2016’s theatre offering features a bevy of sumptuous new shows, revivals and theatrical delights. Take a look at our round-up of some of London’s best up-and-coming shows to whet your appetite for another 12 months of on-stage brilliance!
Guys and Dolls, Savoy and Phoenix Theatres
Open until 30 October 2016
This legendary musical comedy won six Olivier Awards when it first ran in London over 30 years ago, and this new production is bound to be another showstopper. Full of iconic, Broadway hits and featuring a host of familiar faces in some classic roles, it’s guaranteed to entertain and impress audiences when it rolls into the Savoy Theatre this month.
The Master Builder, The Old Vic
Open until 19 March 2016
Ralph Fiennes returns to the West End stage in Henrik Ibsen’s spectacular drama as Halvard Solness, the titular master builder who has a fear of falling. Directed by Matthew Warchus, this new adaptation by David Hare promises to be a searing exploration of power, control, life and death.
The End of Longing, Playhouse Theatre
Open until 14 May 2016
Forever Chandler Bing, acclaimed actor Matthew Perry leads the cast in this new world premiere of his playwriting debut. Fast-paced and bittersweet, The End of Longing follows four friends forced to confront the darker sides of their relationship and promises to be comedic, touching and sharp. Directed by Lindsay Posner (Speed-the-Plow, Other Desert Cities).
Hand to God, Vaudeville Theatre
From 5 February
Direct from Broadway, this satirical new play about a forlorn teenager and his terror-inducing sock puppet Tyrone stars Janie Dee, Neil Pearson, Harry Melling and Jemima Rooper, and has been hailed by the New Yorker as “Sesame Street meets The Exorcist.”
The War of the Worlds, Dominion Theatre
From 8 February
Don’t miss the West End debut of Jeff Wayne’s musical version of The War of the Worlds when it comes to the Dominion Theatre in February. Based on the iconic sci-fi story by H.G Wells, this stunning production includes brand new music conducted by Wayne himself, dazzling special effects and Taken superstar Liam Neeson (albeit in 3D holographic form) as the narrator.
Motown the Musical, Shaftesbury Theatre
From 11 February
Fresh from Broadway, Motown the Musical follows the generation-defining career of Barry Gordy, and the proudly displays the wares of iconic artists such as Diana Ross and the Supremes, The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations and Smokey Robinson.
Mrs Henderson Presents, Noel Coward Theatre
Opens 16 February, previews from 9 February
Based on the 2005 film of the same name, Mrs Henderson Presents is one of the few new musicals hitting the London boards this year. Expect feathers, ruffles and variety as the formidable Mrs Henderson from the title (thrillingly played by the wonderful Tracie Bennett here) shakes up the vaudeville scene with style.
The Maids, Trafalgar Studios 1
Opens 20 February
This contemporary adaptation of Jean Genet’s The Maids marks The Jamie Lloyd Company’s first production for 2016, and the first time the play has been seen on the West End stage for over two decades. The fantastic cast includes double Emmy Award-winning Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black), Fresh Meat’s Zawe Ashton and Downton Abbey star Laura Carmichael.
People, Places & Things, Wyndham’s Theatre
Opens 23 March, previews from 15 March
Fresh from a sold-out season at the Dorfman Theatre, People, Places & Things runs for 12 weeks only at the Wyndham’s from March. This contemporary drama follows the story of a girl in rehab and her journey to sober up. Featuring a star turn from Denise Gough, who reprises her role from the original run, this looks set to be an absorbing production.
Sunset Boulevard, London Coliseum
Opens 4 April, previews from 1 April
Glenn Close makes her West End debut this year, returning to the iconic role of Norma Desmond, which she originally played on Broadway (and won a Tony Award for) over two decades ago. The show features some of Lloyd Webber’s most memorable songs, including With One Look, Every Movies a Circus and the stunning As If We Never Said Goodbye.
Funny Girl, Savoy Theatre
From 9 April
Onstage in London for the first time since 1966, Olivier Award-winner Sheridan Smith leads the cast of this Broadway classic. Featuring favourite songs such as People and Don’t Rain on My Parade, and following a sell-out run at the Chocolate Menier Factory, this sterling production will transfer to London’s Savoy Theatre from 9 April for a strictly limited run.
Aladdin, Prince Edward Theatre
Opens 5 June, previews from 27 May 2016
The Prince Edward Theatre will swap a helicopter ride for a magic carpet one this summer, when Aladdin, Genie, Princess Jasmine and Jafar roll into town for Disney’s Aladdin. Expect the same soaring songs from the 1992 film, as Agrabah and the Cave of Wonders all come to life before your very eyes.
The Entertainer, Garrick Theatre
Opens 30 August, previews from 20 August
Closing out the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s excellent season at the Garrick, the man himself stars as the unforgettable Archie Rice in John Osborne’s modern classic. This dramatic tale explores the seedy glamour of old music halls and the private torment of post-war Britons and is likely to be a hot ticket for a triumphant end to a brilliant run.