With the throngs of Broadway still shouting along to “Revolting Children” from Matilda the Musical at the Shubert Theater, it’s no surprise that the 2014 Broadway lineup includes many successful West End transfers. Something about the way the British put on a show seems to work over here in the states, and the upcoming medley of plays and musicals will surely have theatergoers excited about what is to come in these next few months.
Les Miserables, one of the most well-known musicals of all time, is making its very anticipated second Broadway revival this March at the Imperial Theater. It first made its West End transfer in 1987 with Colm Wilkinson and Frances Ruffelle reprising their roles from the London production. The transfer to Broadway actually inspired some changes to the show including an edit to the sewer scene and an added affect to Javert’s suicide. The show went on to run for sixteen years becoming the second longest running musical after Cats (also a West End transfer) until Phantom of the Opera passed it up in 2006. With cast announcements including Ramin Karimloo, Will Swenson, Caissie Levy, Nikki M. James, and even Andy Mientus making his Broadway debut as Marius, this classic is sure to be a competitor in the awards season and in ticket sales.
Daniel Radcliffe is also making a return to Broadway this season with his new play The Cripple of Inishmaan. Radcliffe stunned fans, when he starred in Equus and even sang and danced in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. He has surely proved that there is more to him than his lightning scar. And now, in The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh, he’s tackling a new story about a young cripple named Billy who wants nothing more than to star in a Hollywood movie that’s being filmed on the neighboring Island of Inishmore.
The West End’s specialty seems to be plays these days because along with The Cripple of Inishmaan, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and a new version of Macbeth will grace the Broadway stages this year as well. Curious Incident is adapted from Mark Haddon’s acclaimed novel, and follows Christopher who, although good at math, has trouble dealing with everyday life. After he is accused of killing his neighbor’s dog, he sets out to solve the crime with his own detective work. The show won seven Olivier awards and is set to debut on Broadway in the fall of this year. The latter, Macbeth, starring James McAvoy and Claire Foy debuted at Trafalgar Studios in February of 2013, and rumor has it that Patrick Stewart, who has played Macbeth many times before, wants to bring it to Broadway. There was even a production at the Manchester Fringe Festival starring Kenneth Branagh and Alex Kingston that is set to come to the states at the Park Avenue Armory this summer. Whatever stage production of Macbeth that comes about, Shakespeare revivals from the West End are never a bad thing to have!
Even though Broadway is a fully American invention, one can’t help but anticipate the exciting West End transfers to come this season, and with the proven success of past productions, who knows what accolades this season will bring!
Photo via BBC