With so much great theatre heading to London this year, we’ve picked out a few highlights
The West End has always been a global hub for the very best theatre and 2024 is set to star some massive productions. From huge Broadway shows like Hadestown and Mean Girls finally crossing the pond, to bold new writing bringing something new and much-needed to our theatres, we’ve picked the best seats of the next 12 months. If your New Year’s resolution is to get cultured – or simply get out of the house – we’re here to help.
This musical retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth made a huge impact when it first appeared on Broadway in 2019, securing a loyal fanbase and winning eight Tony Awards including Best Musical. It’s been a long, strange journey for this musical about, well, a long strange journey – the show was first performed in Vancouver in 2007, transformed into a concept album in 2010, then reworked for stage once again. It has hit our shores before, running for a few months at the Olivier Theatre in 2018, but this will be UK audience’s first chance to see the full award-winning production when it gets its official West End debut early this year. You’ll be able to follow Orpheus to the underworld from this February at the Lyric Theatre.
When: 10 Feb – 4 Aug
Where: Lyric Theatre
With the Globe’s production of Ghosts going on in early 2024 as well, the West End seems to be having a bit of an Ibsen resurgence (let’s bring back Jessica Chastain in A Doll’s House next, please!). From February, Matt Smith will be starring in An Enemy Of The People at the Lyric Theatre, which promises to be a bold reimagining of the playwright’s 1882 classic from director Thomas Ostermeiser. Smith plays Dr Stockmann, the medical officer reviled for his efforts to reveal the truth about the water supply to a new spa town.
When: 7 Feb – 6 Apr
Where: Duke of York’s Theatre
Ryan Calais Cameron’s stunning and arresting play arrives back in London for the third time at the end of February. Inspired by Ntozake Shange’s work on For Coloured Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf, the show stitches together the stories of six Black men in the rough structure of a therapy session, exploring the experience of being Black and male in Britain, the paradoxes that arise, and what it means to give voice to them.
When: 29 Feb – 4 May
Where: Garrick Theatre
Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Next To Normal is not what most of us imagine a musical to be. An often-funny, often-devastating look at mental health and its impact on family life, the razor-sharp show dissects the stigma and guilt that often surrounds mental health disorders and the successes and failures of mental health treatment. Fifteen years on from its original Broadway run, the show will arrive at Wyndham’s Theatre this June. If you prefer the less sparkly side of the West End, then this one could be for you.
When: 18 Jun – 21 Sept
Where: Wyndham’s Theatre
In case you’ve somehow escaped the tube adverts, let us be the ones to confirm the news: Mean Girls is coming to the West End. This one’s been a long time coming but the stars seemed to have aligned – there’s no more fitting home for the Plastics than the glamorous Savoy Theatre. You’ll be able to watch Regina George stalk across the stage from June, which gives you plenty of time to memorise the soundtrack and learn the lingo.
When: 6 Jun – 27 Oct
Where: Savoy Theatre
Fresh off a Best New Musical win at the 2023 Laurence Olivier Awards, Standing At The Sky’s Edge transfers from the National Theatre to the West End this year. Chronicling the lives of three families living in Sheffield council estate Park Hill, this love letter to the diverse British public follows both the individual and national trials and triumphs that take place over a sixty-year period. Based on the 2012 album by Richard Hawley, the show features both new and existing songs by Hawley, and has been praised as the most exciting new British musical in a while.
When: 8 Feb to 3 Aug
Where: Gillian Lynne Theatre
Dystopian opera, anyone? Margaret Attwood’s bleakest, most brutal work evolves again in this new musical adaptation by Paul Ruders, featuring a score that promises influences from medieval chants to gospel. Set in a nightmarish future where the United States has been transformed into the Republic of Gilead, The Handmaid’s Tale tells the story of Offred, a handmaid assigned to a Commander of the Republic as she fights to retain her autonomy, identity and reproductive rights.
When: 1 – 15 Feb
Where: London Coliseum
This April (obviously), the Theatre Royal Drury Lane will stage two special in-concert performances of the English language version of Your Lie In April – The Musical. Based on the popular Japanese musical, itself based on the best-selling manga series, the show tells the story of the moving friendship between grieving young pianist Kōsei Arima and violinist Kaori Miyazono. Excitingly, this special concert performance will mark the European premiere of the musical.
When: 8 & 9 Feb
Where: Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Another brand-new British musical that should definitely be on your radar, Opening Night sees the always dazzling Sheridan Smith return to the West End. The show will arrive in London’s Gielgud Theatre for its world premiere this March, which means that the details are still all quite mysterious. What we do know is that the show will tell the story of a theatre troupe preparing to open a new Broadway show, and a tragedy that forces them all to pull together for the performance of their lives.
When: 6 Mar – 27 Jul
Where: Gielgud Theatre
And finally, Shakespeare. You’re never far from the Bard in London, but the RSC’s new production looks to be a particularly exciting take on The Merchant of Venice. Starring Tracy-Ann Oberman as Shylock, the production will take Shakespeare’s words to the East End, setting this tale of love, payback and prejudice against a backdrop of 1930s Britain.
When: 15 Feb – 23 Mar
Where: Criterion Theatre