After a turbulent year and a half, theatres have finally started to open up again. While some shows have been available to stream online during the pandemic, nothing beats seeing musicals live on stage. This autumn there are a number of new musicals that will be making their way to the West End (such as Bring It On: The Musical, Back to the Future: The Musical and Moulin Rouge! The Musical), as well as returning favourites (like Wicked and & Juliet). Here are 10 of the top musicals to see in London this autumn:
Andrew Lloyd Webber's highly anticipated musical Cinderella has faced numerous delays due to the pandemic, but it was finally able to open its doors to limited audiences earlier this summer. Webber's production has been described as "grittier" than the Cinderella we're all familiar with, and stars YouTuber, actress and author Carrie Hope Fletcher as the lead. Other cast members include Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as the Stepmother, Ivano Turco as Prince Sebastian, Rebecca Trehearn as The Queen, Gloria Onitiri as The Godmother, and Georgina Castle and Laura Baldwin as the Stepsisters. If you're unable to book tickets to Cinderella soon, you can check out the soundtrack, which features original songs like 'Bad Cinderella' and 'Beauty Has A Price'.
Have you ever wondered what would have happened if Juliet had lived at the end of Romeo and Juliet? Well, that's exactly what happens in the musical & Juliet. In this version, Juliet decides to stop pining after Romeo and takes a girls trip instead. With a score featuring pop hits produced by Max Martin like 'I Kissed A Girl', 'I Want It That Way', 'Baby One More Time' and 'Can't Stop The Feeling', & Juliet is guaranteed to have you dancing in your seat. When & Juliet returns to Shaftesbury Theatre on 24th of September, Miriam-Teak Lee will reprise her role as Juliet. Find out more at the official website.
Be sure to book tickets to see Dear Evan Hansen in the West End before the film adaptation is released at the end of the year. The musical centres on Evan, a high school senior with severe Social Anxiety Disorder, who writes a private letter to himself that ends up in the wrong hands and causes a fellow classmate to commit suicide. The incident sends Evan on a journey of self-discovery and gives him the chance to finally be accepted by his peers. Dear Evan Hansen deals with issues such as social media and teenage suicide, making it more serious than your typical musical, but don't let that put you off. Dear Evan Hansen still has some fantastic songs and won 6 of the 9 Tony Awards it was nominated for when it opened on Broadway in 2017, so you know it's not to be missed.
4. Back to the Future: The Musical
The 80s classic movie Back to the Future has been adapted into a musical and will land at the Adelphi Theatre in the Strand in a couple of weeks. Back to the Future focuses on high schooler Marty McFly who travels back in time to the 1950s and meets the younger versions of his parents. He has to try to ensure they get together before time runs out and travel back to the future (hence the name of the musical). Back to the Future: The Musical was a hit in Manchester, where it was based before the pandemic, and is one the whole family will enjoy. Current cast members include Olly Dobson as Marty McFly and Roger Bart (Good Trouble, Speech & Debate, The Producers) as Doc Brown.
Another film adaptation musical that you'll be able to watch in London theatres soon is Moulin Rouge. Transport yourself to early 1900s Paris and follow aspiring writer Christian and dancer Satine as they fall in love, much to the annoyance of Harold Zidler, owner of the Moulin Rouge. This lavish and energetic includes a multitude of classics from Baz Luhrmann's 2001 film, like Elton John's 'Your Song' and the iconic 'Lady Marmalade', as well as recent pop songs such as Sia's 'Chandelier' and Katy Perry's 'Firework'. Providing things go according to plan, theatregoers should be able to watch Moulin Rouge! The Musical from 12th of November.
6. Heathers: The Musical
Missed Heathers: The Musical first time round? Don't worry, it'll be taking over Theatre Royal Haymarket once again, so you'll still have the chance to see it. Much like Back to the Future and Moulin Rouge, Heathers was originally a film starring Winona Ryder, Shannen Doherty and Christian Slater, and is considered a cult classic. The story follows teenager Veronica Sawyer who joins the trio of popular girls at her school and is drawn into a dark path of revenge when she meets rebellious new boy JD. Heathers: The Musical is a hilarious and intense show that will be an instant hit amongst older teens and fans of the original movie.
2021 marks the 15th year since Wicked debuted in the West End, and in that time it has won over 100 major awards and has already been seen by over 10 million people in London alone. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story, it is actually based on a book by Gregory Maguire and centres on the two witches in The Wizard of Oz – the 'Wicked Witch' Elphaba and the 'Good Witch' Glinda – who form an unlikely friendship that is put to the test when they both fall for the same boy. Songs like 'Popular' and 'Defying Gravity' will have you singing your heart out. Wicked is set to reopen in September. For more information, visit the official website.
After smashing the box office in New York, Bring It On: The Musical will be making its debut in London at the end of the year. It's inspired by the teen flick of the same name, which starred Kirsten Dunst and Gabrielle Union. Bring It On: The Musical has an original score composed by the multi award-winning creator of Hamilton Lin-Manuel Miranda and Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Kitt (known for producing the music in High Fidelity and Next to Normal). The amazing choreography in this show will have you wishing you were a cheerleader. Be quick as Bring It On: The Musical is only in London for six weeks, from 14th December to 22nd January.
9. Six the Musical
With 5 Laurence Olivier Award nominations under its belt, it's no surprise that Six will be resuming performances in London this autumn. Six centres on the wives of Henry VIII and transforms them into pop stars, based on some of the biggest female singers of the century, including Beyonce, Avril Lavigne, Celine Dion and Britney Spears. Six is critically acclaimed and has been described as "the most uplifting piece of new British musical theatre" (Evening Standard), so book your seats ASAP! Six is a fairly musical, running for approximately 80 minutes, so there's no interval.
Unfortunately, Waitress is no longer on in the West End, but you can catch it at New Wimbledon Theatre for a week in September. The musical will then move onto other theatres around the country, including Leeds Grand Theatre (14 – 18 September), Congress Theatre in Eastbourne (19 – 23 October) and Edinburgh Playhouse (18 – 22 January). Waitress is based on the 2007 film of the same name and the central character Jenna has previously been played by the likes of Sara Bareilles (who wrote the songs in the musical), Katharine McPhee, Jessie Mueller and Jordin Sparks. Waitress tells the story of a waitress and pie maker who enters a baking contest in the hope that it'll enable her to escape from her abusive relationship.