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London Musicals This Christmas

Friday, 9th Dec 2016

It finally happened. The good weather still feels like a recent memory but with the blink of an eye we’re now in December and instead of considering summer productions at venues like the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre we now turn our attentions to the Christmas season.

But what does the West End and beyond have to offer this year? From the annual productions that visit us every year, such as the Peacock Theatre’s The Snowman to revivals of A Christmas Carol, there will be plenty of choice to consider, but for now we’re going to focus on the musicals that audiences can enjoy.

1). Dreamgirls – Savoy Theatre
Okay, this isn’t necessarily a Christmas show, it’s a high profile West End musical that is likely to be entertaining audiences for some time to come. But its official opening takes place on Wednesday 14th December 2016, meaning it arrives just in time for the season, with audiences likely to flock to the capital’s latest musical.

The show is the Broadway hit that chronicles the rise of a 1960s girl group called The Dreams as they navigate a tumultuous music industry. With songs like And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going it has won many admirers on the other side of the Atlantic and was also adapted into a film starring Jennifer Hudson as Effie White. The role is played by Amber Riley in the West End.

2). Rent – St James Theatre
Like Dreamgirls this isn’t necessarily a Christmas show, but it is returning to the capital during the Christmas season and will likely attract a lot of attention as it marks the 20th Anniversary of its original New York run in 1996. This Jonathan Larson’s award-winning musical plays at the St James Theatre with Bruce Guthrie directing.

3). Dirty Dancing – Phoenix Theatre
The Classic Story On Stage returns to the West End this Christmas with a brief run at the Phoenix Theatre. Dirty Dancing was a popular choice for theatregoers when it played at the Aldwych and Piccadilly Theatre’s on its last West End appearance and now it enjoys a short run during December 2016.

The story of ‘Baby’ Houseman and her love affair with dance instructor Johnny Castle won the hearts of audiences worldwide when it first emerged as a 1987 film and it later proved to be perfect for the musical theatre treatment, so looks out for it when it runs at the Phoenix Theatre this Christmas.

4). Cinderella – London Palladium
Not quite a traditional musical but close enough. The pantomime Cinderella makes an appearance at the London Palladium this Christmas in a production that is sure to put a smile on the faces of West End audiences. Paul O’Grady and Amanda Holden are amongst the cast members and it is likely to make a big impression.

So all in all this is shaping up to be a great Christmas for the West End and it won’t stop in January as 2017 brings us a host of new musicals. Early in the year, for example, we’ll get The Girls at the Phoenix Theatre, based on the story of the Calendar Girls, and later in the year we’ll also get the likes of 42nd Street, which plays at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane from March.

Chris Packer
Chris Packer Chris Packer has been writing about the West End for many years and wishes this knowledge would help him win some pub quizzes. When he’s not writing about the newest shows he’s probably watching films or anticipating the latest releases.