Spotlight on Spring: Must-See West End Shows

By Alex Kingston

Saturday 24th February 2024

We are less than two months into the new year, and yet over a dozen new shows have already opened in London’s West End! A series of lavish new productions have taken theatreland by storm, including (but certainly not limited to) Hadestown, Standing at the Sky’s Edge, and An Enemy of the People. As we move into Spring, the expansive roster of shows is set to increase even further, with several new musicals and plays making their London debut. For those seeking guidance on which shows to see during the busy Spring season, take a look at our comprehensive guide below!

Harry Clarke

Harry Clarke is a dazzling one-man play, with Emmy-Award-winning actor Billy Cudrup single-handedly portraying 19 characters. The show depicts an American barista who starts a new life for himself under the guise of ‘Harry Clarke’. Shedding his previous identity, Clarke tries to fool the world into thinking that he is British, and that he serves as the representative for a famous music artist. Will he succeed in this endeavour? Only time will tell! Cudrup has been known for a variety of high-profile roles throughout his career and has recently earned acclaim for his role in the hit drama The Morning Show. Harry Clarke marks Cudrup’s West End debut, so this is certainly not to be missed!

Tickets for Harry Clarke can be bought for £30 here:

Sister Act

Following a triumphant UK tour, Sister Act is returning to London’s West End this Spring! Based on the hit film of the 90s, this feel-good musical follows Deloris Van Cartier, an aspiring singer who unexpectedly finds herself seeking refuge in a convent. She makes the most of the hand she is dealt, however, and sets out on a mission to lead the convent’s choir. This production previously played at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, where it received rave reviews and earned a nomination for Best Musical Revival at the Olivier Awards. It subsequently toured the country, but it is now returning to its rightful home in London’s West End. Award-winning singer and actress Beverley Knight is returning to reprise her role as Deloris for a strictly limited season before X Factor winner Alexandra Burke takes over in the Summer.

Tickets for Sister Act can be bought from £24 here:

Long Day’s Journey into Night

Among the most highly anticipated plays this year is the star-studded revival of Long Day’s Journey into Night. This iconic drama by Eugeune O’Neill, first premiered in 1956, and is often considered one of the greatest plays ever written. Tackling a number of important themes, it explores a dysfunctional family and how they co-exist with one another amidst simmering tension. This production has drawn a great deal of excitement due to the involvement of Brian Cox, who is assuming the lead role of James Tyrone, Sr. With a long career stemming back to 1961, Cox is often recognised for his role on the satirical black comedy-drama Succession, for which he received a Golden Globe Award. He is joined onstage by other renowned stars of stage and screen, including Patricia Clarkson and Louisa Harland.

Tickets for Long Day’s Journey into Night can be bought from £25 here:

Player Kings

Embracing his next theatrical challenge, Ian McKellen will be starring in Player Kings starting in April! This production is an exciting new adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, written and directed by Robert Icke. A thrilling tale of division, leadership, and the evils of corruption, this is a show which is destined to have people on the edge of their seats. Icke previously performed a similar feat of skilful adaptation with his production of Oresteia, for which he received the Olivier Award for Best Director. With both Icke and McKellen collaborating on this show, it is bound to be one of the most memorable productions of the Spring. The cast is rounded out by Toheeb Jimoh and Richard Coyle, further adding to people’s already high expectations for this rare theatrical event!

Tickets for Player Kings can be bought from £32 here:

Opening Night

Opening Night is a brand-new musical, preparing to have its world premiere at the Gielgud Theatre this upcoming Spring. Based on the 1970s psychological drama, the musical takes place amidst the opening night of a new Broadway show. The entire production is plunged into chaos however when the leading lady is struck with grief, forcing the rest of the company to rally together and fight the uncertainty head-on. The show will feature an entirely original musical score, with music and lyrics by award-winning singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright. Wainwright has had an extensive career in the music industry, so fans are eager to see him break into the world of musical theatre. In creating this new show, he joined forces with Olivier Award-winning director Ivo van Hove – the mastermind behind numerous West End hits of recent years.

Tickets for Opening Night can be bought from £24 here:

MJ the Musical

Transferring straight from Broadway, MJ is a show that just wants to ‘rock with you’! One of London’s most anticipated musicals, MJ gives audiences an exclusive behind-the-scenes look into the life of pop legend Michael Jackson. Set amidst rehearsals for his Dangerous World Tour, it details Jackson’s creative process, while simultaneously providing insight into his personal character. MJ features over 25 of the Michael Jackson’s greatest hits, unleashing a wave of nostalgia upon its audience. Including records such as ‘Billie Jean’, ‘I’ll Be There’, and ‘Beat It’, this is a must-see for all Moonwalkers! Performing as the King of Pop is Myles Frost, who previously originated the role on Broadway. Frost won a Tony Award for his flawless portrayal of Jackson, and will now bring his legendary dance moves to the London stage!

Tickets for MJ the Musical can be bought from £23 here:

Romeo and Juliet

Rounding out this list is the brand-new production of Romeo and Juliet, starring one of Hollywood’s most famous leading men – Tom Holland! Romeo and Juliet is a tale as old as time, often considered one of theatre’s greatest love stories. There have been countless revivals of this old classic throughout theatre history, but none quite like this. Holland is an international superstar, having earnt global fame for his portrayal of Spider-Man in the most recent Marvel movies. This is Holland’s first stage role in over a decade, so fans are beyond excited to see him make his triumphant return to the West End. For this production, he is collaborating with Olivier Award-winning director Jamie Lloyd. Lloyd’s name will be recognisable to audiences for having recently directed Sunset Boulevard, for which he received critical praise and numerous awards. There can be no doubt that Holland and Lloyd’s talents combined will create pure theatrical magic!