Thursday, July 26, 2007

Go East, Young Musical, Go East

Go East, Young Musical, Go East

Despite the incredibly shrinking dollar -- and in spite of the premature closing of the big American hit musical The Drowsy Chaperone, which reached its 500th performance milestone on Broadway, yet is closing in London after a mere two months -- nothing spells theatrical success quite like having your show play to audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, as Variety's Gordon Cox examines.

On the heels of the extraordinary success of the new film version of the Broadway stage musical that was based on John Waters' original 1988 flick, Hairspray will finally open in the London this October 11 at the Shaftesbury Theatre with U.K. stage fave Michael Ball as Edna Turnblad. The Great White Way incarnation that premiered five years ago, won the 2003 Tony for Best Musical.

After that, expect the 2006 Tony-winning Best Musical Jersey Boys to confound those anticipating a show about young boys and their cows on the pastoral isle of The Bailiwick of Jersey when it replaces Mary Poppins at London's Prince Edward Theatre on February 28.

This year's Tony-winning Best Musical Spring Awakening will most certainly be mounted on the West End, but details have yet to be announced. And although Grey Gardens may be vacating Rialto's Walter Kerr Theatre this Sunday, it's expected to find its new West End digs sometime during the current theatre season.

While the plummeting U.S. dollar may make mounting each of these shows more expensive, at least ticket prices remain somewhat reasonable in London. For example, you can expect to pay £61.50 (or approximately $123 US) for Jersey Boys' top ticket vs. $351.50 on Broadway. Thankfully, the whole concept of "premium seating" has not caught on, although -- quite inexplicably -- you'll still have to pony up to $8 for their version of a Playbill.

If you're a theatre lover, but have never had the opportunity to see a show on the West End, I would highly recommend it. Just don't go with the expectation that every musical or play ends in a standing ovation -- the British tend to reserve those for truly remarkable and stunning performances. Here! Here!

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for Hairspray UK tickets.
Click here for Jersey Boys UK tickets.

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