the legendary Stephen Schwartz (Wicked) and first ran on Broadway in 1986. Top tune? "Children of the Wind". Rags the Musical is running at the Park Theatre from 9 January to 8 February

The Wedding Singer

Kevin Clifton
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

The Strictly dancer Kevin Clifton will come to Wembley as the lead in this 2006 Broadway musical, playing the same role as Adam Sandler in the 1998 film. But who will play Drew Barrymore? Lucie Jones held the role in the 2017 UK touring production, and she does have a gap in her calendar now that Sara Bareilles is returning to Waitress... Top tune? "It's Your Wedding Day". The Wedding Singer is running at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre from 30 January to 1 March


Frances Barber in Musik
© The Other Richard

This one-woman show, co-written by the Pet Shop Boys, stars the iconic Frances Barber and has a whole host of new songs penned especially for her. Running at a speedy 60 minutes, it's the perfect return for character Billie Trix who first appeared in the musical's 2001 prequel Closer To Heaven. Top tune? "Friendly Fire". Musik is running at Leicester Square Theatre from 5 February to 1 March

Be More Chill

Renee Lamb, Millie O'Connell, Scott Folan and Blake Patrick Anderson

The Six legacy meets with the Broadway smash-hit in this production, with ex-queens Renee Lamb and Millie O'Connell leading the teen cult sensation that found its followers online back in 2015. Be More Chill follows teenager Jeremy who takes a micro-processor pill in order to become cooler at high school. Top tune? "Michael in the Bathroom". Be More Chill is running at The Other Palace from 12 February to 23 May

Pretty Woman: The Musical

Aimie Atkinson and Danny Mac
© Oliver Rosser

Ah, that classic romance of a rich businessman and an escort falling in love and living happily ever after. OK, so it's not quite Disney, but Pretty Woman catapulted Julia Roberts into the Hollywood spotlight and spawned one of the most iconic title songs in film history by Roy Orbison. Broadway turned it into a musical with Samantha Barks and Andy Karl, and now it comes to the West End with Six queen Aimie Atkinson and Danny Mac in the leading roles. Top tune? "Welcome to Hollywood". Pretty Woman is running at the Piccadilly Theatre from 13 February to 2 January 2021

The Last Five Years

Raffie Julien and Anthony Snowden in the Wales Millennium Centre 2018 production of The Last Five Years
© Kirsten McTernan

Southwark Playhouse has established its place as an incubator for musicals to develop, grow and thrive, and Jonathan O'Boyle's production of The Last Five Years is sure to be no exception. Jason Robert Brown's 2001 show, inspired by his own failed marriage, was made into a film in 2015 with none other than musical royalty Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan. Top tune? "The Schmuel Song". The Last Five Years is running at Southwark Playhouse from 28 February to 28 March

City of Angels

Hadley Fraser, Rebecca Trehearn, Rosalie Craig and Vanessa Williams
(© three left: Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage, far right: David Gordon for TheaterMania)

Josie Rourke has assembled a pretty unbeatable list of performers for the return of City of Angels, which last played at the Donmar Warehouse in 2015. Here we go: Vanessa Williams, Rosalie Craig, Hadley Fraser, Rebeccca Trehearn, Nicola Roberts, Jonathan Slinger and Theo James. Phew! Top tune? "Double Talk". City of Angels is running at the Garrick Theatre from 5 March to 5 September

West Side Story

West Side Story
© The Other Richard

One of the most iconic musicals of all time returns to Manchester in 2020, with Andy Coxon and Gabriela Garcìa reprising their roles after Sarah Frankcom's production played to critical acclaim in 2019. Top tune? How do we pick just one?! "America", "Cool", "Somewhere", "I Feel Pretty", "Maria", "Tonight" and even the "Prologue". Leonard Bernstein's score is full of them! West Side Story is running at the Royal Exchange, Manchester from 18 April to 23 May

Hairspray the Musical

Michael Ball is back in Hairspray, and if that isn't enough of an excuse to listen to the soundtrack and get excited for the return of Tracy Turnblad, then nothing is! With Lizzie Bea and Marisha Wallace also joining the cast, this musical is sure to be the nicest thing in town. We can sure hear the bells. Top tune? "You Can't Stop the Beat". Hairspray the Musical is touring the UK and running at the Coliseum from 23 April to 29 August

Bring it On

Bring It On

Flipping, flying, tumbling and spinning into theatres across the country, Bring It On is back! While this production is yet to be cast, it's sure to be packed full of quadruple threats. Singers, dancers, actors and cheerleaders will carry on the legacy of Adrienne Warren, who appeared in the original American production, as well as Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, Gabrielle Union and Jesse Bradford from the 2000 film. Oh, and did we forget to mention? Lin-Manuel Miranda co-wrote the music and lyrics. Enough said. Top tune? "Cross the Line". Bring It On is touring the UK and Ireland from 2 June to 28 November

Sunday in the Park with George

It's one of the most anticipated musicals of 2020, with acting legend Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford starring in Sunday in the Park with George after its run on Broadway in 2017. And what better way to celebrate the return of an old Sondheim favourite than with a trip down momery lane, courtesy of the cast recording! Top tune? "Finishing the Hat". Sunday in the Park with George is running at the Savoy Theatre from 11 June to 5 September


The 2019 Open Air Theatre company of Evita
© Marc Brenner

It was Regent's Park Open Air Theatre's most successful musical to date, seen by over 75,000 people. And now it's back in the Barbican Theatre, with the award-winning Jamie Lloyd back at the helm. Lloyd is currently directing with James McAvoy in Cyrano de Bergerac at the Playhouse Theatre, before Emilia Clarke comes to play The Seagull and Jessica Chastain stars in A Doll's House. We wonder if there'll be any big acting names in this show that is synonymous with the likes of Madonna and Antonio Banderas. Top tune? "Don't Cry for Me Argentina". Evita is running at the Barbican Theatre from 27 June to 22 August

Singin' in the Rain

Singin in the Rain
© Singin in the Rain

Gene Kelly famously filmed the iconic title scene of this 1952 film while battling a cold and fever. That's six hours of filming a day for seven days, all drenched in a mixture of water and milk, to get that scene right. Ouch! And now Chichester Festival Theatre's WhatsOnStage Award-winning production comes to Sadler's Wells. Top tune? "Singin' in the Rain", obviously. Singin' in the Rain is running at Sadler's Wells from 24 July to 30 August

Sister Act

Jennifer Saunders and Whoopi Goldberg
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Take us to heaven with the return of this musical. Brenda Edwards plays the iconic role of Deloris Van Cartier around the UK, but it's the legendary Whoopi Goldberg herself who'll be back in the driving seat for the show's London run. And who will Whoopi be bouncing zingy one-liners off as the Mother Superior? Only Jennifer Saunders. Fabulous, baby! Top tune? "Raise Your Voice". Sister Act is touring the UK from 21 April and running at the Eventim Apollo from 27 July to 30 August


Regent's Park Open Air Theatre
© Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

The Open Air Theatre launches its 2020 programme with a reunion between director Timothy Sheader and choregrapher Drew McOnie, after their smash hit Jesus Christ Superstar. This time it's a revival of a Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, with a song that has become famous worldwide as the anthem for Liverpool Football Club. Top tune? "You'll Never Walk Alone". Carousel is running at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre from 31 July to 19 September

Hello, Dolly!

Imelda Staunton and Jenna Russell
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnstage

Imelda Staunton has conquered almost every major female musical role out there. She's astounded as Momma Rose in Gypsy, triumphed as Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd and stunned at Sally in Follies. The title role in Hello, Dolly! seemed inevitable really. Alongside Jenna Russell, Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart's musical will come to the West End after a Broadway revival brought Bette Midler and Bernadette Peters back to the stage. Top tune? "Hello, Dolly!", closely followed by "Before the Parade Passes By". Hello Dolly! is running at the Adelphi Theatre from 11 August to 6 March 2021


Caissie Levy (Elsa) and the cast in the Broadway production of Frozen
© Deen van Meer

Two films that have both broken box office records and a Broadway musical that is proving just as iconic. Yes, Frozen finally receives its much-anticipated transfer to the West End, with Samantha Barks taking on the might of Idina Menzel as Elsa. But the musical cast recording has some new songs in it, notably "Monster" and "True Love", so make sure to check that one out as well as as the two film soundtracks. Top tune? "Let It Go." Frozen is running at Theatre Royal Drury Lane from 19 October

In The Heights

In The Heights

So we've cheated a little bit here. In The Heights, Miranda's first big Broadway hit, isn't (yet) scheduled to return to the stage. But with the trailer released, and the full-length film set to hit the silver screen in summer, we couldn't resist that feel-good soundtrack. And we have patience and faith that it won't be long until the show makes its inevitable comeback. Attention! Top tune? "In The Heights". In The Heights comes to cinemas in summer 2020

Moulin Rouge!

The Broadway production of Moulin Rouge!
© Matthew Murphy

OK, we cheated again, as this juggernaut won't make its way to the West End until 2021. But that just gives us all more time to listen to the Broadway cast album. In America, the show stars Karen Olivo as Satine, after she made her name opposite Miranda in In The Heights. In the film, it was Nicole Kidman as the seductress of the show. Who might take on the part in the West End? Welcome to the Moulin Rouge! Top tune? "Satine's Entrance", a mash-up of "Diamonds Are Forever", "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend", "Material Girl" and "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)". Moulin Rouge is running at the Piccadilly Theatre from 16 March 2021

Film soundtracks or artist compilations

These musicals don't have yet have cast recordings for them. But they're all coming to the stage and are all based on films or artists, so you can listen to the soundtracks and back catalogues to get yourself in the mood:

The Prince of Egypt

The might of Schwartz returns to the London stage again, this time with The Prince of Egypt at the Dominion Theatre. Christine Allado, Alexia Khadime, Liam Tamne, Debbie Kurup, Gary Wilmot and Luke Brady lead this cast to tell the story of Moses' freeing the slaves of Egypt. And with new songs written, such as "Never In A Million Years" and "Footprints in the Sand", written especially for this stage adaptation of the 2002 DreamWorks film, The Prince of Egypt is set to "Deliver Us" another West End hit. Top tune? "When You Believe". The Prince of Egypt is running at the Dominion Theatre from 5 February to 12 September

Back to the Future

Great Scott, Doc Brown is back! Not known as a musical film, the Back to the Future series and its associated DeLorean car became 80s icons. This stage production has Grammy and Emmy Award-winners on its team, with Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard providing the music and lyrics. With songs such as "Johnny B Goode" destined to transfer to the stage, alongside a newly released number "Gotta Start Somewhere", we're confident this show will be another smash hit. Top tune from the film? "The Power of Love". Back to the Future is running at the Opera House, Manchester from 20 February to 17 May

Sleepless the Musical

Michael Xavier and Kimberley Walsh

Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks made the 90s romcom a household name, and Michael D Xavier and Kimberley Walsh brought three preview performances to Wembley this December. With the likes of Celine Dion, Tammy Wynette and Nat King Cole on the film soundtrack, the stage is set for another classic transfer. Top tune from the film? "When I Fall in Love"". Sleepless the Musical is running at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre from 21 March

101 Dalmatians

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre
© Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

The Open Air Theatre continues its 2020 programme with a new musical version of 101 Dalmatians. Originally a book by Dodie Smith, the tale was famously adapted into a Disney film in 1961, with Glenn Close's performance in the 1996 live-action release terrifying children up and down the country. Top tune from the film? "Cruella de Vil". 101 Dalmatians is running at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre from 16 May February to 21 June

My Best Friend's Wedding

Alexandra Burke
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Alexandra Burke stars in this world premiere after wowing audiences around the country in shows like The Bodyguard, Chicago and Chess. Burke takes on a role made famous by Roberts in the 1997 hit film of the same name, but who will play opposite her in Dermot Mulroney's shoes? One thing's for sure, with the back catalogue of Burt Bacharach to choose from, hits like "What's New Pussycat" and "Walk On By" are sure to feature. Top tune from the film? "I Say A Little Prayer For You". My Best Friend's Wedding is touring the UK from 16 September

The Drifters Girl

Beverley Knight
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

The music of The Drifters is chock full of classics, "Under the Boardwalk", ",Up on the Roof" and "Stand By Me" being just three. And the music of this iconic band has been seen on stage before, as many songs were co-written by Carole King and featured in the Olivier Award-winning Beautiful. But who can take on these songs and do them justice in new musical The Drifters Girl? Beverley Knight of course, star of Sylvia, The Bodyguard, Memphis and a Brit Award nominee. Top tune from The Drifters? "On Broadway". The Drifters Girl is running at the Garrick Theatre from 1 October to 13 February 2021