Top new musicals to see in 2022
Ring out the old, bring in the new... Will 2022 be a perfect year for musical fans?
Although there are dark times at the moment, let us take the opportunity to look optimistically ahead to a plethora of new musicals set to hit our stages in 2022. After all, we work in a resilient industry that refuses to yield and, as far as we're concerned, there will always be another op'nin', another show...
We're sure there'll be plenty of reasons to love this jukebox show! The Osmonds – A New Musical boasts a story by Jay Osmond himself (adapted by Julian Bigg and Shaun Kerrison, who also directs) charting the career of Utah's favourite sons. This world premiere UK tour, featuring choreography by Bill Deamer and an embarrassment of hits from "Puppy Love" and "Long Haired Lover from Liverpool" to "Crazy Horses" and "Love Me for a Reason", is set to launch next year.
UK and Ireland tour opens at Curve, Leicester on 3 Februry 2022
The Charing Cross Theatre has certainly championed the staging of new musicals or revivals of rare gems in recent years and 2022 looks to continue that trend. Next month, the first full-length run of Broken Wings will be held at the venue under the direction of Bronagh Lagan. Based on Kahlil Gibran's poetic novel of the same name and adapted for the stage by Dana Al Fardan and Nadim Naaman (who also stars in the production), the story is set in New York in 1923, where an ageing Gibran reflects on his earlier years in Beirut and a fated love affair there.
Charing Cross Theatre, from 11 February to 26 March 2022
Jamie Babbit's 1999 movie became something of a cult classic, especially for the LGBTQ community, and musical stagings of But I'm a Cheerleader have already been experimentd at the New York Musical Theatre Festival (2005) and MT Fest UK (2019), but the world premiere is now set for February. With a book and lyrics by Bill Augustin and music by Andrew Abrams, the story follows a teenage girl (and proud cheer squad member) whose malicious parents send her to conversion therapy camp after suspecting she is actually a lesbian.
Turbine Theatre, from 18 February to 16 April 2022
Those of us who experienced childhood in the 1980s will no doubt remember Floella Benjamin with great fondness from her celebrated tenure on children's television. Published in 1997 in the form of a children's book, her memoir entitled Coming to England charts her journey from Trinidad to 1960s London at a tender age, where she would overcome racism, intolerance and adversity to become a TV icon, successful business woman and finally Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham. Adapted by David Wood, the new musical will debut next year under the direction of Omar Okai.
Birmingham Rep, from 19 February to 6 March 2022
North of the border, the National Theatre of Scotland is also brewing up something intriguing for 2022. Peter Mullan's 1998 film Orphans, a dark comedy following a group of siblings in Glasgow who gather together to arrange their mother's funeral, quickly became a cult classic. Now, a musical adaptation penned by Douglas Maxwell and featuring a score by Roddy Hart and Tommy Reilly, will hit the Scottish road under the direction of Cora Bissett, visiting Greenock, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness.
Scotland tour begins at Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock on 1 April 2022
The Watermill Theatre in Newbury will also be the home of a brand-new musical in 2022 with the world premiere of Our Man in Havana, based on Graham Greene's seminal novel. Adapted for the stage by Ben Morales Frost and Richard Hough and directed by Amy Draper, the piece promises "uplifting Cuban inspired songs" and, of course, Greene's satirical take on intelligence services like MI6. We spy a promising future for this one!
Watermill Theatre, from 7 April to 21 May 2022
The Cher Show wowed audiences on Broadway from 2018 to 2019 with its stunning display of iconic Cher outfits and saw fan favourite Stephanie J Block finally taking home her first Tony Award. Next year, UK audiences will get to marvel at a brand new production of the bio-musical, directed by Arlene Phillips and choreographed by Strictly standout Oti Mabuse, with Gabriella Slade taking over the fabulous costume designing duties. Do you Believe in life after Broadway? We certainly do!
UK and Ireland tour opens at Curve, Leicester on 15 April 2022
Will it be a case of third time lucky for everyone's favourite spotted pooches? Originally scheduled to run during the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre's 2020 season and cancelled again in 2021, we have everything crossed that this new musical adaptation of 101 Dalmatians will finally hit the stage next summer. Based on the beloved Dodie Smith novel, the piece features a book by Zinnie Harris and an original score by Douglas Hodge, with artistic director Timothy Sheader at the helm. We're already imagining an iconic entrance for a certain iconic villainess...
Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, from 12 July to 28 August 2022
Another new musical which has endured a couple of false starts is Identical, based on Erich Kästner's novel The Parent Trap (which also spawned the much loved Disney film series). The tale centers on twin girls separated at birth, who coincidentally meet at a summer camp ten years later and hatch a plot to swap places and live each other's lives in an attempt to reunite their parents. Directed by Trevor Nunn and featuring a book by Stuart Paterson and a score by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, this show has all the makings of a bona fide hit.
Nottingham Playhouse, from 26 July to 14 August 2022
Hello, poppets! Another Broadway tuner swiftly making its way to our shores is the musical adaptation of Mrs Doubtfire. Adapted by Wayne Kirkpatrick, Karey Kirkpatrick and John O'Farrell (who all previously collaborated on Something Rotten!) and based on the beloved 1993 film starring Robin Williams, the musical follows down-and-out actor Daniel Hillard, who, following a divorce, creates an alter ego in the form of British nanny Euphegenia Doubtfire to spend more time with his children. Who will follow in Williams' famous (low-heeled) footsteps at the UK premiere in Manchester next year?
Manchester Opera House, from 2 September to 1 October 2022
Claus The Musical
Is it too early to start talking about next Christmas? You bet your festive baubles it's not! The Lowry in Salford has big plans for 2022 with a world premiere up its sleeves. Claus the Musical is adapted by Simon Warne from the 1902 book The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L Frank Baum (also responsible for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, of course). The show features music and lyrics by Andy Collyer, direction by Kate Golledge and lashings of ho-ho-holiday spirit.
The Lowry, from 14 December 2022