Brits just swept the Tony Awards in New York, with English producers and performers nabbing trophies for Best Play, The Curious Incident in the Dog at Nighttime, and best actress to Helen Mirren and best featured actor to Richard McCabe for The Audience. Those award-winning shows ran in London’s West End before heading stateside (and are still showing here). For planners headed to London, there is no better place to see top theatrical talent and exciting new shows. Here are a few getting great buzz this season:
- Bend It Like Beckham. Based on the 2002 British film about a girl’s struggle between her family’s Indian traditions and her dream to play soccer, the musical adaptation of Bend It Like Beckham brings generations, communities and cultures together in an uplifting tale about bending the rules. Featuring an original score with an Indian kick, this musical is promising to be an energetic night out. Booking now through March, 2016.
- Farinelli and the King. After a sold-out run in London’s Globe Theater, the critically-acclaimed new play Farinelli and the King, by Claire van Kampen, reopens this fall in the West End’s Duke of York theatre. Based on the true story of King Philippe V of Spain, depressed and suffering from insomnia, when the Queen, desperate to find a cure, hears of Farinelli, a castrato with a voice so divine it has the power to captivate all who hear it. King Philippe is astonished when Farinelli sings, and the show is the captivating tale of choice for Farinelli, a great celebrity in his time, to pick a life of solitude with the King over fame and fortune in the opera-houses of Europe. Starring Mark Rylance, ‘one of the greatest stage actors in the world’ (Daily Telegraph) as King Philippe, with the role of Farinelli shared by opera stars Lestyn Davies, Rupert Enticknap and Owen Willetts, singing the arias first sung by Farinelli in the 1730s accompanied by live music played on Baroque instruments, on a stage lit almost exclusively by the glow of candlelight. On for 12 weeks only, starting September 14, 2015.
- Gypsy. The stunning revival of Gypsy in the Savoy Theatre, on the London stage for the first time in 40 years, starring award-winning actress Imelda Staunton as Momma Rose is not to be missed. The classic Sondheim musical is based on the memoirs of legendary burlesque entertainer, Gypsy Rose Lee, of her life growing up traveling across America doing vaudeville acts with her sister Baby June and her demanding stage mother, Momma Rose, who deprived them of an ordinary childhood in pursuit of stardom. Staunton’s rendition of “Coming Up Roses” is truly unforgettable. Bookings now through November 28, 2015.
Photo: courtesy Savoy Theatre