It’s musical month in London, with major openings every week in October. Visitors can choose from the rollicking tale of an Irish soul band, a fairytale debut from Tori Amos, Tim Rice’s take on World War II and a vaunted Broadway transfer. For details on these and lots more, read on.
Soul Train: Roddy Doyle’s 1986 novel The Commitments spawned one of the liveliest films of the ‘90s. Now this raucous and funny story of a Dublin soul band has been adapted afresh by Doyle for the musical stage, featuring 1960s hits including “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” Opening night is October 8 at the Palace Theatre; Killian Donnelly heads the cast.
ALSO: Jessica Raine plays free-thinking Beatie Bryant in a revival of Arnold Wesker’s modern classic Roots, opening October 8 at the Donmar; last chance to see Samantha Spiro’s haunting Lady Macbeth and the career-making Lysander of Luke Thompson in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, both at Shakespeare’s Globe.
Airborne Amos: American singer-songwriter Tori Amos makes her stage debut as a composer with The Light Princess, a fairytale coming-of-age musical with a book by Samuel Adamson, starring Rosalie Craig (Finding Neverland). War Horse director Marianne Elliott promises all manner of giddy effects at the National’s Lyttelton Theatre. Will this Princess soar to Broadway? Time will tell.
ALSO: The Events, a new play from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory scribe David Greig, opens at the Young Vic on October 14 after winning raves at the Edinburgh Festival; final performance on October 19 of the terrific Royal Court production of The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas, by Matilda author Dennis Kelly.
Now and Forever: With Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Stephen Ward readying a December premiere, his onetime collaborator Tim Rice grabs a share of the West End limelight as lyricist and co-producer of the new musical From Here to Eternity, opening October 23 at the Shaftsbury. Darius Campbell and Rebecca Thornhill take on the parts played iconically in the 1953 film by Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr. (As to how the show will handle the bombing of Pearl Harbor, let’s wait and see.)
ALSO: The adventurous Headlong company arrives at west London’s Richmond Theatre for a weeklong run of George Orwell’s 1984, adapted by Duncan Macmillan; actor Simon Paisley Day (Private Lives) turns writer with Raving, starring Tamzin Outhwaite (Sweet Charity) and Bel Powley (Arcadia), opening on October 24 at the Hampstead.
OCTOBER 28–NOVEMBER 3
Boys’ Night: Yet another major musical hits town, the much Tony-nominated John Kander/Fred Ebb historical tuner The Scottsboro Boys, which opens at the Young Vic Theatre on October 29 with a cast that mixes Broadway alums such as Colman Domingo with local newcomers. Playing the narrating Interlocutor (created by John Cullum) is stage vet Julian Glover.
ALSO: While Julian Glover goes to Scottsboro, his wife, Isla Blair, is taking on Linda Lavin’s role in Nicky Silver’s The Lyons at the Menier Chocolate Factory. Meanwhile, their son, Jamie Glover, directs a revival of Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter, opening October 28 at the Print Room in Notting Hill. That cast includes another notable son, Joe Armstrong, whose father, Alun, was the original Thenardier in Les Miserables. Everyone got that?