Magical musicals coming to Liverpool in 2020
Musicals fans are in for a treat with an all-singing, all-dancing abundance of top shows heading Liverpool’s way in 2020.
Never mind sitting in your seat – you’ll be on your feet at some of the productions coming to a theatre near you over the next 12 months.
From Liverpool premieres like the hotly anticipated Book of Mormon, Bat Out of Hell, Once, and the aptly titled On Your Feet! to old favourites like Grease and Mamma Mia, it’s a real triple threat of a season.
There are also returns for Carole King musical Beautiful, Cabaret, We Will Rock You and Hairspray.
Liverpool Playhouse welcomes the feisty Tudor queens of SIX the Musical, while the redoubtable Delta Nu queen Elle Woods struts her pink-heeled stuff at LIPA, and the bad girls of Heathers the Musical arrive at the Empire in June.
Add in the sumptuous, multi award-winning Lincoln Center revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I and the West End smash hit Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and it’s certainly a year to look forward to.
Here’s my pick of the musicals heading our way.
On Your Feet! – Liverpool Empire
The true love story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan makes its first visit to Liverpool.
On Your Feet charts their journey from its origins in Cuba, on to the streets of Miami and finally to international superstardom and features some of the most iconic pops songs of the era, including Rhythm is Gonna Get You, Conga, Get On Your Feet, Don’t Want To Lose You and 1-2-3.
The show is directed by two-time Tony Award® winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde) and stars Philippa Stefani as Gloria and George Ioannides as Emilio Estefan.
SIX the Musical – Liverpool Playhouse
From Tudor queens to pop princesses, the three Catherines, two Annes and a Jane finally take to the mic to tell their tales, remixing 500 years of historical heartbreak in to an 80-minute celebration of 21st century girl power.
The Olivier Award-nominated musical presented as a pop concert and penned by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, was premiered by Cambridge University students at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017 and has gone on to prove a West End hit.
The King and I – Liverpool Empire
The critically acclaimed Lincoln Center production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s much-loved musical enchanted audiences at the London Palladium and now arrives in Lime Street this spring.
The King and I has one of the finest scores ever written including Whistle a Happy Tune, Getting to Know You, and Shall We Dance.
And this lavish touring production should look right at home on the huge Empire stage as it features a company of more than 50 world-class performers and a full-scale orchestra.
We Will Rock You – Liverpool Empire
March 30-April 4
It’s back to rock the Empire with some of Queen’s greatest hits, woven in to a brilliantly bombastic dystopian tale by Ben Elton.
We Will Rock You is set in a homogenous future world where musical instruments are forbidden and tells the story of a group of Bohemians who struggle to restore the free exchange of thought, fashion, and live music.
The show features classics including Bohemian Rhapsody, Killer Queen, Flash, Seven Seas of Rhye, I Want to Break Free and the titular We Will Rock You.
Cabaret – Liverpool Empire
Life is a cabaret at the Empire as this well-received touring version of Kander and Ebb’s musical, directed by Rufus Norris, comes to Lime Street.
The dark world of Bohemian Berlin is recreated in thrilling - and chilling – fashion as Sally Bowles (Kara Lily Hayworth – who played Cilla on the Empire stage in 2017) performs at the legendary Kit Kat Klub.
The cast also includes EastEnders’ John Patridge as the Emcee and Anita Harris as Fraulein Schneider.
Mamma Mia! – Liverpool Empire
April 28-May 9
Mamma Mia! Here they go again…my my. The Abba-tastic effervescent musical returns to Liverpool for 2020 with a full complement of dancing queens.
The sunny, funny tale of a mother, a daughter and three possible dads unfolding on a Greek island idyll has been seen by more than 65 million people in 50 productions in 16 different languages. In 2011 it became the first Western musical ever to be staged in Mandarin in the People’s Republic of China.
The musical, written by Catherine Johnson and which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary, includes a host of massive hits like Money Money Money, SOS, Knowing Me, Knowing You and Voulez-Vous.
Legally Blonde – LIPA
April 30- May 2
LIPA’s talented actors take on hit musical Legally Blonde at the institute’s Paul McCartney Auditorium.
West Coast Sorority queen Elle Woods heads East with her chihuahua Bruiser to join Harvard Law School and win back her sweetheart Warner Huntingdon III – who dumped her because she wasn’t serious enough.
Once there, she overcomes hostility and mockery from her peers and professors as she starts to realise her potential and plays a crucial role in a high-profile murder case.
Based on the 2001 comedy film, Legally Blonde is a feel-good musical and underdog story of self-discovery, self-belief and the power of self-determination.
Heathers the Musical - Liverpool Empire
The black comedy rock musical, based on the 1988 film starring Winona Ryder, comes to Liverpool after two record-breaking London seasons.
Welcome to Westerberg High, where Veronica Sawyer is just another of the nobodies dreaming of a better day.
But when she’s unexpectedly taken under the wings of the three beautiful and impossibly cruel Heathers, her dreams of popularity finally start to come true.
Until JD turns up, the mysterious teen rebel who teaches her that it might kill to be a nobody, but it is murder to be a somebody.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – Liverpool Empire
The award-winning feelgood musical will star Layton Williams - currently strutting his stuff on the London stage – and Shane Richie when it comes to the Empire in June.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie tells the story of 16-year-old Jamie New who lives on a council estate but doesn’t quite fit in.
Supported by his loving mum and surrounded by his friends, Jamie overcomes prejudice, beats the bullies and steps out of the darkness, into the spotlight.
Grease – Liverpool Empire
June 29-July 4
Grease is promising some memorable summer nights at the Empire this June.
A new staging of the girl-meets-boy classic, choreographed by Arlene Phillips, stars Dan Partridge as Danny Zuko and includes hit numbers like Greased Lightning, You’re the One That I Want and Hopelessly Devoted to You.
Grease originally opened in Chicago in 1971, followed by a move to Broadway in 1972 where it received seven Tony Award nominations, including one for Best Musical.
The 1978 film adaptation starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John is the fourth highest-grossing live action musical of all time.
The Book of Mormon – Liverpool Empire
July 14-August 8
The multi-award winning show, from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, together with Robert Lopez, comes to Liverpool for the first time.
The Book of Mormon follows a pair of Mormon boys sent on a mission to a place that’s a long way from their home in Salt Lake City.
Since its world premiere at New York’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre in 2011, the musical has been performed on three continents and won more than 30 international accolades – including four Oliviers - as well as nine Tony Awards.
Hairspray – Liverpool Empire
Good morning Baltimore! It may be 2020, but on stage it’s 1962 and Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, is on a mission to follow her dreams and dance her way onto national TV.
Tracy’s audition makes her a local star and soon she is using her new-found fame to fight for equality, bagging local heartthrob Link Larkin along the way!
The show may be bubblegum bright with an irresistible soundtrack, but it also shines a light on prejudice in its many forms.
Bat Out of Hell – Liverpool Empire
December 8-January 2 2021
This award-winning musical driven by some of Meat Loaf’s greatest hits will take to the stage at the Empire for Christmas 2020.
With book, lyrics and music by the award-winning Jim Steinman, Bat Out of Hell tells an epic story of rebellious youth and passion as Strat, the immortal leader of The Lost, has fallen in love with Raven, the beautiful daughter of the tyrannical ruler Falco.
It features tracks including You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth, Bat Out Of Hell, I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) and Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad, as well as two previously unreleased songs, What Part of My Body Hurts the Most and Not Allowed to Love.