London’s West End has been one of the UK capital’s main attractions since the theatre district was established in the early 1800s.
Today London’s theatreland has around 40 venues, each with their own personality and attracting world-class shows. This year is set to be especially spectacular, as new performances aplenty head for West End stages.
And with many top hotels next to the theatres, it’s easy to combine a London stay with a show. Many have great offers too, including pre-theatre menus and overnight stays. So the only decision now is what to see…
Here’s LHI’s pick of what’s new and what’s rumoured for 2015 and 2016:
Back to the Future
We may be showing our age by telling you we remember watching the classic Michael J Fox films as kids, but we can’t wait for the Back to the Future musical to hit the stage.
The musical will see Robert Zemeckis, who co-wrote and directed the 1985 film, reunited with fellow writer Bob Gale to pen the stage adaption. Composer Alan Silvestri, who scored many Zemeckis movies, is co-author of the music and lyrics, along with songwriter Glen Ballard. We’re still waiting for a date.
The show was due to go ahead in 2015 because that is the 30th anniversary of the film but rumour has it that we may have to wait until next year.
Everyone’s favourite wizard is also said to be heading for the West End stage.
Author JK Rowling is expected to work with writers and producers to put together a theatrical version of the best-selling novels. The production won’t be an abridged version of the trilogy but will instead focus on Harry’s early childhood. John Tiffany is said to be the front-runner for the director’s role.
The 80s are having a moment as songstress Cyndi Lauper has co-written Kinky Boots, the hit Broadway show which is now heading to London.
The show is based on the 2005 film of the same name, which tells the story of Charlie Price, who forms a partnership with a drag queen to save his shoe factory. Kinky Boots will arrive at the Adelphi Theatre in August.
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
The story of how the girl with the extraordinary talent became a superstar has transferred from Broadway to the Aldwych Theatre.
As you’d expect, the soundtrack is outstanding, ranging from King’s very first hit at the age of 17, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, to the classics she wrote like Up on The Roof and Locomotion. Handy for cocktails at One Aldwych.
Dusty The Musical
Another musical legend is being brought to the stage.
Comedian Sandi Toksvig has written the script and Jonathan Church is set to direct. The show about Dusty Springfield will track the Son of a Preacher Man’s career, from her days performing under her real name Mary O’Brien to her rise to chart success and her death in 1999. Further details will emerge soon.
Bend it Like Beckham
The movie inspired a whole generation of girls to play football while celebrating the British Asian community.
Now we’re set for the musical, which kicks off at the Phoenix Theatre with previews in May. The story follows heroine Jess who faces family aversion to her dreams of following in the footsteps of her hero David Beckham. Gurinder Chadha, who directed the film, is also directing the stage version.
It’s always been one of our favourite Disney movies, mainly because of the incredible job done by comedic legend Robin Williams in voicing the genie.
While we’d love it to be here sooner, it’s likely Prince Ali’s magic carpet ride will come to the West End in 2016.
Rumour has it Disney executives have their eye on the Prince Edward Theatre. Already Aladdin has been a huge hit with audiences at Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre and we’re sure it will be just as popular in London.
Take That frontman Gary Barlow has written some of the music for a new stage version of Calendar Girls, which has already seen phenomenal success as both a film and a play.
Produced by David Pugh Productions, the musical will stick to its original plot, following the real-life tale of a Women’s Institute group who raised money for a local hospice by posing nude for a calendar.
Motown The Musical
Motown The Musical has broken records on Broadway and will be heading to London in 2016.
The show is jam-packed with hits from the beat which took the whole world by storm. From Diana Ross to Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson to Stevie Wonder, the soundtrack features 40 toe-tapping classics such as My Girl, Dancing in the Street and I Heard it Through The Grapevine. Motown The Musical is coming to London next year before heading back to Broadway.
Roald Dahl’s The Twits
Little theatre goers aren’t left out this season, with a performance of Roald Dahl’s The Twits due to hit the stage at the Royal Court Theatre in April.
Mr and Mrs Twit really aren’t very nice at all but that makes them all the more watchable. Adapted from Roald Dahl’s story, Enda Walsh tells the tale of this vile couple and whether the family of monkeys they hold in a cage manage to get their own back. The show isn’t recommended for very young children, but those over eight shouldn’t be too scared by the performance!
Get your splurge guns at the ready for an irresistible version of Alan Parker’s ever popular musical Bugsy Malone, which arrives at the Lyric Theatre in April.
The theatre has just undergone a multi-million pound redevelopment and the Bugsy audience will be one of the first to see the finished result. Fat Sam’s Grand Slam promises to be as lively as ever with a cast of young talent playing the likes of Bugsy himself, Blousey and Tallulah.
There’s so many great new shows coming up, you’ll have the perfect excuse to have two, three, four or more London theatre breaks over the coming months!