Musical Theatre 2015 Preview – all you need to know

You can’t get more comprehensive than this, here’s a preview of all the 2015 musical theatre openings we know about so far in the West End, on the London Fringe and across the UK.

Tamsin Greig as Pepa Marcos 2 - designer ASOS copy

Tamsin Greig leads the cast of Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown at the Playhouse Theatre

JANUARY:

Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – Playhouse, London

The UK premiere of David Yazbek and Jeffrey Lane’s new musical adaptation of Pedro Almodóvar’s Oscar-nominated film Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown opens in a limited run for 20 weeks only at the Playhouse Theatre on 12 January 2015, directed by Tony Award-winner Bartlett Sher. The musical boasts an international cast with Tamsin Greig, Haydn Gwynne, Willemijn Verkaik, Ricardo Afonso, Haydn Oakley, Jérôme Pradon and Anna Skellern.

A Little Night Music – One-off Concert – Palace Theatre

Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s A Little Night Music will be performed with an all-star cast at the Palace Theatre on 26 January. This concert performance, directed by Alastair Knights, marks the shows 40th anniversary since its West End debut in 1975 and the cast will include actress Anne Reid as Madame Armfeldt, two-time Olivier Award winners Janie Dee as Desiree Armfeldt, Joanna Riding as Countess Charlotte Malcolm and David Birrell as Fredrick Egerman. Also performing in the show are Simon Bailey, Fra Fee, Laura Pitt-Pulford, Anna O’Bryne, Bibi Jay, Nadim Naaman, Joe Vetch, Scott Garnham, Laura Tebbutt, Emma Harrold and Jenna Boyd.

The Grand Tour – Finborough Theatre, London

The European premiere of Jerry Herman’s Broadway musical The Grand Tour will be presented at London’s Finborough Theatre (1 January to 21 February 2015) by producer Danielle Tarento and director Thom Southerland, the same team that brought audiences TitanicParadeMack & Mabel and Victor/Victoria (press nights are 6 and 7 January). Alastair Brookshaw, Nic Kyle and Zoë Doano head the cast.

Bat Boy: The Musical – Southwark Playhouse, London

Ten years after its last known sighting, Bat Boy: The Musical will return to the London stage in a brand new production in The Large at Southwark Playhouse from 9 to 31 January 2015. Rob Compton will take on the title role of Bat Boy, alongside Lauren Ward as Meredith Parker and Matthew White as Dr Parker.

Happy Ending – Arcola Theatre, London

Based on her personal experiences of living with and succumbing to cancer, Anat Gov’s musical play Happy Ending tackles difficult life choices, presenting with sincerity and matter-of-fact humour the treatment of illness in all its highs, lows, dignities and absurdities. Translated from Hebrew, adapted by Hilla Bar and with music by composers Shlomi Shaban and Michal Solomon, this UK premiere is directed by Guy Retallack at London’s Arcola Theatre (28 January to 7 March 2015).

Oh What a Lovely War – Touring

Following a sold-out run in spring 2014, Terry Johnson’s revival of Oh What a Lovely War will return to its spiritual home – Theatre Royal Stratford East – in January 2015, before embarking on a national tour. It will be produced by Judy Lloyd and Matthew Mitchell.

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Todd Carty in the touring production of Monty Python’s Spamalot

Monty Python’s Spamalot – Touring

Monty Python’s Spamalot is galloping back out on tour from January 2015, bringing the recent London production directed by Christopher Luscombe to theatres across the UK. The show begins its tour at the Opera House, Manchester on 15 January 2015.

The Sound of Music – Touring

Actress and singer Danielle Hope will play the iconic role of Maria von Trapp in a new production of The Sound of Music which opens on Thursday 15 January at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley and then moves to the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton to commence a major national tour. Stage and television performer Steven Houghton plays Captain von Trapp.

Return to the Forbidden Planet – Touring

Return to the Forbidden Planet is back in a major 25th anniversary production, launching from Brighton Theatre Royal on 20 January 2015 (press night is 21 January).

Jesus Christ Superstar – Touring

Glenn Carter, Rhydian Roberts, Tim Rogers and Rachel Adedeji star in Jesus Christ Superstar when it returns to the stage in 2015 in a new production which opens at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley on 21 January ahead of a major UK tour.

Anything Goes – Touring

Stage Entertainment, in association with Sheffield Theatres, presents the UK and Ireland tour of Cole Porter’s classic musical comedy Anything Goes. Following its run at the Crucible theatre in Sheffield, the tour opens at the New Wimbledon Theatre on 29 January 2015. The new production is directed by Daniel Evans and choreographed by Alistair David.

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Katie Brayben in Beautiful – The Carole King Musical at the Aldwych Theatre. Picture: Uli Weber

FEBRUARY:

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical – Aldwych Theatre

Katie Brayben will play the title role in the West End production of Beautiful – The Carole King Musical opening at the Aldwych Theatre in February next year. Alan Morrissey will play King’s husband and song-writing partner Gerry Goffin. London previews begin on 10 February 2015, with the show currently booking to 13 June 2015 (press night will now take place on 24 February).

Let It Be – Garrick Theatre and Touring

Let It Be will return to the Garrick Theatre on 28 February where it will play for a limited season until 27 September before hitting the road to tour the length and breadth of the UK.

It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman – Leicester Square Theatre, London

All Star Productions’ acclaimed production of It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman had its UK premiere in March 2014 at Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre on the London Fringe, and its success has meant the production will take up residence from 10-21 February 2015 at the Leicester Square Theatre for a limited run of just ten performances.

The Goodbye Girl – Upstairs at the Gatehouse

For the first time in 18 years, Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl will be re-introduced to the UK in a brand new production at London’s Upstairs at the Gatehouse. It will be directed by Adam Lenson and produced by Szpiezak Productions. The show will run for four weeks, starting previews on 4 February, with press night on 6 February.

Yarico – London Theatre Workshop

Bringing the story of Yarico, a powerful musical about forbidden love, betrayal and redemption, to the stage has been a ten-year labour of love for producers John Kidd and his daughter Jodie, the model and UK TV presenter. Yarico will get its world premiere at the new bijou theatre, London Theatre Workshop, in February 2015.

Mamma Mia! – Liverpool Empire

The Mamma Mia! international tour will perform for the first time ever at the Liverpool Empire from 20 February to 14 March, with Liverpool being the only UK mainland date outside of London to host the production in 2015.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – Touring

There’s double the X Factor this February as Marcus Collins joins fellow contestant Lloyd Daniels for the 2015 tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Collins will step into the role of Narrator alongside Lloyd’s Joseph from 4 February. Bill Kenwright’s production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s family opens at the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham on 4 February

The Bodyguard – Touring

Following her sell-out run at the Adelphi Theatre in London’s West End, three-time Brit nominee and X Factor winner Alexandra Burke will star in the leading role of Rachel Marron in the forthcoming UK and Ireland tour of Thea Sharrock’s hit musical The Bodyguard. The tour opens at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton on 12 February 2015.

Oklahoma! – Touring

Music & Lyrics Limited and Royal & Derngate Northampton are presenting a new production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Oklahoma!, directed by Rachel Kavanaugh and with new choreography by Drew McOnie, which will tour the UK and Ireland, opening at the Derngate Theatre on 19 February 2015. Belinda Lang plays Aunt Eller, with Gary Wilmot as Ali Hakim, Ashley Day as Curly, Charlotte Wakefield as Laurey and Nic Greenshields as Jud Fry.

Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel. Photo by Richard H

Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel at a press launch for Sweeney Todd at the London Coliseum. Picture: Richard H Smith

MARCH:

Sweeney Todd ­– English National Opera

Lonny Price will direct Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson in Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, A Musical Thriller, the first production in a major new long term partnership between English National Opera (ENO) and the GradeLinnit Company. The strictly limited run of 13 performances at ENO’s London Coliseum begins on 30 March 2015 with press night on 31 March and the final performance on 12 April.

The Night of Electric Voices – London Coliseum

Apart from other international guests who will be announced in January 2015, the stars for this unique evening will include the previously announced Adam Pascal (Broadway’s RENT and Memphis); Kerry Ellis (Wicked and Oliver!), and David Michael Johnson (We Will Rock You in Germany). The concert, in support of the Alan Jay Lerner Fund at The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, will be introduced by Tim Rice. Already in the line-up are Ricardo Afonso, Cynthia Erivo, David Bedella, Daniel Boys, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Tiffany Graves and Oliver Tompsett.

Once the Musical – Phoenix Theatre (closing)

Ronan Keating and Jill Winternitz are the last performers to play Guy and Girl in this wonderful London production of Once the Musical as it closes at the Phoenix Theatre on 21 March prior to a European tour.

Sinatra 100 – London Palladium

2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Francis Albert ‘Frank’ Sinatra and to celebrate this momentous occasion, The Ministry of Entertainment Ltd is presenting the world premiere of Sinatra 100 (opening on Friday 20 March 2015 and running to Saturday 25 April), five weeks of performances by the biggest stars in the world, at the London Palladium, the world famous iconic venue where Sinatra made his British singing debut in 1950.

Jerry’s Girls – St James Studio, London

Thirty years after it opened on Broadway, musical revue Jerry’s Girls will be revived in a limited two-week run at the St James Studio, London from 3 to 15 March 2015.

The Producers – Touring

Comedian Jason Manford will star in a brand new UK tour of The Producers. Based on Mel Brooks’ Academy Award-winning movie, The Producers won a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards and three Olivier Awards. The musical opens its UK tour at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley in March 2015.

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Imelda Staunton (centre) will reprise the role of Momma Rose when the Chichester production of Gypsy transfers to the Savoy Theatre. Picture: Roy Tan

APRIL:

Gypsy – Savoy Theatre

Imelda Staunton will star as the indomitable Momma Rose in the West End transfer of Jonathan Kent’s sell-out Chichester Festival Theatre production of Gypsy, the first to be seen in London for 40 years. This strictly limited season opens at the Savoy Theatre on 15 April 2015 with previews from 28 March 2015.

Bugsy Malone – Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith

In April 2015, Alan Parker and Paul Williams’ world famous stage musical Bugsy Malone, based on his acclaimed film, will reopen the Lyric Hammersmith following a multi-million pound redevelopment (previewing from 11 April). The Lyric’s artistic director Sean Holmes and choreographer Drew McOnie will bring to life the UK’s first professional stage production of Bugsy Malone in over a decade.

Tuxedo Junction – Watermill Theatre, Newbury

Compiled by Simon Slater, this is a toe-tapping ride across America in the company of an eclectic band of musicians. It’s the 1940s, Hollywood’s booming, gasoline and nylon stockings are rationed, women are wearing their hair in Victory rolls, putting on red lipstick and jitterbugging with GIs. A company of Watermill trademark actor-musicians, including Simon Slater and Julian Littman, take the audience on a musical journey featuring songs of the period. The show runs from 31 March to 11 April (press night is 2 April).

Godspell – Touring

Godspell, the legendary rock musical from Stephen Schwartz, the Grammy and Academy Award-winning composer of Wicked, is back. Following the success of 2014’s gala performance at Shaftesbury Avenue’s Lyric Theatre, in support of the charity Make-A-Wish-Foundation UK, Godspell in Concert is set to tour the UK in 2015, opening at the Hackney Empire on 4 April.

Avenue Q – Touring

Avenue Q will return in 2015 and 2016, bringing a host of fuzzy friends to theatres across the country from 22 April 2015, when a new tour launches from the Mercury Theatre, Colchester. Avenue Q is produced by Sell a Door Theatre Company, who first presented this new production in a six-month tour in 2014.

Maria Friedman performed in concert at the Ambassadors Theatre, London

Maria Friedman directs High Society at the Old Vic

MAY:

High Society – Old Vic

Multi-award-winning director and actress Maria Friedman will direct an in the round production of Cole Porter’s classic musical High Society at the Old Vic, previewing from 30 April 2015 and running until 22 August (press night is 14 May).

Jason Robert Brown – Royal Festival Hall

Hailed as “one of Broadway’s smartest and most sophisticated songwriters since Stephen Sondheim”, three-time Tony Award winning composer, lyricist, conductor, arranger, orchestrator, director and performer Jason Robert Brown will present a very special show on 26 May 2015 at London’s Royal Festival Hall showcasing some of his best loved work.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – Touring

Starting at Birmingham’s New Alexandra Theatre on 5 May, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels will tour the UK with runs at the Manchester Opera House, Sunderland Empire and the King’s Theatre in Glasgow, followed by international productions in Australia, Germany and South Korea.

York New Musical Festival

The third York New Musical Festival continues to showcase new musical shows at all stages of development from song cycles to complete versions. The event takes place from 29 to 31 May at the Upstage Centre Youth Theatre, Monkgate, York.

2. Bend It Like BeckhamJUNE:

Bend It Like Beckham – Phoenix Theatre

Gurinder Chadha will direct the world premiere of the new British stage musical Bend It Like Beckham which will play at the Phoenix Theatre from 15 May 2015, with its opening night on 24 June. The musical has a score by Howard Goodall (music) and Charles Hart (lyrics), a new book by Paul Mayeda Berges and Gurinder Chadha, together with choreography and musical staging by Aletta Collins.

JULY:

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
– Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, Seven Brides runs at the Open Air from 
16 July to 29 August (press night is 23 July). The production reunites the team behind the 2013 award-winning production of The Sound of Music.  

Annie – Touring

Strictly judge and choreographer Craig Revel Horwood will star as Miss Hannigan in a brand new production of the musical Annie, opening on 11 July 2015 at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle before embarking on a year-long tour.

henderson-630x310-300x147AUGUST:

Mrs Henderson Presents – Theatre Royal, Bath

Mrs Henderson Presents, the brand new musical based on the film starring Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins, will have its world premiere prior to the West End as part of Theatre Royal Bath’s summer season 2015 (14 August to 3 September 2015).

SEPTEMBER:

Crush – Touring

Crush, a brand new musical comedy, will premiere at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry, playing from 4 to 19 September 2015. The show will then play Theatre Royal Brighton (22-26 September) and Richmond Theatre (29 September-3 October).

Hairspray – Touring

A new production of Hairspray will embark on a major UK tour in 2015/16. The musical comedy will begin its UK tour at Leicester’s Curve theatre on 9 September 2015 and will then tour to 29 venues across the UK, including a Christmas residency at Birmingham Alexandra Theatre in December 2015.

* Make sure you look out for the latest reviews and features on the Musical Theatre Review website.

* Readers may also be interested in:

Interview – Maria Friedman

Interview – Todd Carty dusts down his coconuts for the Spamalot tour

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