As far as weeks go, it has definitely been an exciting one in the whirlwind world of theatre. From new show openings to WhatsOnStage award-winners and Olivier nominations, we’ve rounded up the top shows that you need to be seeing…
Award-winning film director Mira Nair brings her exuberant and sumptuous film Monsoon Wedding to life, in a new musical adaptation, set to light up the stage this summer. With priority tickets on sale now from just £16.50, prepare for a perfect storm of drama, love, hope, laughs, and a whole lot of rain!
Raking in six WhatsOnStage awards and earning an incredible nineOlivier nominations all in one week – & Juliet is the must-see musical this award season! Featuring a myriad of smash-hits from iconic songwriter Max Martin, it seems there is no stopping this feel-good sensation. Don’t miss out on tickets from just £24.60.
In light of their two WhatsOnStage award wins last weekend, and seven Olivier nominations earlier this week, it’s safe to say that the West End transfer of Dear Evan Hansen is carrying on the award-winning success of the Broadway show. Featuring a score from the songwriters of The Greatest Showman and La La Land, if you haven’t yet experienced the ‘theatrical lightning’ (New York Times) that is Dear Evan Hansen, you can book tickets now from £30.
Olivier Award-winner Juliet Stevenson delivers “one of the performances of the year” (Evening Standard) in the West End transfer of Robert Icke’s sold-out, five-star, now Olivier Award nominated Almeida Theatre production. Book tickets from just £18 to see the performance that has earned Juliet Stevenson another Best Actress Olivier nomination.
One of Hollywood’s most beloved romantic stories of all time opened on the West End this week and boy did the audience love it! Labelled a ‘blockbuster musical’ (Evening Standard) and raking in a whole host of four and five-star reviews, we don’t doubt that missing out on this smash-hit would be a big mistake. Big. Huge. Get tickets now from just £18.
With Michael Ball set to reprise his Olivier Award-winning role as Edna Turnblad, alongside Have I Got News For You star, Paul Merton, Hairspray is on track to be the show to see this summer. Check out the incredible performance from Marisha Wallace below (we’re so here for Michael Ball’s reactions) and book your tickets for this must-see return of Hairspray, opening in April!
All prices and offer details are correct at time of writing. Subject to change thereafter.
Day 8913 in the month of January and it still feels like February is a lifetime away. Luckily for you, we’ve rounded up a host of fantastic shows that will be a great ailment to banish those pesky January blues without breaking the bank.
Shelagh Delaney’s ground-breaking British classic A Taste of Honey returns to the West End for the first time in 60 years. Jodie Prenger leads the cast as Helen in an exciting staging, featuring original compositions performed live by an on stage three-piece band and sung by the cast. Save over 50% on selected tickets for a sweet, cheap, theatre night treat to warm your cold January nights. Offer ends 29th Feb 2020.
This production of Agatha Christie’s thrilling classic immerses the audience in a unique courtroom setting, complete with drama and intensity to keep you enthralled. With tickets from just £13.80, don’t miss out on this gripping story of justice, passion, and betrayal.
The Mousetrap has become the longest running show of any kind in the world by keeping audiences on the edge of their seat in this masterful whodunit by the “Queen of Mystery”. Tickets start from just £19.52 – book now and pay no booking fees on selected tickets! Offer ends 31st Jan 2020.
The Ideal Home Show sponsored by NatWest will offer everything you need to make your house a home to be proud of. Whether you have a big home project, or just want to add those finishing touches, you’ll discover fresh ideas at the UK’s biggest home event. Tickets are just £9.50 – don’t miss out!
It’s the return of one of the most classic combinations known to man – dinner and a show. Buy selected theatre tickets and warm your winter night with a delicious 2 or 3 course meal at your choice of some of London’s most popular restaurants, our treat! Browse our fantastic selection of shows and restaurants to create your ideal evening out.
2019 is going to bring many a new and exciting to show to London’s illustrious West End, but we’ll also be feeling the January blues when some of our current favourites come to an end! Be sure not to miss out on these all-star, all-singing, all-dancing spectaculars before they leave the West End stage…
Kinky Boots Having won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical in 2016 and with songs by Grammy® and Tony® winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper, this ‘dazzling, fabulously sassy and uplifting’ (Time Out) musical celebration is about the friendships we discover, and the belief that you can change the world when you change your mind. The cast of Kinky Boots will be raising up audiences until 12 Jan only, so get your tickets here now!
Chicago Winner of six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and a Grammy, the sexiest, sassiest, most sophisticated Broadway musical in history is celebrating 21 years of standing ovations in style. Now starring ITV2’s Caroline Flack and star of RuPaul’s Drag Race Todrick Hall, don’t miss out on the razzle dazzle of Chicago before it ends on January 5th – book final tickets now.
Dreamgirls Thirty-five years after the groundbreaking original Broadway production, this UK and West End premiere of the sensational and iconic Tony Award®-winning musical must end on the January 12th! Don’t miss out on this “dream of a show” (The Stage), grab tickets from £30 here.
Motown While we still have a little longer to enjoy the sound and the music of Motown The Musical, this feel-good sensation will still be leaving London’s West End in April 2019. Featuring an eighteen-piece live orchestra, playing 50 Motown tracks, book selected tickets now with no fees!
42nd Street 42nd Street is the song and dance, American dream fable of Broadway. Starring stage royalty Bonnie Langford as the legendary diva ‘Dorothy Brock’, this exuberant production is not to be missed. 42nd Street will be tapping out on January 5th but you can still book last tickets here.
Awful Auntie From the award-winning West End producers of Gangsta Granny comes the world premiere of David Walliams’ amazing tale of frights, fights and friendship, featuring a very large owl, a very small ghost and a very awful Auntie! The perfect treat for families this festive season, book tickets before 6th January here.
Nativity! The Musical This Christmas join father and daughter Danny and Dani Dyer, legendary comedian Jo Brand and West End star Simon Lipkin as he reprises his role as ‘Mr Poppy’ in the hit show Nativity! The Musical. With performances running until December 31st, don’t miss out on final tickets to this smash-hit sell-out show!
The Inheritance Winner of ‘Best Play’ at the Evening Standard Awards 2018, The Inheritance is the play that has taken the West End by storm. Directed by multi Olivier Award winner Stephen Daldry, The Inheritance is “perhaps the most important American play of the century” (The Telegraph). Don’t miss out on this theatrical masterpiece, book now with no fees on selected tickets!
Bat Out Of Hell Following a smash-hit season and bringing to life the legendary anthems of Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf, this critically-acclaimed production combines the magic of a musical with the immense energy of rock ‘n’ roll. “It’s loud, exhilarating and blows your socks off” (The Independent), book now before the show closes on January 5th.
Switzerland A teasing metaphysical thriller’ ★★★★ (The Guardian) Filled with razor-sharp dialogue, this chilling and sometimes hilarious two-hander unfolds into a gripping psychological thriller. ‘Very well acted. Calum Finlay impeccable. Booking until 5th January 2019, get tickets now and save up to 53% in our Boxing Day sale!
Summer and Smoke Following a sold-out run at the Almeida Theatre, Rebecca Frecknall’s ‘shiveringly beautiful production’ (The Sunday Times) of Tennessee Williams’ Summer and Smoke has transferred to the West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season. Don’t miss this intoxicating play about love, desire, loneliness, and self-destruction – get tickets and save up to 47% before the production closes on January 19th.
The Band For anyone who grew up with a boyband comes The Band a new musical with a beautiful story byOlivier Award-winner Tim Firth and the music of Take That. After one of the most successful musical theatre tours ever, The Band transfers to London’s West End until January 12th only! Book your tickets now and save up to 54%.
The biggest shopping event of the year has returned. Your inbox is probably full to the brim with discounts on electronics, flights, and beauty products, and the idea of hitting the high-street this weekend may be more than a little daunting.
But Black Friday isn’t just about fighting over cheap televisions in ASDA; it is the perfect opportunity to grab yourself a great night at the theatre!
From musical sensations like Dreamgirls and Motown, to Christmas classics such as A Christmas Carol, there’s a discounted ticket for everyone to get their hands on this Black Friday. Here’s a round-up of the best deals. You can view our full list at fromtheboxoffice.com.
Venus in Fur
Enjoy Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer’s seductive performance for half the price in Venus in Fur, a dark comedy about desire, fantasy, and the innate love of fur. With stalls seats from just £17.50, it’s an offer you can’t refuse… Save 58% on Venus in Fur tickets.
If you haven’t yet seen ‘the play of the year’ (Time Out), now is probably the best time to book; you can avoid the fees this Black Friday Weekend! Jez Butterworth’s epic new masterpiece is set in Northern Ireland in 1981, following the Carney family’s annual harvest celebrations. It’s a gripping three-and-a-half hours featuring stellar performances from a goose, a rabbit, and a baby. What are you waiting for? Book The Ferryman tickets from £15 and no fees.
This Black Friday Weekend, you can book tickets for the award-winning Oslo for half the usual price. Discover the thrilling true story of a Norwegian couple who risked everything for peace – and enjoy a performance from James Bond’s Toby Stephens – with tickets from just £15. Save 59% on Oslo tickets.
You may or may not be surprised to hear that there are 5 actual goats in Goats at the Royal Court. If this concept excites you, then we have some even better news: this weekend only, you can get better-than-half-price tickets for the new work by Syrian playwright Liwaa Yazji. Book tickets for Goats from £8.
A Christmas Carol
If the prospect of January blues is already looming, then The Old Vic’sA Christmas Carol may be the ideal show for you. You can save over £55 on January performances, helping you and your loved ones beat the post-Christmas slump! Plus, you’ll get to see Rhys Ifans from Notting Hill and Kevin & Perry Go Large, which is pretty cool. Save 57% on The Old Vic’s A Christmas Carol.
A Woman of No Importance
The first offering in the Vaudeville Theatre’s Oscar Wilde Season is the “witty and challenging” (The Upcoming)A Woman of No Importance. With what promises to be a delightful and refreshing evening at the theatre, the £25 stalls seats seem pretty tempting, don’t they? Save 38% on A Woman of No Importance tickets.
Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle
Anne-Marie Duff and Kenneth Cranham play two strangers whose lives change forever after a chance meeting in Simon Stephens’ newest play, Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle.What’s certain is that you’ll be bagging a bargain with stalls seats at just £22.50. Book tickets for Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle.
Strangers In Between
Delve into the highs and lows of growing up gay in modern Australia in Tommy Murphy’s insanely relevant, heartfelt and hilarious play at Trafalgar Studios. This Black Friday, you can save 28% on front-row seats! Book tickets for Strangers in Between from £25.
The Exorcist, arguably the scariest movie of all time, has been unleashed into the West End in a brand new stage adaptation at the Playhouse Theatre. Book tickets this weekend and get half price stalls seats, if you dare… Book tickets for The Exorcist from £25.
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough to keep you from getting to Motown with tickets from just £22 this Black Friday! Jump on the scorching joyride through the songs and stories of the record label that changed it all. Book tickets for Motown with no fees.
An American in Paris
You can bag yourself seats in the stalls for the ‘S Wonderful An American in Paris from just £18.50! Catch the beautiful theatre-ballet hybrid before the engagement ends on 6 January. Save over 50% on An American in Paris tickets.
Broadway sensation Dreamgirls burst onto the scene in the West End almost a year ago and continues to play to nightly standing ovations. With the role of Effie White now played by the fantastic Moya Angela of America’s Got Talent fame, don’t miss the opportunity to book with no fees! Book tickets for Dreamgirls from £17.70.
If you’re a sucker for a Jackson tune (let’s face it, who isn’t?), then Thriller Live guarantees to deliver a sensational night of dancing and music. This Black Friday, you can save up to £35 per ticket! Book tickets for Thriller Live.
After a hugely successful stint in both the West End and Broadway over two decades ago, the Olivier award-winning Five Guys Named Moe has come back with a bang. Book now for up to 65% off – and warm up your jazz hands! Book tickets for Five Guys Named Moe.
It’s not really a Hard Knock Life when you can save 45% on tickets for Annie…
Plus, you can now enjoy the wonderful Meera Syal as she takes over the orphanage from Monday 27 November. Book tickets for Annie from £23.50.
Jack and the Beanstalk
Join Jack, a lovable cow, and an enormous beanstalk at the Lyric Hammersmith for their annual festive panto! This Black Friday, you can save up to £10 per ticket for selected December & January performances. Book tickets for Jack & The Beanstalk from £18.
Enjoy some hauntingly beautiful Oscar Wilde tales with all the family for half the price! This weekend only, you can grab front-row dress circle and stalls seats from only £10! Book tickets for Wilde Creatures.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Introduce your little ones to the theatre with the charming The Very Hungry Caterpillar at the Ambassadors Theatre. This weekend, we’re offering you an exclusive 35% off – you can bag yourself fantastic stalls and circle seats from just £16.80! Book tickets for The Hungry Caterpillar.
Join Slava and his troupe at the Royal Festival Hall as they culminate in a snowstorm of epic proportions. With a discount of over 50%, and rear stalls seats from £20, it’s an unmissable family outing. Book tickets for Slava’s Snowshow.
The Gruffalo’s Child
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s award-winning sequel to The Gruffalo is brought life in the West End this Christmas. With monstrous savings of up to 43%, The Gruffalo’s Child is an irresistible treat for you and your little ones. Book tickets for The Gruffalo’s Child.
Opera & Dance
Enjoy a radically different take on Puccini’s timeless classic at Trafalgar Studios this December! With great comedy, sublime music, and over £10 off each ticket, there’s no doubt that it’ll be an opera experience you’ll never forget. Book tickets for La Bohème from £20.
Alice Fearn and Sophie Evans will head the new London cast of WICKED from Monday 24 July 2017. Also joining the cast are Bradley Jaden, Melanie La Barrie, Andy Hockley, Jack Lansbury and Laura Pick.
Now in its 11th smash-hit year at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, the West End musical phenomenon WICKED, tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz and an unlikely but profound friendship between two sorcery students. Based on Gregory Maguire’s acclaimed, best-selling novel, the show ingeniously re-imagines the stories and characters in L. Frank Baum’s ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’.
Alice Fearn, who will be replacing Willemijn Verkaik in the role of Elphaba (the illegitimate daughter of Melena Thropp and the Wizard of Oz), originally joined the London production in 2016 as a standby for the role. Her previous appearances in the West End include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Shrek The Musical, Into the Woods, Les Misérables and The Woman in White.
Sophie Evans, who will be playing Glinda, was the acclaimed runner-up in the BBC talent show ‘Over the Rainbow’ and subsequently played ‘Dorothy Gale’ in The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium.
Bradley Jaden will take on the role of Fiyero (Elphaba’s love interest), which is his current role in the musical’s international tour. Previously, he starred in Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre as ‘Enjolras’.
Melanie La Barrie is starring as Madame Morrible, and is currently part of the acclaimed Everyman Company at the Liverpool Everyman Theatre. Previous roles include ‘Mrs Phelps’ in the original cast of Matilda, ‘Madame Thénardier’ in Les Misérables and ‘Mrs Corry’ in the original cast of Mary Poppins.
Andy Hockley, who is starring as The Wizard, has long been part of The Phantom of the Opera, playing ‘Monsieur Firmin’ at London’s Her Majesty’s Theatre. He most recently played ‘Grandpa Potts’ in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at West Yorkshire Playhouse and on the UK & Ireland Tour.
Jack Lansbury, graduate of Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, is making his West End debut in WICKED as Boq.
Laura Pick, Elphaba’s standby, played ‘Maria von Trapp’ in The Sound of Music at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.
Martin Ball (Doctor Dillamond), Sarah McNicholas (Nessarose) and Carina Gillespie (Standby for Glinda) continue in their current roles.
Current cast members Willemijn Verkaik (Elphaba), Suzie Mathers (Glinda), Oliver Savile (Fiyero), Sue Kelvin (Madame Morrible), Mark Curry (The Wizard) and Idriss Kargbo (Boq) are set to play their final performances on Saturday 22 July 2017.
Already the 17th longest running show in West End theatre history, the show has astonishingly won the WhatsOnStage Award for ‘Best West End Show’ three times, and is proudly a two-time winner of the Olivier Audience Award.
Book your tickets to the West End favourite, multi-award-winning show WICKED here.
Inspired by the Oscar-winning 1951 musical film starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron – and first seen in 2014 in Paris and in 2015 on Broadway – An American in Paris is now dancing up a storm in the West End at the Dominion Theatre, with both leads firmly in place: the Royal Ballet’s Leanne Cope andNew York City Ballet’sRobert Fairchild.
One of George and Ira Gershwin’s most beloved musicals, An American in Paris tells the story of American GI Jerry Mulligan, an aspiring painter trying to make his way in Paris, who falls in love with young ballet dancer Lise.
The show received a phenomenal 28 five-star reviews after officially opening at the Dominion Theatre two weeks ago (Tuesday 21 March). Here we round up the reviews.
Photography by Tristram Kenton
It is undoubtedly Christopher Wheeldon’s choreography that steals the limelight. “The dancing is, if not the star, then certainly the moon” explains Anne Treneman (The Times: ★★★★★). Michael Arditti (Sunday Express: ★★★★★) agrees, describing it as being “of the highest calibre”, offering vibrant ensembles, jazzy solos and swooning duets. As pleasantly summed up by Ann Treneman, the balletic choreography, at times, truly takes your breath away.
Set & Costume Design
Mark Shenton(The Stage: ★★★★★) describes An American in Paris as a rare show where the designs also dance. The magnificent set and costume design by Bob Crowley, which are said to have “a touch of genius” (Michael Billington, The Guardian: ★★★★★), come an extremely close second to the choreography. The back-lit screens and sketches of rainy Parisian streets that change before your eyes are “so beautiful that you cannot help but fall in love with the city, too” (Ann Treneman,The Times). Further, the production, drenched in vivid colours, has a “visual splendour that few musicals can match” (Neil Norman,Express: ★★★★★).
In terms of music,the showoffers lashings of gorgeous melody (Sarah Hemming,Financial Times: ★★★★★) and an eclectic range of Gershwin songs (Michael Billington, The Guardian). Rob Fishereloquently adapts and arranges the musical score, including additional songs from the Gershwin catalogue (I Got Rhythm, ‘S Wonderful, They Can’t Take That Away From Me) to keep the show afloat, even in its darker moments (Neil Norman,Express).
Wheeldon’s production has the luxury, original casting of New York Ballet’s Robert Fairchild and the Royal Ballet principal Leanne Cope, who are both effortless singers as well as “dazzling movers” (Mark Shenton,The Stage). Fairchild is excellent as Jerry: on top of being able to act and sing, he has the capacity to “glide effortlessly into a number” (Michael Billington, The Guardian). And gliding through them all is the “captivating Leanne Cope” (Georgina Brown,Daily Mail: ★★★★★), an exceptional ballet dancer blessed with a lovely voice.
Aside from the first-class leads, the support is labelled “impeccable” by Michael Billington (The Guardian) – Haydn Oakley lends an unexpected complexity; Zoe Rainey is an eminently stylish Milo, and David Seadon-Young is suitably sardonic as the aggrieved composer.
An American in Paris – Overall
Overall, Mark Shenton (The Stage) gives much credit to Wheeldon for his “intricate command of both narrative and bold stage pictures”, in what is only his second time working on a musical. Similarly, Quintenn Letts (Daily Mail: ★★★★★) encourages us not to gripe about the staleness of the story, but instead celebrate the repeatedly inventive staging of Wheeldon and his designer Bob Crowley.
An American in Paris has been showered in well-deserved five-star reviews from top critics, most notably from Shenton in The Stage,Treneman in The Times, and Letts in The Daily Mail, to name just a few. As eloquently put by Norman (Express), this Gerwshin-inspired show may not be the only musical-ballet hybrid, but it is almost certainly the best.
For a ‘S Wonderful, ‘S Marvellous, ‘S Awful Nice evening, book your tickets to An American In Parisnow.
Netflix has rapidly become our first choice for lazy day entertainment, providing us with hours of bingeable material at the touch of a button. To those of you with an account (which is almost everyone, right? Find out your mum’s login details if not!): Once you have eventually caught up on Orange Is the New Black – and maybe had a shower, peeled back your curtains and engaged in some human interaction – you’ll be delighted to hear that you have access to some of the best musical theatre from the comfort of your own home!
From timeless classics like Annie and Funny Girl, to modern creations like Mamma Mia!, Netflix can satisfy every theatrical desire. Here are the top 8 musicals available for streaming right now:
1. Annie (1982)
Follow 11-year-old Annie, the world’s favourite urchin, as she transforms from rags to riches after capturing the heart of Daddy Warbucks with her adorable innocence and optimism. It’s a charming, feel-good classic complete with unforgettable songs. Perfect entertainment for a rainy day.
A brand new production of AnniestarringMiranda Hart opens at London’s Piccadilly Theatre on 23 May. Book tickets here.
2. Dreamgirls (2006)
Adapted from the 1981 Broadway musical, and taking strong inspiration from the true story of The Supremes,Dreamgirls explores the evolution of 60s & 70s R&B music through the eyes of American girl group The Dreams. Tensions arise for the girls when their manager replaces lead singer Effie with the more ‘marketable’ Deena. Boasting a star-studded cast of Beyoncé Knowles, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy, this is a real must-see.
3. Funny Girl (1968)
Follow the life-story of Broadway star Fanny Brice in the semi-biographical musical film Funny Girl. Based on the 1963 musical, the romcom – starring Oscar Award-winning Barba Streisand – highlights Brice’s hostile relationship with gambler Nicky Arnstein. It’s an old classic that’s definitely worth a watch.
4. Grease: Live (2016)
Be transported back to the 1950s to follow the whirlwind high-school romance between innocent Sandy and greaser Danny in a live television special starring Julianne Hough,Vanessa Hudgens and Carly Rae Jepson. Incorporating elements from both the 1978 film and the original stage production – as well as brand new songs – it’s an uplifting, one-night musical extravaganza you don’t want to miss!
5. On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970)
In the fantasy musical film On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, Barbra Streisand stars as a brash New Yorker who, at the request of her conservative fiancé, undergoes hypnotherapy to diminish her smoking habits. While under hypnosis, she shifts between present day and her past life in early 19th-century England. The film adaptation, and the oldest musical on Netflix, is described by Paramount as “a delightful combination of comedy, drama, fantasy and music.”
6. Mamma Mia! (2008)
Embrace the lovable hits of Swedish pop band ABBA in Mamma Mia!– the film adaptation of the 1999 West End musical. A single mum is preparing for her daughter’s wedding on the Greek isle of Kalokairi, when her three ex-lovers (and potential fathers of the bride-to-be) arrive for the big day. With a star-studded cast, including Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Julie Walters – and ABBA’s most-loved songs – Mamma Mia! promises to delight and uplift.
7. Puss in Boots (1988)
Much to his dismay, Corin inherits only a cat from his father. However, he is soon stunned to learn that the cat transforms to a human being when wearing a pair of boots. Follow the adventures of the magical cat as he helps his young master win the heart of a princess! Jason Connery and Christopher Walken star in this lovable musical film adaptation of the classic fairy tale Puss in Boots.
8. De-Lovely (2004)
Explore the life and career of American composer and songwriter Cole Porter in the 2004 musical biopic De-Lovely. From the night he first met his devoted wife, up until the day he died, you’ll witness his life unfolding much like one of his musicals.
It is hard to imagine what the world would look like today without Chuck Berry’s Rock and Roll cultural revolution. A pioneer of the genre, he broke away from the romantic intonations of the early 50s American Rock and Roll, adding teenage life troubles, desires, and the pursuit of freedom to his lyrics, edgy riffs to his electric guitar and loads, loads of swagger to his performances.
Unless you have been living in Mars for the last 50 years, chances are that you have heard Johnny B. Goode (1958) a hundred times. Covered by over 150 artists, from The Beatles to Sex Pistols, Judas Priest and Elton John, the song was even included on NASA’s Voyager Golden Record, attached to the spacecraft as representing rock and roll, one of many cultural achievements of humanity.
By influencing the influencers, Berry’s legacy goes beyond genre, country, and time. Songwriters that shaped a generation have long admitted to Berry’s influences in their work: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and so on. In Musical Theatre this is no different: Even Tim Rice is known to have had a band covering most of Berry’s songs.
So we did our best to track his influence in the musical theatre world and what we found surprised us – a number of musicals that would probably have never existed without him or, or at least, would be very different to what they are now.
In his autobiography (Moonwalk, 1988), Michael Jackson remembered his father’s blues band, The Falcons, who used to rehearse in the family’s living room. In the book, Michael recalls the band’s covers of Chuck Berry songs, amongst other early rock and blues classics.
School of Rock
It is said that Mike White (who wrote the original film) is not a fan of classic rock, but he wrote it specifically so Jack Black could perform his own favourite rock music (Wikipedia), which incidentally contains songs by the band AC/DC (who covered Berry’s “School Days” in their T.N.T. album from 1975), The Who and David Bowie, whom are all Berry’s fans.
Bat Out of Hell Meatloaf (Jim Steinman) is a huge fan of Chuck Berry – not only did he cover his songs, but he also mentions him in his lyrics: […] The blood of the guitar was Chuck Berry red. The guitar bled for about a week afterward but it rung out beautifully, and I was able to play notes that I had never heard before. […]
Could you win an Olympic Gold Medal just by watching Musicals? Join us as we explain every Olympic Sport through the joy of jazz hands. So grab a leotard, a cane and a pair of ruby slippers and in a few short minutes you could find yourself on the winner’s podium without ever leaving Kansas City! Read more →
Think you know your Cats from your Evita? Just for fun we’ve mixed up 20 musicals – how long will it take you to untangle the anagrams? It’s tougher than you think! Share your score but don’t give the game away….