A London Theatre Year in Review
A Look at the Theatre World in 2012, From Olympics to Viva Forever
It’s been quite a year in London, with the 2012 Olympics taking hold in the summer, and this is reflected in the West End, where many shows have opened and various others have closed their doors. So how will London theatre in 2012 be remembered in the years to come? Will it be remembered as the years that Olympic-based productions like “Chariots of Fire” took audiences by storm, or will it be remembered for the closures of long running shows like “Blood Brothers”?
It’s true that the Olympics have had an effect on the West End; after all, they have had an effect on the country as a whole. However, it has not simply been Olympics based shows that have opened their doors this year; many other plays and musicals have made their mark and these range from movie adaptations such as “The King’s Speech” to classic musicals such as “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Sweeney Todd”. All of these shows opened early in the year and they set the stage for others to follow as it progressed, from “Top Hat” in May to “Viva Forever” in December.
It wasn’t just “Blood Brothers” that closed its doors either; another of the West End’s long running musicals – “Chicago” – closed as the year progressed as well. The show had been running at the Cambridge Theatre in recent years though it was forced to stand aside to allow “Matilda the Musical” (still going strong) room to breathe and set up camp at Garrick Theatre before bowing out in September. “Ghost The Musical” also closed its doors at the Piccadilly Theatre after appearing at the venue for just over a year. It made way for the Spice Girls musical “Viva Forever”.
So whilst the Olympics made a big impression in the summer 2012 could be summed up as the year of the changing musical landscape in the West End. But what can we expect from London theatre in 2013? We know that one of the biggest shows opening during the course of the year is “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and some big names are set to take to the stage, such as the return of James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave (last seen together in the West End’s “Driving Miss Daisy”) in “Much Ado About Nothing” at the Old Vic Theatre.
So from two shows alone we can tell that there is plenty to look forward to in 2013.
- Gemma Arterton in Made In Dagenham at the Adelphi Theatre
- Ruthie Henshall in Billy Elliot The Musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre
- Arthur Darvill in Once at the Phoenix Theatre
- Beverley Knight in Memphis at the Shaftesbury Theatre
- Leigh Zimmerman in Relative Values at the Harold Pinter Theatre
- Let The Right One In Transferring to the Reopening Apollo Theatre
- John Lloyd Young in Jersey Boys at the Piccadilly Theatre
- Peter Polycarpou and Gary Wilmot in The Pajama Game at the Shaftesbury Theatre
- Tom Bateman and Lucy Briggs-Owen in Shakespeare In Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
- Trevor Nunn’s Relative Values at the Harold Pinter Theatre