Take Ten: Broadway shows that have crossed the pond
To coincide with the official opening of The Book of Mormon tonight (21 March), and with our new owners TheaterMania bringing a touch of the Great White Way to Whatsonstage.com, we thought we'd take a look at a few of the shows in the West End now and coming soon that originated over the pond... Gavin Creel & Jared Gertner in The Book of Mormon
THE BOOK OF MORMON The big opener this week is The Book of Mormon, the hit show which took Broadway by storm when it opened in 2011. Written by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, as well as Avenue Q co-writer Robert Lopez, it tells the story of Elders Price and Cunningham, two young Mormon missionaries who are sent to a remote Ugandan village.Not one for the easily offended, The Book of Mormon has won numerous awards, including nine Tonys (Best Musical being one of them), and is currently one of the hottest tickets in town.With a cast led by Gavin Creel and Jared Gertner, who are reprising their roles having both starred in the original US tour, the West End production also features Alexia Khadime, Stephen Ashfield and Chris Jarman. The company of Once
ONCE Another big show opening soon (press night 9 April) is Once, coming to London having won 8 Tony Awards in 2012, including Best New Musical. Based on the 2006 film of the same name, it tells the story of an Irish busker and a young Czech mother who meet and connect through their shared love of music. Featuring all of the songs from the film, including the Oscar-winning "Falling Slowly", the show features actor-musicians who bring the spirit of an Irish ceilidh to the stage. Coming to London following a period in Dublin, the cast includes Declan Bennett and Zrinka Cvitešiæ. You can have a sneaky listen to the Broadway cast recording here, and that should whet your appetite for our Outing on 15 April. The Broadway cast of The Scottsboro Boys THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS Kander & Ebb's musical is receiving its UK premiere at the Young Vic in October. One of the duo's last collaborations, The Scottsboro Boys premiered in New York in 2010, and was nominated for 12 Tony Awards. The show is based on the Scottsboro Boys trial, in which nine black men were falsely accused of rape by two white women. The Young Vic production will be directed by five-time Tony Award-winner Susan Stroman, who also helmed the original Off-Broadway and Broadway productions.
The company of Spamalot
SPAMALOT A musical comedy "lovingly ripped off" from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot is created by Python alumnus Eric Idle, and originally opened on Broadway in February 2005. Having been produced in over 15 countries worldwide, it won three Tony Awards in 2005, and the original West End production was nominated for 7 Olivier Awards in 2006, and won two 2007 Whatsonstage.com Awards. Featuring the classic song "Always Look On the Bright Side of Life", the show is packed full of Python references, and has been reworked for its current run. The current cast includes Robin Armstrong, Sarah Earnshaw and Jon Robyns.
Matthew Wycliffe, Ryan Molloy, Jon Boydon & Eugene McCoy JERSEY BOYS Telling the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Jersey Boys originally opened on Broadway in October 2005. It won four 2006 Tony Awards, and opened in London in 2008, subsequently winning the 2008 Olivier Award for Best New Musical and four 2009 Whatsonstage.com Awards. Celebrating its fifth birthday next week, the show features many of the band's most famous hits including "Beggin'", "Can't Take My Eyes Off You", "Oh What A Night", "Walk Like A Man" and "Sherry". Ryan Molloy has played Frankie Valli in the West End since the show opened, and is currently joined by a cast including Jon Boydon, David McGranaghan and Edd Post.
Company of A Chorus Line A CHORUS LINE Currently running at the London Palladium, A Chorus Line originally opened on Broadway in July 1975, winning nine Tony Awards as well as the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. With music by Marvin Hamlisch, the show centres on seventeen Broadway dancers auditioning for spots in a chorus. It features songs including "One", "What I Did For Love" and "At the Ballet". The current production is directed by original choreographer Bob Avian and the cast includes John Partridge, Scarlett Strallen, Leigh Zimmerman and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt.
Company of Rock of Ages
ROCK OF AGES Originally opening on Broadway in March 2009, Rock of Ages is packed full of ‘80s tunes, including "Don't Stop Believin'", "We Built This City" and "The Final Countdown". The show was turned into a film starring Tom Cruise in 2012, and opened originally in London at the Shaftesbury Theatre in September 2011 starring Oliver Tompsett, Natalie Andreou, Justin Lee Collins and Shayne Ward. It transferred to the Garrick Theatre in January 2013, and currently features among the cast Tim Howar, Ross Hunter, Natalie Andreou and Simon Lipkin.
Gina Beck & Louise Dearman
WICKED The hit show opened on Broadway in October 2003, starring Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth as Elphaba and Glinda respectively. Based on Gregory Maguire's novel, it tells the untold story of the witches of Oz. Menzel reprised her role when it opened in London in September 2006. The show won four Whatsonstage.com Awards in 2007, and has subsequently twice won Best Takeover in a Role and Best West End Show. With music by Stephen Schwartz, songs in the show include "Defying Gravity", "For Good" and "Popular". The current cast features Gina Beck as Glinda and Louise Dearman as Elphaba – the only actress to have played both Elphaba and Glinda in the show.
Company of The Lion King
THE LION KING Based on the animated Disney film, The Lion King originally opened on Broadway in October 1997. It has won numerous awards, including the 1998 Tony Award for Best Musical. It opened in London in October 1999, where it's still running. Featuring music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice, songs include "Circle of Life", "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and "I Just Can't Wait to be King". The original Broadway cast included Heather Headley as Nala. West End cast members have included Shaun Escoffery, Alexia Khadime and Sharon D Clarke.
Broadway company of The Color Purple
THE COLOR PURPLE The musical version of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Color Purple will be receiving its European premiere at the Menier Chocolate Factory later this year. The musical premiered in 2004, receiving its Broadway premiere in 2005 and going on to by nominated for ten Tony Awards. It ran until 2008 and has since been revived for several national US tours. With a score of jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues, The Color Purple is adapted for the stage by Pulitzer Prize and Tony award winner Marsha Norman, with music and lyrics by Grammy award winners Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray. The production will be directed and designed by Tony Award-winner John Doyle.
There are also a few shows that are rumoured to be bridging the transatlantic gap in the not so distant future. Here we take a look at five of them... NEWSIESProducers of the hit 2012 Broadway show based on the 1992 Disney film are rumoured to be actively seeking a London home for the show. Centring on the exploits of a group of newspaper boys in 1900s New York, the show has music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Jack Feldman. SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARKThe accident-prone big-budget show is rumoured to be searching for a London home, with the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and London Palladium being scoped out as potential venues. The project may have been stalled due to the huge set pieces and complicated flying that the show uses, but watch this space! PETER AND THE STAR-CATCHERThe five-time Tony Award-winning play provides a backstory for Peter Pan. Directed by Alex Timbers and Roger Rees, we heard gossip back in July that the show might be heading to London. TITLE OF SHOWThe show, which opened on Broadway in July 2008, chronicles its own creation as an entry in the New York Musical Theatre Festival. It is believed to be coming the London later this year with the full original cast. VIVA FOREVER!The Spice Girls musical from Mamma Mia! producer Judy Craymer, with book by Jennifer Saunders, may not have gone down well with the critics over here, but is rumoured to have ambitions for a Broadway run.