With the long-awaited UK premiere of Next to Normal finally opening last week – and being hailed by WhatsOnStage’s Sarah Crompton as an “absolutely superb production with a cast who are pitch perfect dramatically as well as vocally” – we thought it’s about time we revisited our wishlist for shows that have made waves across the pond but are yet to set sail for UK shores.
In recent times, we’ve been treated to stagings of such Broadway hits as A Strange Loop, The Band’s Visit, Disney’s Newsies and Ain’t Too Proud to name just a few, but there are still plenty that remain conspicuous by their absence in the UK.
Here are our top ten picks…
Lyricist Tim Rice had been hinting at a London premiere for Aida back in 2020 but there have been no official announcements made since then for this Disney Theatrical title, which also features music by Elton John and a book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls and David Henry Hwang. A Stage Entertainment production is currently taking bookings at Scheveningen’s AFAS Circustheater in the Netherlands until 31 January 2024, so we have our fingers crossed that a UK premiere might still be “written in the stars” after this.
With an Australian premiere now officially set for 2025, our question simply remains: Where is OUR Beetlejuice… Beetlejuice… BEETLEJUICE?!!
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
This 2012 musical comedy went on to win four Tonys at the 68th Annual Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Following a group of aristocrats at the start of the 20th century and relishing in a tone not too dissimilar to the current five-star smash hit Operation Mincemeat, we think A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder could definitely find its audience on these shores.
Jagged Little Pill
Although an official press release signalled a West End premiere for autumn 2022, a production never materilaised for the Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical that explores the trials and tribulations of the Healy family, all set to the hits of one Alanis Morissette. Fingers crossed the show has not been “Uninvited” and that we might still be able to fall “Head Over Feet” for a UK staging!
Kimberly Akimbo had an overwhelmingly positive night at the Tony Awards this past summer, leaving with no less than five trophies! Jeanine Tesori and David Lindsay-Abaire’s musical centers around a lonely teenage girl named Kimberly Levaco, who suffers from a medical condition that causes her body to age rapidly. It’s had a “Great Adventure” stateside so far, so we’re hoping that can continue for a limited or open-ended run over here.
Ever since the pandemic put an abrupt stop to the Broadway production of Mean Girls, UK fans have been patiently waiting… and waiting… as the rumour mill continued to stir speculation. With filming now complete for a movie musical adaptation for Paramount+, we couldn’t think of a better time for this cautionary tale to be told in London’s West End.
Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812
Composer/lyricist Dave Malloy will be represented at the National Theatre this autumn with the eagerly anticipated musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, but his hit Broadway show Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 – itself adapted from a section of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace – is still yet to blaze its way to UK theatres. Its immersive staging went down a treat across the pond and shows like the Bridge’s revival of Guys and Dolls indicate that audiences are certainly keen to get involved.
Of Thee I Sing
Of Thee I Sing is interestingly one (and the first!) of only ten musicals to win a Pulitzer Prize – you can have an extra cookie if you can guess the rest. With a score by the Gershwins and a book by George S Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, it may need something of a revamp but, with a story about a charlatan getting into the White House, it could feel timely, given a certain former President and potential future candidate recently made headlines with an infamous mugshot.
Some Like It Hot
Another big winner at this past summer’s Tony Awards, Some Like It Hot took home four trophies and could well make a successful leap across the pond in the near future. A glorious throwback to a bygone era of musical theatre, the show boasts a book by Matthew López (The Inheritance) and Amber Ruffin (Late Night with Seth Meyers) and a score by the Hairspray team of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. “Baby, Let’s Get Good” in the UK!
The writing team of John O’Farrell and Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick currently have a successful West End transfer of Mrs Doubtfire to shout about, but their previous Broadway musical, Something Rotten! (which follows two brothers in the late 16th century who try and outshine a legendary playwright by the name of William Shakespeare) was all set for a UK premiere at Birmingham Rep until the C-word threw a spanner in the works. Here’s hoping this one isn’t dead in the (transatlantic) water!