A new breed of musicals has entered in London’s West End recently, from the original Mamma Mia to the most popular, Shrek – The Musical. Films that you would never have thought could be made into a theatre production are having thousands of pounds of money thrown at them in an attempt to get customers out of the cinemas and into the stalls. Gone are stuffy Shakespearean plays and dreary art house shows, in this economic climate, nowadays, we the public want to see a replica of our favourite film up there on the stage. So we have picked the best shows currently playing to sold our audiences for your perusal.
First up – Ghost – The Musical. Running at the Piccadilly Theatre from 24th June, this show encapsulates the original film beautifully which starred Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Tony Goldwyn and Whoopi Goldberg and was directed by Jerry Zucker. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Film of 1990 and went on to win numerous awards worldwide including an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and Whoopi Goldberg won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. It is still one of the biggest grossing films in the UK. Ghost is essentially a love story and centres around the mugging of Sam and Molly which leaves Sam murdered on a dark street. Sam realises that Molly is in grave danger and stays in this world as a ghost to help her. He communicates with Molly with the help of a phony psychic, Oda Mae Brown, in the hope of saving and protecting her. Ghost The Musical is directed by Matthew Warchus, stars Richard Fleeshman from Coronation Street and tickets are available from ghostthemusical.com from £25 to £65.
Shrek actually began his life as a book written by William Steig. He was brought to the cinemas by Dreamworks and so far there have been four Shrek movies including the original and Shrek Forever After. The Musical stars Amanda Holden as Princess Fiona, Nigel Lindsay as Shrek, Richard Blackwood as his loyal steed Donkey and Nigel Harman who spends all of the show on his knees as he plays the diminutive Lord Farquaad. Shrek is tasked with rescuing Princess Fiona from the tower which is guarded by a fire breathing love-sick dragon. Throw in a gang of fairy-tale misfits, and a biscuit with attitude, you’ve got this year’s must see new musical comedy. The musical brings all these beloved characters to life with singing and dancing routines guaranteed to have you laughing along with the actors on stage. Tickets available from shrekthemusical.co.uk and are priced at £20 to £65 and it is showing at the Theatre Royal at Drury Lane London from now until 19th February 2012
I’m not sure which came first with Mamma Mia, the movie, the book or the musical. Even so, all of them are highly successful and the theatre production is no exception. The writer of Mamma Mia – Catherine Johnson, sets the sunny tale on a Greek island paradise. On the day before her wedding, a daughter endeavours to find out the identity of her father, which to her mothers dismay, brings three men from her mother’s distant past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago. Located at London’s Prince of Wales Theatre, the show includes all the famous scenes from the film and of course, features all of the ABBA songs that made it so popular. Tickets available from mamma-mia.com and are priced from £20 to £65 with some premium seats available. Stars include Sophie Sheridan and Harriet Thorpe.