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Theatre

23 of the biggest and best West End shows to see as live theatre makes its grand return

Jonny Yates July 19, 2021
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West End 2021 round-up

West End favourites including Everybody's Talking About Jamie, Wicked, Hairspray and TINA are returning to the stage for 2021.

West End is officially back! Following a year of restrictions audiences can finally head to a show in London from 19 July.

The government recently announced the full easing of lockdown restrictions, which means live theatre, festivals and concerts can return with no need for social distancing or limits on capacity.

This includes the West End which will finally reopen its doors to full capacity audiences for the first time in over 12 months.

Following the government’s announcement, Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre have confirmed that measures including capacity restrictions on venues and individual party sizes will be removed.

But they’ve also confirmed the measures that will stay in place including contactless tickets, staggered arrival times, enhanced cleaning and sanitisation stations, while face coverings are “strongly encouraged”.

SOLT and UK Theatre chief executive Julian Bird says: “The thousands of people who have already come back to the theatre since 17 May have been overwhelmingly positive about their experience and how safe and comfortable they felt.

“As we increase capacity, we want to ensure that this positive audience sentiment remains.

“For this reason, we hope audience members show respect for fellow theatregoers and staff by continuing to wear face coverings when coming into our venues and moving around them,” he adds.

With many people desperate to get back to the theatre and support the industry, we’ve put together a list of some of the biggest shows you can catch in 2021.

This includes fan-favourites like Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and Heathers which are returning to the stage, alongside new musicals including Frozen and Moulin Rouge which will debut on the West End for the first time.

This article contains affiliate links, PinkNews may earn revenue if you click through and purchase products through the links.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Everybody's Talking About Jamie is returning to the Apollo Theatre in May 2021.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is returning to the Apollo Theatre in May 2021. (Photo by Robbie Jack/Corbis via Getty Images)

Where: Apollo Theatre

When: Now playing

Tickets:  Ticketmaster and Love Theatre

The feel-good musical – inspired by a true story – follows Jamie New, a teenager living on a council estate in Sheffield. He doesn’t quite fit in and he’s terrified about the future, but he knows he’s going to be a star and with support from his mum and friends he overcomes prejudice to step into the spotlight.

It’s also been adapted into a feature length film starring Max Horwood in the title role alongside Sarah Lancashire and Richard E Grant, which is due for release on Amazon Prime Video from 17 September.

SIX the Musical

SIX the Musical is returning to Lyric Theatre in May 2021. (© Pamela Raith)
SIX the Musical is returning to Lyric Theatre in May 2021. (© Pamela Raith)

Where: Lyric Theatre

When: Now playing

Tickets: Love Theatre and London Theatre Direct

This breakout hit musical follows the six wives of the infamous Henry VIII who take to the stage to tell their stories in a pop concert inspired by some of the biggest modern day artists.

The show features the likes of Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour who tell their story against the backdrop of songs including “Don’t Lose Ur Head”, “Get Down” and “All You Wanna Do”.

Magic Mike Live

Magic Mike Live
Magic Mike Live is back at London’s Hippodrome Casino. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images) (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Where: London Hippodrome Casino

When: Now playing

Tickets: Love Theatre and London Theatre Direct

Conceived and directed by Channing Tatum, Magic Mike Live is inspired by the hit film based on Tatum’s early career. The show is a night of 360-degree entertainment featuring “some of the world’s sexiest, most talented guys” who will perform dance routines in front of, above and all around audience members.

Heathers the Musical

Heathers the Musical is touring the UK in 2021.
Heathers the Musical is returning to the West End and touring the UK in 2021. (Photo by Robbie Jack/Corbis via Getty Images)

Where: Theatre Royal Haymarket

When: Now playing

Tickets: Love Theatre

Based on the cult 1980s film of the same name, Heathers is the twisted tale of teen drama, friendship and deadly obsession. The musical takes audiences to Westerberg High, where popularity is a matter of life and death, and Veronica is just another of the nobodies dreaming of a better day.

The show is set against the backdrop of rock-influenced songs and explores issues including bullying, teen suicide, sexuality, bulimia, sexual assault and school violence.

Amélie The Musical

Amélie The Musical
Amélie The Musical is running at the Criterion Theatre. (Pamela Raith Photography)

Where: Criterion Theatre

When: Now playing

Tickets: Love Theatre

This musical follows Amélie who secretly improvises small, but extraordinary acts of kindness, discovering the possibilities around every corner and bringing happiness to those she encounters. It’s based on the five-time Oscar nominated film released in 2001 and starring Audrey Tautou in the title role.

The Prince of Egypt

The Prince of Egypt
The Prince of Egypt is returning to the Dominion Theatre. (© DWA LLC, photo by Matt Crockett)

Where: Dominion Theatre

When: Now playing

Tickets: Love Theatre

The Prince of Egypt is based on the DreamWorks Animation film and comes from Stephen Schwartz, who composed Wicked. It follows two young men who were raised together as brothers in a kingdom of privilege. They find themselves divided by a secret past and one must rule as Pharaoh and the other must rise up and free his true people.

Hairspray

Hairspray the Musical
Hairspray the Musical is heading to the London Coliseum. (Tristram Kenton)

Where: London Coliseum

When: Now playing

Tickets: Love Theatre

This feel-good musical set in 1962, Baltimore follows Tracy Turnblad who’s a big girl, with big hair and even bigger dreams. While trying to achieve her dreams she brings everyone together whatever their skin colour or size all while singing an iconic soundtrack featuring “Good Morning Baltimore”, “You Can’t Stop the Beat” and “Big, Blonde and Beautiful”.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat returns to the London Palladium in July. (Tristram Kenton)

Where: London Palladium

When: Now playing

Tickets: LW Theatres

The new production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is heading to the London Palladium for a limited season this summer, kicking off on 12 July. It will see Jason Donovan return as the Pharaoh, Jac Yarrow as the title character and Alexandra Burke join the cast as The Narrator.

The beloved musical features songs including “Any Dream Will Do”, “Close Every Door To Me”, “Jacob and Sons” and “There’s One More Angel In Heaven”.

Cinderella

Cinderella the musical
Carrie Hope Fletcher stars in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella. (Tristram Kenton)

Where: Gillian Lynne Theatre

When: From 19 July

Tickets: LW Theatres

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s much-anticipated Cinderella finally opened at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in June 2021. The musical features an original story from Oscar-winner Emerald Fennell and stars Carrie Hope Fletcher in the lead role.

The story is set in the picturesque Belleville but the only person refusing to live in the fairy tale is the loud-mouthed and dripping with disdain Cinderella, in a new retelling of the classic story.

Pretty Woman

Danny Mac and Aimie Atkinson star as Edward and Vivian in the West End adaption of Pretty Woman. (Helen Maybanks)
Danny Mac and Aimie Atkinson star as Edward and Vivian in the West End adaption of Pretty Woman. (Helen Maybanks)

Where: Savoy Theatre

When: From 20 July

TicketsLondon Theatre Direct and Love Theatre

Based on the iconic 1990 film starring Julia Roberts, the musical’s original West End run was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s now running at the Savoy Theatre where fans can relive the love story of Vivian and Edward, who’s worlds are far apart.

Come From Away

Come From Away
Come From Away is heading back to the Phoenix Theatre. (Craig Sugden)

Where: Phoenix Theatre

When: From 22 July

Tickets: Love Theatre

The Tony Award-winning Come From Away tells the real-life story of 7,000 passengers from all over the world grounded in their planes on an island in Canada called Newfoundland during the wake of 9/11. The small community of Gander invites these ‘come from aways’ into their lives. From feelings of unease and fear comes trust and music as the passengers and the residents of Gander come together and share their stories.

The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera is back at Her Majesty’s Theatre. (Matthew Murphy)

Where: Her Majesty’s Theatre

When: From 27 July

Tickets: Love Theatre

The highest grossing musical of all time is celebrating a record-breaking 32 years at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London’s West End. Audience members can get tickets for the show from 27 July, which follows the Phantom who lives in a shadowy existence as he’s shamed by his physical appearance and feared by all. But his love for his protégée Christine Daaé is so strong that even her heart can’t resist.

The score from Andrew Lloyd Webber is combined with “jaw-dripping scenery and breath-taking special effect” which help bring the tragic love story to life.

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical
Tina – The Tina Turner Musical is heading to Aldwych Theatre. (Manuel Harlan)

Where: Aldwych Theatre

When: From 28 July

Tickets: Love Theatre

This musical celebrates the icon Tina Turner, who defied her age, gender and race to become one of the best-selling artists in history. It follows her story from leaving an abusive marriage to rebuilding her life and staging a huge solo comeback which helped her become the superstar that’s loved across the globe.

The show features some of Tina’s most beloved songs including “What’s Love Got To Do With It”, “Proud Mary”, “Private Dancer” and “River Deep – Mountain High”.

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins is reopening on the West End in August 2021.
Mary Poppins is reopening on the West End in August 2021.

Where: Prince Edward Theatre

When: From 7 August

Tickets:  Ticketmaster and London Theatre Direct.

After an 11 year break, the musical was revived for the West End in 2019 with Zizi Strallen and Charlie Stemp starring as Mary Poppins and Bert and it’s set to reopen from 7 August at the Prince Edward Theatre.

Based on the book by PL Travers about a flying nanny who swoops in to save the Banks family, the musical features songs including “A Spoonful of Sugar”, “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”, “Practically Perfect” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”.

The Lion King

The Lion King
The Lion King is reopening at Lyceum Theatre. (Johan Persson)

Where: Lyceum Theatre

When: From 10 August

Tickets: Love Theatre

This classic musical based on Disney’s animated favourite will be back at the Lyceum Theatre from 10 August. It features music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice, with songs including “The Circle of Life” and “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” as well as stunning animal costumes and large puppets to help bring Pride Rock to life.

Hamilton

Hamilton the Musical follows the story of the Founding Fathers. (Joan Marcus)
Hamilton the Musical follows the story of the Founding Fathers. (Joan Marcus)

Where: Victoria Theatre

When: From 19 August

Tickets: Ticketmaster and London Theatre Direct

Hamilton, which tells the story of America’s Founding Fathers, is notable for featuring non-white actors as historical figures as a way to weave the tale of “America then, as told by America now” as well as drawing heavily from hip-hop, soul and R&B in its soundtrack.

Lin-Manuel Miranda recently confirmed the shows reopening saying “it is with tremendous gratitude that we announce the return,” adding “we will safely gather to tell this story again.”

Back to the Future: the Musical 

Back to the Future: the Musical
Back to the Future: the Musical will open at the Adelphi Theatre. (Sean Ebsworth Barnes)

Where: Adelphi Theatre

When: From 20 August

Tickets: Love Theatre

Based on the 80s cult classic – but this time with music. The Back to the Future The Musical tells the story of teenager Marty McFly and eccentric scientist Doc Brown. When Doc invents a time machine inside a DeLorean, Marty’s world gets turned upside down as the course of history is accidentally changed, so Marty has to fix the present, escape the past and send himself back to the future.

Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia the Musical
Mamma Mia! is reopening at the Novello Theatre in August. (Brinkhoff Moegenburg)

Where: Novello Theatre

When: From 25 August

Tickets: Love Theatre

Feel-good musical Mamma Mia is heading to the Novello Theatre from August, which takes audience members to a Greek Island for a celebration of friendship, family and love all set against the backdrop of classic ABBA songs. What more do you want from a musical?

Frozen

Frozen the Musical tickets
The spectacular musical is a must-see. (Disney Theatrical Productions)

Where: Theatre Royal Drury Lane

When: From 27 August

Tickets: LW Theatres

After many delays due to the pandemic, Frozen the Musical is set to open at Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 27 August. The story is similar to the film version as it takes audiences to the magical world of Arendelle and follows sisters Anna and Elsa. Elsa is gifted with ice-manipulating powers but after tensions arise she runs away from home and it’s up to Anna to bring her back and save Arendelle.

The Tony Award-nominated show features songs from Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez who also wrote the soundtrack for the Oscar-winning 2013 film and its sequel including “Let It Go” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”.

Wicked

Wicked is returning to its West End home at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in September 2021.
Wicked is returning to its West End home at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in September 2021. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

Where: Apollo Victoria Theatre

When: From 15 September

Tickets: Love Theatre

The show tells an alternate story of Oz as audience members find out how Glinda the Good and The Wicked Witch of the West come to fulfil their destinies. The pair meet at school and despite getting off to a bumpy start, they go on to form a strong friendship and head on a journey to meet the Wizard of Oz. The musical features an iconic soundtrack including “Defying Gravity” and “Popular” and it will make a welcomed return to the Apollo Victoria Theatre in September.

& Juliet

& Juliet
& Juliet returns to the Shaftesbury Theatre. (Johan Persson)

Where: Shaftesbury Theatre

When: From 24 September

Tickets: Love Theatre

& Juliet features some of the biggest pop hits of the last three decades from songwriter Max Martin including “…Baby One More Time”, “Since U Bene Gone”, “Roar” and “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”. The musical follows the “what if?” story of Juliet from Shakespeare’s famous play as she wakes up instead of having a dagger to the heart and chooses her own fate. She gathers Nurse and her best friends and heads to the city of lights to prove there is life and love after Romeo.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Moulin Rouge! The Musical will premiere at Piccadilly Theatre in November 2021. (Matthew Murphy)
Moulin Rouge! The Musical will premiere at Piccadilly Theatre in November 2021. (Matthew Murphy)

Where: Piccadilly Theatre

When: From 12 November

Tickets: ATG Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical will make its West End debut at Piccadilly Theatre in November. Based on the 2001 film of the same name, it will weave together original songs with popular music including queer anthems “Toxic”, “Bad Romance” and of course “Lady Marmalade”.

The story is set at the turn of the 20th century during the Belle Epoque, in the Montmartre Quarter of Paris and follows Christian, a young composer who falls in love with cabaret actress Satine and the musical promises audiences will “enter a world of splendour and romance, of eye-popping excess, of glitz, grandeur and glory.”

Bring It On

Bring It On the musical
Bring It On is heading to Queen Elizabeth Hall in December.

Where: Queen Elizabeth Hall

When: From 8 December

Tickets: Love Theatre

Inspired by the film of the same name, Bring It On: The Musical takes you on a high-flying, energy-fuelled journey which tackles friendship, jealousy, betrayal and forgiveness – wrapped up in explosive choreography and tricks.

It follows cheer-royalty and newly crowned Squad Captain, Campbell who is forced to move to the neighbouring hard-knock Jackson High and fears her life is over. But an unlikely friendship catapults Campbell back into cheer contention.

Related topics: Cinderella, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Hairspray, London, the lion king, West End

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