Friday, 21 August 2015

5 Musicals (And 1 Play) That Need a West End Run



We're really lucky in London, having a wealth of exciting and diverse theatre on our doorstep with the West End, Off-West End shows, Fringe theatre and UK tours hitting the outer regions of Greater London. In recent years I've seen some absolutely splendid productions from Book of Mormon, Loserville and Matilda to smaller productions or those a little further afield, including The Clockmaker's Daughter, Grand Hotel and Assassins.

As a self-confessed musical theatre geek, I have spend many hours trawling YouTube for Tony ceremonies and other performances from productions that don't make it over here and consequently buying the full soundtracks to add to my ever-growing musical theatre collection. It's great to discover brilliant new shows that way, but it's not so great when there is no opportunity to then see them in London.

SEE ALSO: Cheap Theatre - How to See West End Theatre for Less

This is why I've created my list of productions that I believe TOTALLY deserve a West End run (or at least a home somewhere in the capital).


Catch Me If You Can

I have not seen this live on stage yet, but I adore the cast recording and there are ways to watch the full Broadway production online *cough* YouTube *cough*, which has definitely sold me on this show even more. I've always been fascinated by the story of teenage-conman-extraordinaire Frank Abagnale Jr, I adored the movie adaptation with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, and the musical went one step further to glamourise Frank's life. It really is suited for the sparkle of Broadway and the songs are SO good.

Live in Living Colour - Aaron Tveit (Frank), this performance is a
studio recording but has clips of the show too


Mary Poppins

This one has been in the West End before but during a time I wasn't living here (in fact I was living in Canada and Australia, so just a tad too far away). As my favourite Disney film of all time and with one of the most stunning sequences in musical theatre with Step in Time, this show has always been on my must-see list. It is touring the UK next year so hopefully they make a West End stop before or after, though I admit I'm disappointed that neither Gavin Lee or Gavin Creel will be taking on the role of Bert again, as they're both such phenomenal performers (I've seen them in Top Hat and Book of Mormon, respectively).

Step In Time (be sure to stick around for Bert's (Gavin Lee)
showstopper at the 5:45 mark)


Newsies

Based on the Disney film of the same name from the early 90s (which stars an all-singing, all-dancing Christian Bale in the lead) this was one of my two favourite shows (together with Kinky Boots, which is starting previews in London tonight!) when I made a trip to Broadway back in 2013. The songs are brilliantly catchy and the story of the newspaper boys on strike is both charming and grounded in American history, but it is the phenomenal choreography that makes this show so very special. Watch the below Tony Awards rendition of Seize the Day for a sneak-peek. 



Next to Normal

You might be sensing an Aaron Tveit theme here (as he was also in the aforementioned Catch Me If You Can) and you wouldn't be wrong, he has done some extraordinary, different productions. The plot for this rock musical isn't as cheerful as most shows, as it focuses on a woman with bipolar disorder and also covers other heavy themes such as drug abuse and loss of a child. But, guess what? Musicals don't always have to be jazzhands and big smiles, this story is absolutely phenomenal. It's heartbreaking, for sure, but also beautiful and the music is incredible. It ran on Broadway from 2009 until 2011 after a pre-Broadway try-out and followed by a US National Tour. And there has even been a run in The Netherlands, so surely a London one is bound to follow?!

I'm Alive - Aaron Tveit (Gabe)


The Addams Family

This show based on the famous fictional family also ran on Broadway between 2010-2011 (it was a good time for musicals) but has never received a professional production in or near London, for as far as I'm aware. I did see an amateur version in London last year but both production values and the cast were pretty sub-par and so I am in desperate need of a do-over. The music is so catchy, you guys!

Crazier Than You - Krysta Rodriguez and Wesley Taylor (Wednesday
Addams and Lucas, respectively, both of Smash fame)


Peter and the Starcatcher

During the previously mentioned trip to Broadway in 2013 we saw many musicals but also a handful of plays. Peter and the Starcatcher, a prequel to the famous story by J.M. Barrie, had a successful Broadway run a few years prior, and the version I caught was off-Broadway. It was extra-ordinary; the staging and choreography was imaginative, the story was gripping and poetic, and the overall result was pure magic. It was a really different kind of play and had some songs too, so that's my excuse for including it in this post. You can watch a nearly 10 minute preview with clips from the Broadway show below (which stars Christian Borle, another Smash-actor).



These are my favourites that I've not had a chance to watch in the UK yet. What musicals and/or plays would you love to see open in a London theatre? Post your suggestions below!

2 comments:

  1. Newsies and PatSC are two shows I've been waiting for for ages! That'd be fab!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right? Did you have a chance yet to watch them Stateside? If not, when you do finally see them they'll be even better than you can imagine from the clips on YouTube, trust me. They're SO good! :)

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