From big-budget musicals and classic comedies to exciting new dramas, an incredible variety of shows is coming to theatres around the UK in 2020. Mark Ludmon looks at some of the touring musicals headed your way.
For fans of musicals, highlights include My Best Friend’s Wedding, one of the biggest new touring musicals taking to the stage in 2020. Based on the 90s film and drawing on the back catalogue of legendary songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David, it has a book by Jonathan Harvey, writer of Beautiful Thing and Gimme Gimme Gimme, and the film’s creator, Ronald Bass, and will star Alexandra Burke. But you have to wait until 16 September when it premieres at Plymouth Theatre Royal ahead of its UK and Ireland tour.
This year also sees the original production of The Phantom of the Opera set off on tour around the UK and Ireland, with a cast led by Killian Donnelly, Holly-Anne Hull and Rhys Whitfield. It opens at Curve, Leicester, running from 22 February to 21 March.
After two successful runs in London, Heathers The Musical – based on the cult 1988 film – goes on tour in 2020. With an original rock-style score, it kicks off at Windsor Theatre Royal on 13 May.
The new production of Once the musical, the award-winning Broadway and West End hit, has just embarked on its first UK tour, running at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls until 11 January. Starring Daniel Healy and Emma Lucia, it has been reinvented by a team led by director Peter Rowe.
In less than two years, Six the musical has become an unstoppable beast, playing not just in London but internationally. The story of Henry VIII’s six wives told from their perspective, with an infectious original pop score, continues to take the UK by storm in 2020 with 28 venues already confirmed. Another six-strong female cast also continues to blast away at Jane Austen’s characters and stories in the touring version of comedy Pride and Prejudice* (*Sort Of), a sort-of musical drawing on pop hits.
After success at Edinburgh Fringe in 2019, Friendsical returns in an updated version with an eight-strong cast. The parody musical, inspired by TV show Friends, features songs such as (He’s Her) Lobster! and You’re Over Me, When Were You Under Me?. The 2020 tour starts at Churchill Theatre in Bromley where it runs from 20 to 22 February.
After a short tour in 2019, Bat Out Of Hell, based on the best-selling album by Meat Loaf, returns to touring this autumn, starting at Manchester Opera House on 10 September. Another rock ‘n’ roll hit, We Will Rock You, based on Queen’s music, also continues to tour, with 25 venues lined up for 2020.
If Miami Sound Machine is more your beat, the Gloria Estefan musical, On Your Feet, will be getting more audiences on their feet in the first half of this year while there are plenty more dates to come for Birmingham Stage Company’s production of David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy The Musical. Also look out for ongoing tours for other musicals such as Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Curtains.
Dreamgirls will also undertake its first UK Tour in 2020, whilst The Book Of Mormon, The Lion King and The King and I continue their smash-hit tours and Beautiful The Carole King Musical has announced its return in 2020.