After a jam-packed Autumn season last year, with 8 musicals in 8 weeks, the West End goes one better and gives us 10 musicals to look forward to over the summer months. With Broadway imports, popular reality TV cast musicals, new musicals and short-run revivals, there's certainly something for everyone, so read on for the full lowdown..
Show: The Drowsy Chaperone
Venue: Novello Theatre (formerly The Strand)
First preview: May 14th (previewing now!)
Opening night: June 6th
Booking to: February 23rd 2008
Cast includes: Elaine Paige (Drowsy Chaperone), Bob Martin (Man in Chair), Summer Strallen (Janet), John Partridge (Robert)Creative: Greg Morrison and Lisa Lambert (music/lyrics), Don McKellar and Bob Martin (book), Casey Nicholaw (director/choreographer), David Gallo (designer), Kevin McCollum (producer)
Trivia: The Drowsy Chaperone was written as a stag party present for Bob Martin, who would later join the creative team and eventually star in the show on Broadway and in the West End. A critical hit, and audience favourite, Drowsy took seven years to get to Broadway, with a cast including Sutton Foster. The London production will see the return of Elaine Paige, her first role in seven years.
Show: Lord of the Rings
Venue: Theatre Royal Drury Lane
First preview: May 9th (previewing now!)
Opening night: June 19th
Booking to: March 29th 2008
Cast includes: James Loye (Frodo), Peter Howe (Sam), Laura Michelle Kelly (Galadriel), Malcolm Storry (Gandalf), Jérôme Pradon (Aragorn)
Creative: Matthew Warchus (director), Peter Darling (choreographer), Rob Howell (designer)
Trivia: Despite a negatively received, loss-making run in Toronto, Lord of the Rings has bounced back for a stab at the West End market with a shorter, revised show, rumoured to have a budget of £25m, including a £1m revolving stage. Hidden away in the 50 strong cast is the Olivier award winning Mary Poppins actress Laura Michelle Kelly.
Show: Fiddler on the Roof
Venue: Savoy Theatre
First preview: May 19th (previewing now!)
Opening night: May 29th
Booking to: September 29th
Cast includes: Henry Goodman (Tevye), Beverley Klein (Golde)Creative: Lindsay Posner (director), Peter McKintosh (designer)Trivia: This revival of Fiddler originated at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre - a hugely successful theatre in north England - in December 2006 and transfers with its principal cast intact. Henry Goodman was apparently offered the role of Tevye shortly after appearing in The Merchant of Venice in 1999, but declined as he did not wish to be typecast in Jewish roles.
Venue: London Coliseum (the English National Opera)
Previews: June 25th and 26th
Opening night: June 27th
Closes: July 14th(19 performances only)
Cast includes: Michael Ball (Hajj), Faith Prince (Lalume), Alfie Boe (The Caliph) and Sarah Tynan (Marsinah)
Creative: Gary Griffin (director), Javier de Frutos (choreographer), Ultz (designer)
Trivia: After the recent success of On the Town, the English National Opera are returning to musical theatre, with Faith Prince making her London debut. Kismet is the first time the company has presented a consecutive run of performances, they usually run strictly in repertoire. Choreographer Javier du Frutus recently won an Olivier Award for his work on Cabaret.
Show: Into the Woods
Venue: Royal Opera House (Linbury Studio)
First preview: June 14th Opening night: June 18th
Closes: June 30th (run sold out, check for returns)
Cast includes: Clive Rowe (Baker), Anna Francolini (Baker's Wife), Beverley Klein (Witch), Anne Reid (Jack's Mother), Gary Waldhorn (Narrator)
Creative: Stephen Sondheim (music/lyrics)Will Tuckett (director), Lez Brotherson (designs)
Trivia: Beverley Klein signed up to this revival before Fiddler on the Roof announced a transfer from Sheffield, so she will take a short break from the latter in order to star in this strictly limited season. This is the second Sondheim musical that the Royal Opera House has produced; their first was Sweeney Todd in December 2003.