With the film adaptation of Les Misérables having just been nominated for eight Academy Awards (including Best Picture), there’s been a notable spike in bookings for the original West End production. But alongside such long-running classics as Les Mis and Phantom of the Opera, London’s famous “Theatreland” also premieres dozens of fresh and spectacular productions every year. Here’s a small selection of what 2013 has to offer:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Following the enormous success of Matilda the Musical last year (it won a record seven Olivier Awards), Roald Dahl’s most famous work has also been given the musical-theater treatment. Written by David Greig, directed by Sam Mendes (of recent Bond hit Skyfall) and boasting a star-studded cast, this will be the biggest West End debut of the year when it opens in June.
Another musical adaptation, this time based on an Academy Award-winning Irish film, Once has already enjoyed vast success on Broadway, winning eight Tony Awards in 2012. It will hoe for similar levels of acclaim when it opens in the West End’s Phoenix Theatre in April.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Henry V
Besides musicals, the West End is best known for its impressive Shakespearean productions, and in 2013 the Noël Coward Theatre is serving up two of the finest: A Midsummer Night’s Dream in September and Henry V in December. Jude Law fans should head to the latter.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
This long-awaited page-to-stage adaptation of the 2003 Whitbread winner premiered last year at the National Theatre to great acclaim. It was swiftly decided that the West End should be its long-term residence, so in March it transfers to the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue.
From Here to Eternity
This musical based on James Jones’ hugely successful 1950s novel (which was also a hugely successful movie) will open at the Shaftesbury Theatre this October. Featuring lyrics by Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, The Lion King), it’s a guaranteed hit.
Photo Courtesy of National Theatre