West End: what’s on and what’s coming up

The cast of Six returned to the West End on Friday 21st May 2021 © Pamela Raith

As theatres begin to welcome more people back through their doors, we take a look at when and where you will be able to see some of the West End’s most anticipated shows this summer, from new performances to old favourites.

Back To the Future

A new musical based on the light-hearted 1985 fantasy film Back To The Future premieres in August at London’s Adelphi Theatre. Back To The Future: the Musical is brought to the stage by the movie’s co-writers, Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis.

When Marty McFly finds himself transported back to 1955 in a time machine built by the eccentric scientist Doc Brown, he accidentally changes the course of history. Now he’s in a race against time to fix the present, escape the past and send himself… back to the future.

Cinderella

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical Cinderella is scheduled to begin its first performances on 25th June at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, with a cast led by Carrie Hope Fletcher.

Though the final stage of the roadmap looks as though it might be delayed, Andrew Lloyd Webber is determined to go ahead, come what may, and says:-

“I want to lead the way and give others confidence to follow suit by getting major musicals back open… I cannot wait to welcome back audiences to live theatre and bring life, employment and joy back to our capital city after a harrowing past year.”

The new romantic musical comedy features an original story and book by 2021 Oscar-winner Emerald Fennell, and lyrics by Tony and Olivier Award-winner David Zippel.

Frozen

New cast portraits for Disney’s Frozen of Samantha Barks (Elsa) and Stephanie McKeon (Anna) © Disney, photo by Trevor Leighton

Disney Theatrical Productions have announced that the delayed London premiere of Frozen will be at the newly refurbished Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 8th September, with previews from 27th August. The show stars Samantha Barks as Elsa and Stephanie McKeon as Anna.

Tickets are available now and booking is until 3rd April 2022. Group rates start from £39.50 for groups of 9-19. For groups of 20+ prices start from £35.

Hamilton

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash-hit musical Hamilton will reopen on 19th August at the Victoria Palace in London, if the Government roadmap allows.

This enormously successful show originally opened in New York, to critical acclaim. It tells the story of one of America’s founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton.

The London production has book, music and lyrics by Miranda, directed by Thomas Kail and produced by Cameron Mackintosh.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Another one of the West End’s biggest shows of recent years is the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Based on an original story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage and has been at the Palace Theatre since summer 2016.

The producers of the show have announced they hope to resume performances in London at the Palace Theatre from Thursday 14th October, subject to Government guidelines.

Jersey Boys

The Jersey Boys tour © Joan Marcus

The award-winning musical Jersey Boys is returning to London’s West End. The show will open on 28th July at the newly refurbished Trafalgar Theatre and run until 2nd January 2022. The Grade II listed Trafalgar Theatre has recently undergone a major multi-million-pound restoration project, which includes a new single auditorium and new and improved facilities for an enhanced customer experience.

Jersey Boys will also embark on a UK and Ireland tour in late 2021. Opening at the New Wimbledon Theatre on 25th November, the show will be booking through till 12th November 2022, visiting Southampton, Blackpool, Dublin and more, with further dates to be announced. Tickets are on sale now.

Matilda The Musical

The Royal Shakespeare Company has had a huge success for many years with Matilda The Musical, based on the much-loved Roald Dahl story for children. The show re-opens at the Cambridge Theatre, London, from September.

The musical tells the tale of a bookish little girl with awful parents and a monster of a headmistress – but, luckily, Matilda has secret powers …

Les Misérables: The Staged Concert

20th May 2021 marked the opening of Les Misérables: The Staged Concert at the Sondheim Theatre in London, with a 50 per cent audience capacity. The show will be playing a limited season until 5th September. The production has a Company of over 50 actors and musicians drawn from the West End and National Tour Companies of Les Misérables.

The Lion King

14 new cast members will join The Lion King when it reopens on 29th June 2021.

The West End production of Disney’s The Lion King is set to return to the Lyceum Theatre on 29th June. Now in its 21st year at London’s Lyceum Theatre, the show has been seen by over 16 million people in the last two decades.

The production has recently announced that 14 new members will be joining the cast of over 50 actors, including Londoner Kayi Ushe, who will take on the iconic role of ‘Simba’.

Six

Six the Musical reopened to 50 per cent capacity on Friday 21st May 2021 at the Lyric Theatre. It was one of the first shows to return to the West End this year. Social distancing measures may be eased after 21st June 2021, as per the government roadmap.

The show is loosely inspired by the lives of the six wives of Henry VIII.

Revised plans for the UK tour have also been announced, with the first performance starting on Tuesday 8th June at Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, and will run through 2021 and 2022.

Wicked

The Tony & Olivier Award-winning show Wicked returns on the 15th September to its long-time home at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre. The show will also mark its 15th anniversary later in the year with a celebratory performance on Tuesday 28th September.

Wicked is a prequel to the Wizard of Oz story, and focuses on the lives of the two witches.

General booking is open for all performances from Wednesday 15th September to Sunday 22th May 2022. Group organisers, coach operators and the travel trade will exclusively be able to book for performances from Tuesday 24th May to Sunday 27th November 2022.

National Theatre

Old Vic auditorium © Philip Vile

The National Theatre in London has announced that all three South Bank theatres will be open for audiences for the first time since March 2020, showcasing a variety of socially distanced performances. The main auditorium, the Olivier, will re-open on 16th June with Under Milk Wood.

The National Theatre has also released its new programme of shows up to 2022 – including six new productions and five more that were halted by the pandemic. 

Barbican Centre

In-person concerts at the Barbican started last month, with a reduced 50% capacity at performances. Summer performances are planned to go ahead without social distancing, including a limited season of Anything Goes starring Sutton Foster, Robert Lindsay, Felicity Kendal and Gary Wilmot, which starts 23rd July.

The full spring/summer 2021 programme is available now, as well as a diverse cinema programme and a new digital group exhibition, Regenerate, which features the work of 14 emerging artists.

Old Vic Theatre

London’s Old Vic is offering the Back Together summer and autumn season. Visitors will be able to watch shows at the theatre in person from 7th July, starting with The Dumb Waiter by Harold Pinter. Audiences will also have the choice to watch all the summer shows online at home.

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