The Tony’s have just happened so the topic in the West End is always which shows will be transferring to the West End. I talk about whether I can see shows like The Band’s Visit, Mean Girls and SpongeBob SquarePants transfer to London and long running shows from past seasons like Dear Evan Hansen and Waitress.
5 West End Transfers That Need To Happen
So Waitress was always going to be one of my first choices as I LOVE Sara Bareilles’ music and vocal style! Personally, the dream would be for her to reprise the role of Jenna just so I could watch her perform in her own creation but if not I’d love for Jessie Mueller or Betsy Wolfe to come over (especially as I saw how amazing Betsy Wolfe performs in Jason Robert Brown’s concert at the London Palladium).
The musical, based off the 2007 film of the same name, follows waitress Jenna and her abusive relationship with her husband Earl. Waitress has gained a large particularly large fanbase since its premiere and was nominated for four Tony Awards in 2016 including Best Musical.
The show could do well in the UK as it already has a pretty good word of mouth amongst theatre fans especially as Carrie Hope Fletcher has covered a couple of songs from the show. The show has also had big music and theatre names star in the Broadway production so far so we could expect people like Sara Bareilles, Jason Mraz and Kealla Settle flying over to reprise their roles.
Supposedly, the creative team have been searching for a venue since 2016 so it will be interesting to see which theatre it will finally open in if it transfers. Personally I think that the show should open in a smaller house as both the original film and Sara Bareilles are not well known by the general UK public so a smaller venue would be a safer space so that it can rely on the general musical theatre fanbase as well as a star name to sell tickets.
2) Dear Evan Hansen
I mean, would I be a theatre lover if I didn’t have Dear Evan Hansen on the list? The musical, by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, took Broadway by storm last year and got itself six Tony Awards. The original musical tells the tale of the socially anxious Evan Hansen and how a lie can change a life.
The main question rather than “will it transfer?” is “who will play the lead?”. Dear Evan Hansen‘s transfer is confirmed, according to the Daily Mail, where producer Stacey Mindich said that ‘Evan has to be played by a British actor’ and that the role would be cast colour-blind. She also spoke about how amazing Tyrone Huntley so maybe he could be the UK’s Evan?
The show, a mental health advocate, would be a welcome addition to the West End in raising awareness on an often ignored crisis. Also, the fact that Pasek and Paul are now well known to the general public through their scores to Academy-Award nominated films La La Land and The Greatest Showman. Now all that is left is for the theatre to be announced!
3) The Band’s Visit
When I first heard about The Band’s Visit I didn’t think it would have a home in Theatreland. The musical, featuring music by David Yazbeck, is now however the proud owner of 10 Tony Awards including the coveted 2018 Best New Musical Award. The show could be similar to Once in that it targets the UK’s love for more artistic shows such as how in the previous season more intimate musicals Romantics Anonymous, The Grinning Man & Girl From The North Country all gained strong word of mouth and fanbases.
Ari’el Stachel, who won a Tony Award for his performance in the Broadway production, explains the show as “a small story about Arabs and Israelis getting along, at a time when we need that more than ever”. The show has a universal story and would definitely hit all major news outlets for the statement it makes and how relevant it is to the current political and social climate.
Personally I feel that the show would suit a limited run in one of the smaller West End venues such as the Noël Coward or Wyndham’s with the option of becoming an open run. I feel, however, that if the show delays until a later season it will have a stronger chance at sweeping the Oliviers similarly to its recent performance at the Tony’s.
4) SpongeBob SquarePants
The show that is surprising everyone on Broadway this year is SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical. The musical, based off the long-running Nickelodeon hit animated series of the same name, has won the Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best New Musical and Best Leading Actor for Ethan Slater, playing the titular character. The show was also nominated for the most Tony Awards this season alongside Mean Girls with 12 nominations, including Best New Musical and acting nods for Ethan Slater and Gavin Lee.
SpongeBob SquarePants realistically should be one of the easiest shows to transfer as it features music by pop stars such as Cyndi Lauper, David Bowie and John Legend plus the Nickelodeon animated series is still incredibly popular. Currently there has been no rumours of it transferring and the show seems to have started to struggle with sales so if the run finishes soon then it may take a couple more years for a West End transfer.
5) Mean Girls
The musical that I think will be announced in the next six months to be transferring to the West End is Mean Girls. Now that West End houses are being freed up at the start of 2019 such as the Savoy where Dreamgirls, another Casey Nicholaw/Sonia Friedman show, is running until January there is space for the show. This would make the most sense as the Savoy was the former home to another American rom-com musical, Legally Blonde.
When asked by WhatsOnStage whether Mean Girls would transfer Sonia Friedman said “Yeah, we’d love to… certainly, if I’m involved, it’s going to happen, isn’t it?” So this suggests that the show is pretty much a certain for a transfer regardless of it not scoring any Tony Awards last week.
The best thing about the show is that it may not require any stunt casting however part of me wonders with Carrie Hope Fletcher wowing the stage as Veronica in Heathers at The Other Palace whether we could see her stepping into Cady’s shoes. My other dream casting would be seeing Lucie Jones belting out “World Burn” as the iconic Regina George.
Originally Come From Away was in the place of The Band’s Visit on my list however it was recently leaked by Baz Bamigboye that the show would be taking the Phoenix Theatre stage in February 2019 replacing Chicago.
Other shows that I could see gracing the West End from the Great White Way are Moulin Rouge, Pretty Woman, Frozen and Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. All of these shows are pretty self-explanatory that they all either are jukebox musicals of popular artists or adaptions of popular cult movies.
So here is my breakdown of what Broadway shows I can see coming into Theatreland in the next few years. Let me know whether you agree, if you want an influx of Broadway transfers and which theatres you could see these shows in.
Love You Aeronauts,