From 'Cabaret' to 'Come From Away', Musical theatre set for a big year

The enormous success of Hamilton has underlined the enduring appeal of musical theatre. Marjorie Brennan selects the best shows of the year ahead.

Come From Away, Abbey Theatre, Dublin, until Jan 19

The national theatre has broadened its remit since Graham McLaren and Neil Murray took the reins in 2017, and it scored something of a coup in securing the European premiere of this hit Broadway musical, ahead of its much-anticipated transfer to the West End.

Come From Away is inspired by the true story of the 7,000 air passengers from all over the world who were grounded in Canada in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and the small Newfoundland community that took them in. Tickets available for this run, which ends on Saturday, January 19.

abbeytheatre.ie

Blood Brothers, INEC Killarney, March 19-23, Cork Opera House Aug 6-24

Willy Russell’s heart-wrenching tale of twins separated at birth is the third longest-running musical production in West End history and its enduring popularity is illustrated by the fact that its touring production is getting two Irish outings this year, in Cork and Kerry.

It had a hugely successful run in Cork Opera House eight years ago and its many fans are sure to be delighted to see it return to the venue.

www.inec.ie

corkoperahouse.ie

Hamilton, Victoria Palace Theatre, London, Tickets currently on sale to April 2019

Believe the hype about Lin Manuel Miranda’s all-conquering, genre-busting tale of US founding father Alexander Hamilton.

Tickets aren’t easy to come by but given its huge success and the investment in renovating the theatre especially for Hamilton, it’s not likely to be going anywhere for the foreseeable future.

There is a weekly late release of premium tickets on Ticketmaster, which go on sale at 12 noon every Monday for the following week’s performances. If you happen to be in London anyway, there is also a daily lottery for £10 tickets which opens at 4pm and closes at 2pm the following day.

You can enter by downloading the Hamilton app or on the website. You can also check the Ticketmaster Hamilton website daily for returns.

Tickets for the show are more freely available for performances several months ahead.

www.ticketmaster.co.uk/hamilton

Oklahoma, Circle in the Square, Broadway, New York From March

It’s got to be a special show that entices people to travel, especially to New York, with Hamilton and Bruce Springsteen on Broadway perhaps the most notable recent examples of destination shows.

However, if you find yourself in the Big Apple and in the mood for a show, first port of call should be the TKTS booth in Times Square which sells heavily discounted tickets on the day.

One that’s creating a buzz Stateside at the moment is an acclaimed ‘dark and revisionist’ take on Oklahoma, transferring from Brooklyn’s St Ann’s Warehouse to Broadway in the spring.

The King and I, Bord Gais Energy Theatre, May 21-Jun 1

Loaded with school concert classics such as ‘Whistle a Happy Tune’, ‘Getting to Know You’ and ‘Shall We Dance’, and cemented in collective memory thanks to the film starring Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr as the title characters, The King and I is one of the greatest musicals ever made.

This critically acclaimed Broadway revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic comes to Dublin from a record-breaking season at the London Palladium.

Accompanied by a full orchestra, this lavish revival is sure to be a treat for the senses.

bordgaisenergytheatre.ie

Cabaret Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Oct 1-5

Escape into the decadent milieu of the Kit Kat Club with Sally Bowles, one of the most iconic female characters in the history of musicals, a role memorably played on stage and screen by Liza Minelli.

The Kander and Ebb classic has been imprinted on the cultural consciousness since its Broadway debut over 50 years ago.

This revival from Britain’s National Theatre has enjoyed two smash hit West End runs and its portrayal of 1930s Berlin remains as fresh and relevant as ever.

Expect impressive choreography, dazzling costumes and timeless numbers including ‘Money Makes The World Go Round’ and ‘Cabaret’.

bordgaisenergytheatre.ie

Last Orders at The Dockside, Abbey Theatre, Dublin, October

Described as a play with music, this is one of the few new compositions to feature on this list. Staged by the Abbey’s as part of the 2019 Dublin Theatre Festival, and written by Dermot Bolger as a special commission by Dublin Port Company, it centres on a group of friends who gather in a local pub to celebrate the life of an elderly docker.

Abbey director Graham McLaren is at the helm, and if his exuberant production of Jimmy’s Hall is anything to go by, this should be worth watching. Exact dates and ticket details to be confirmed.

abbeytheatre.ie

We Will Rock You, Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Oct 28- Nov 2

The success of the recent Bohemian Rhapsody movie only underlined the huge appetite for the music of Freddie Mercury and Queen, as reflected in thecontinuing success of this musical inspired by their hits.

With a book by Ben Elton (it might explain why the comedian doesn’t need to earn his crust on TV any more) more than 16 million people have seen the production since it began in 2002.

Audiences can’t get enough of Queen’s biggest hits delivered in a show that aims to match the scale and spectacle of the band’s legendary live performances.

bordgaisenergytheatre.ie

Dear Evan Hansen, Noël Coward Theatre, London, autumn

Described as “a gut-punching, breathtaking knockout of a musical” by the New York Times, this story of a high school student who finds himself the centre of attention when a lie gets out of control struck a huge chord with Broadway audiences, and featured a standout performance from Pitch Perfect star Ben Platt.

Details yet to be announced but you can sign up for early access at dearevanhansen.com/london

Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Musical, SSE Arena, Belfast, Nov 22-24, 3 Arena, Dublin, Dec 13-15

The television show tends to divide opinion, but no-one can deny Brendan O’Carroll’s achievement in making Mrs Brown a cultural phenomenon.

Now the innuendo-loving Dublin matriarch and her boys are embarking on a musical adventure in arenas in Ireland and Britain.


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