Top shows we'd love to see return in 2023
Here's our 2023 wishlist!
Sometimes shows break through the mould and, long after their original runs have ended, they're still pined after by theatre fans and potential audiences (and us at WOS, we have so many feelings). With that in mind, we've whittled down our dreams and hopes into a list of 20 shows we'd love to see make a return soon. Note, these lists have a knack for predicting the future – so maybe a few of these shows aren't as far away as you think…
Later today we're also going to be asking to hear your thoughts - so get some suggestions ready!
Rock/Paper/Scissors at Sheffield Theatres
Chris Bush's three-show, one-cast, three-venues, one-time creative puzzle of a play is an ode to the sheer ambition and all-out frontier-busting nature of modern theatre. Given it relied extensively on the three-venue nature of Sheffield Theatres, could it be replicated at another location? Leeds Playhouse maybe? Or the National Theatre?
The Time Traveller's Wife
We got an exclusive first listen to this exciting new musical and, having now completed a preview run in Chester, we're predicting it'll be no time at all before this sci-fi romance musical makes its way back to the stage. Take a first listen now so you know what to expect.
Few original British musicals land with the same gusto as Ride, replete with catchy tunes, well-wrought characters and a fantastic creative team. Telling the true story of a woman who decides to embark on a cycling odyssey to escape her circumstances, it was a stand-out success at Charing Cross Theatre and, with rumblings of a cast album, we expect it'll be peddling back onto the stage in no time!
Yes, it's going to Broadway and yes, it's available to stream now, but imagine if we got another run of Suzie Miller's brilliant solo piece, which is as thought-provoking as it is gripping. Given the vital message underpinning the drama, it'd be a no-brainer to reprogramme this one if/when Comer is available.
Feeling Afraid As If Something Terrible is Going to Happen / Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder
Producer Francesca Moody knows how to steer a show to a success story – one needs only take a look at Fleabag or Baby Reindeer as cases in point. She presented two critically lauded shows at this year's Edinburgh Fringe – including Marcelo Dos Santos' note-perfect Feeling Afraid As If Something Terrible is Going to Happen and the taut new musical Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder. We doubt this is the end for either show.
Brown Boys Swim
Earning one of the few five star reviews we gave at the Edinburgh Fringe, this charming, two-hander from Karim Khan was a beautifully intimate and lingering tale that will appeal to anyone who watches it. It's been seen at a few venues since its original Edinburgh run, but a major tour wouldn't be a bad thing.
Let the Right One In
Jack Thorne's adaptation of the much-loved novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, about a young boy who meets a vampire, is a richly thematic, pertinent play that might sound ghoulish but ends up life-enriching. It was an all-out success in Manchester and, fingers crossed, we start seeing more versions of it popping up in the future.
Disney's Bedknobs and Broomsticks
It had a wildly successful tour coming right off the back of lockdowns, earning adulation across the UK. Now that Mary Poppins is preparing to soar out of the West End, could we see another musical based on a hit Disney film based on the story of a magically gifted maverick helping a group of children take its place? Oh, and of course it has to be dedicated to the memory of Angela Lansbury.
Jack Absolute Flies Again
A certified crowd-pleaser with more puns and word mishaps than a Tim Vine tribute show, Oliver Chris and Richard Bean's wartime comedy was a roaring success when it ran at the National Theatre earlier this year. We all need a laugh right now – so this may be the ideal tonic.
Curve's revival of Billy Elliot was an absolute knockout during its summer run in Leicester. Lucy Hind's choreography ensured that even the pirouettes packed a punch.
This new musical based on The Parent Trap has double the mischief and double the heart. In the spirit of duos Stiles and Dewe compose a charmingly fun soundtrack that chronicles the adventure that takes us trotting across Europe.
It was one of the hottest tickets of the year - and one that unfortunately escaped a lot of people given it sold out with the sort of rapidity you'd expect from an Elton John/Jake Shears/James Graham creation. It'd be lovely to see the show have a great resurrection.
My Neighbour Totoro
It hasn't closed yet, admittedly, but seeing as the entire run has already sold out, we can already start pining for a return outing soon! So far, the magic has truly been kept tucked away in the Barbican with not even a glimpse at the wonderment of Totoro. All aboard the Catbus once more, please?
Here's a sad one – we expected Jamie Lloyd's Open Air Theatre production to have a brilliant, kaleidoscopic life at the Barbican in 2020, only for the pandemic to derail those plans completely. We just hope the WOSAward-winning show will be back at some stage!
This reinterpretation of the classic Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice was at the National last October before promptly disappearing without a "wait for me"! But we're hoping that the Tony Award-winning storm of a show will be back at/on some stage in 2023. Murmurings will always surround such a high-profile production, but we'll just have to wait and see what the gods will grant us.
Tyrell Williams' first full-length play, which has received a wealth of critical and audience love ever since it first opened at the Bush Theatre, heralded the arrival of a brilliant new playwright ready to provide a vital voice for our community. Could a rematch at the Bush be in store? Or even a transfer to a new space…
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Leeds Playhouse and HOME Manchester's Divina De Campo-led revival of the cult classic musical proved to be an uproarious (award-nominated) bonanza that did an underrated gem of a show the justice it so sorely needs. While Leeds and Manchester were graced with Jamie Fletcher's production, could other cities get the same dose of Hedwig?
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Brad Pitt may have monopolised the Benjamin Button market for the time being, but this folks-y show about a man who ages in reverse was a testament to the power of Off-West End musicals. It enjoyed a stellar season at Southwark Playhouse before the pandemic and fingers crossed will find new life some time soon.
We're basically just asking for more Andrew Scott to grace our stages, but Matthew Warchus' reimagining of Present Laughter was such a finely wrought play (bagging a whopping eight WhatsOnStage Awards nominations back when it was first on, winning a few too) that it needs to be seen again regardless.
Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
We've already launched a fully fledged campaign to get the Hope Mill's production of Rent back for a full run (and would eat whatever's stuck in our flue if it doesn't get announced in 2023) but the stellar premiere staging of this R&H musical in Manchester was a sure-fire success – it should lead to a fruitful future life.