Planning a trip to London? Let me be your guide to the best the West End has to offer in theatre. Already there are the Bradway hits Wicked, Phantom of the Opera (ok, ok, it was in London first), and the just opened Jersey Boys. However, there are several productions which have not yet made the leap over to the U.S.
There is the Andrew Lloyd Webber produced revival of The Sound of Music. Apparently, Lord Lloyd Webber cannot produce anything new on his own that is capable of making money so he must revive not only his past successes but also breathe new life into other’s works as well (whaever happened to his planned sequel to Phantom?). There is also a revival of Webber’s Joseph….. In a bit of “American Idol” meets musical theatre, the Joseph for this production was chosen on a reality television show. In 2007, the new Broadway cast of Grease was chosen in this way on a series called “Grease: You’re the One that I Want.” Not a very original title.
There is also a new musical version of the classic novel and movie Gone with the Wind. The Trevor Nunn directed production stars Darius Danesh as Rhett Butler. Darius was seen on “Pop Idol” which is the British phenomenon that inspired “American Idol.” I wonder if the judges told him that he was “too theatrical” as Simon Cowell has been known to tell American contestants.
Perhaps the strangest if not the most ambitious show of all is the staging of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. It took three films of nearly three hours each to scratch the surface of the novels. I’m sure Rings purists are left wanting after only one 3 hour musical.
So…. if you are in West End or are planning a trip over the Atlantic, consider taking in one or more of these stage hits. Of course many times, today’s hits of London become tomorrow’s Broadway blockbusters and vice versa.