24 shows to see on Liverpool stages in 2024
A new year always brings a wealth of new productions to Liverpool theatres, and 2024 is no different.
It’s a cliché to say there’s ‘something for everyone’, but from big, all-singing, all-dancing musical spectaculars to intriguing stage plays, from old favourites to first time visits, and from comedies to dark dramas and ghost stories, it really is true over the next 12 months.
There are West End smash hits like Pretty Woman, Come From Away and Life of Pi at the Empire, and homegrown audience-pleasers like Haunted Scouse at the Royal Court, classics like Abigail’s Party at the Hope Street Theatre, and stage celebrations of TV favourites like Drop the Dead Donkey and Peaky Blinders.
Meanwhile the Liverpool Everyman is celebrating its 60th birthday with a special programme of new ‘homegrown’ productions.
So whether you like to laugh, cry, clap along or be frightened out of your skin, it’s looking like it’s going to be a bumper year.
Here are 24 shows to look out for on Liverpool stages across 2024.
Pretty Woman – Liverpool Empire
January 23-February 3
Fans of Pretty Woman are set to enjoy a happy start to the new year with the West End musical version of the 1990 Hollywood romcom spending 12 days at the Liverpool Empire.
The musical features original music and lyrics by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance and is directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell.
Amber Davies stars as Vivian Ward, Oliver Savile plays Edward Lewis, Ore Oduba is Mr Thompson/Happy Man, and Natalie Paris appears as Kit de Luca.
Expect a big night out. Huge.
I Am Steven Gerrard – Hope Street Theatre
It’s Liverpool. The Champion’s League Final in Istanbul was 13 years ago. The buzz is still rife. The obsession is still real. Steven Gerrard has left Liverpool Football Club, but his legacy keeps on growing; a legacy that Shane wants to embody and emulate.
Though Shane shares an ambition no different to many of those around him, it soon transpires that he yearns for something far beyond football. And in a city where ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is the mantra, why does Shane constantly feel like he’s the only one on the sideline?
Tip Tree Theatre’s I Am Steven Gerrard written by Sean Mcloughlin and starring Joe Cowin - is an award-winning one-man play which explores the complexities of masculinity.
Blood Brothers – Floral Pavilion
Fans of Willy Russell’s classic musical tale of nurture verses nature will be happy to see it return to a ‘home’ stage for 2024.
Blood Brothers may have been premiered at the Liverpool Playhouse (all the way back in 1983) but it’s the late Bill Kenwright who really championed it and made it the long-running smash hit it is today – and it remains a fitting tribute to the Liverpool-born impresario who passed away last October.
With a score including the songs Bright New Day, Marilyn Monroe and of course the anthemic Tell Me It’s Not True, and a story to make you cheer and cry, there’s surely no better night out at the theatre?
Haunted Scouse – Royal Court
February 9-March 9
Love, life - and the afterlife - are at the heart of Gerry Linford’s new comedy being premiered at the Royal Court in February.
Charlie Moon is sadly missed, and it’shis widow Mollie who is doing most of the missing. She feels guilty about his passing, and wishes he was still here….and her wish is about to come true with the ghost of her husband stalking the halls of their old house on the anniversary of his death.
Trapped in limbo with only his Auntie Peggy for support, Charlie needs to try and solve the mystery of what happened to him.
The show stars real-life husband and wife Michael Starke and Lynn Francis and is directed by Emma Bird.
Abigail’s Party – Hope Street Theatre
Steven Arnold (Ashley Peacock in Corrie) stars in this new stage version of Mike Leigh’s classic comedy coming to the Hope Street Theatre for four nights.
It’s April 1977, Abba are number one in the charts, Red Rum has just won the Grand National for a third time, the Queen is celebrating her Silver Jubilee year, and 15-year-old Abigail Lawson is holding a party.
To avoid the angst, Abigail’s mum takes refuge with her neighbours Beverly and Laurence – but as the gin and tonics flow, the goodwill turns to quarrels and chaos.
Do YOU like Demis Roussos?
Edward Scissorhands – Liverpool Empire
Sir Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures company makes its now annual visit to the Empire, bringing with it the magical and poignant tale of Edward Scissorhands which last enchanted Liverpool audiences a decade ago.
Based on the classic Tim Burton movie and featuring the haunting music of Danny Elfman and Terry Davies, Edward Scissorhands is the witty, bittersweet story of an incomplete boy left alone in a strange new world.
Unless you’ve got a heart as hard as steel, you’ll want to bring a hankie.
Unfortunate: The Untold Story of Ursula the Sea Witch – Liverpool Playhouse
This musical parody promises to have Playhouse audiences laughing out loud when it arrives in Williamson Square in March.
Join everyone’s favourite Disney diva, Ursula, as she gives her take on what REALLY happened all those years ago under the sea. Expect a ‘hot pop’ soundtrack and some dirty humour along the way.
The show stars Shawna Hamic as Ursula and River Medway as Ariel.
Richard, My Richard – Shakespeare North Playhouse
Queen of the historical novel Philippa Gregory makes her stage writing debut with this ‘passionate, tender portrait’ of Richard III in a Shakespeare North Playhouse co-production.
With an explosion of tarmac, a Leicester city car park erupts and Richard III crashes from his lost tomb to meet the character who has ruined his reputation: History, the record keeper who doesn’t always have his mind on the task.
Richard believes he has risen from the grave to heaven with an unstained conscience, and the awkward task falls to History to tell the undead king that all is not as he imagines.
As Richard challenges, History admits he has his own doubts. He is often revered as the bearer of truth, yet his perspective is skewed – History overlooks people and stories.
Come From Away – Liverpool Empire
Smash hit stage show Come From Away is based on the incredible true story of the tiny Newfoundland town of Gander which was a refuge for dozens of flights in the aftermath of the Twin Towers attacks of September 2001.
The life-affirming Olivier and Tony Award-winning musical – a celebration of hope, humanity and unity - highlights how the tiny Newfoundland community welcomed these ‘come from aways’ and how enduring friendships blossomed in the wake of the tragedy.
A dozen actors play 84 characters, from the quick-thinking town mayor to American Airlines’ first female pilot to the mother of a New York firefighter.
Come Together – Royal Court
March 15-April 6
From Come From Away to Come Together which returns to the Royal Court stage after a hugely successful run in 2023.
Half-gig, half-stage show, the celebration of all things John Lennon and Paul McCartney stars actor-musicians Mark Newnham and Tom Connor as the stellar songwriting partnership.
The intimate show is like spending a night with the Liverpool writing duo themselves, with songs from Love Me Do to Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds (and beyond) played live on stage.
My Beautiful Launderette – Liverpool Playhouse
Hanif Kureshi adapted his own Oscar-nominated screenplay to create this stage version of the charming 1984 British film My Beautiful Launderette, coming to the Liverpool Playhouse ahead of Easter.
Set in London during the Thatcher years, My Beautiful Launderette tells the story of young British Pakistani, Omar, who transforms his uncle’s run-down laundrette into a thriving business.
After being confronted by a fascist gang, Omar recognises school friend Johnny and uses their history to diffuse the situation. As they renovate the laundrette together, love blossoms between them.
The play also features original music by the Pet Shop Boys.
2:22 A Ghost Story – Liverpool Empire
Danny Robins’ edge-of-your-seat supernatural thriller 2:22 makes its Liverpool debut as part of a UK tour.
Jenny believes her new home is haunted, but her husband Sam isn’t having any of it. They argue with their first dinner guests, old friend Lauren and new partner Ben.
Can the dead really walk again? Belief and scepticism clash, but something feels strange and frightening, and that something is getting closer, so they’re going to stay up... until 2:22... and then they’ll know.
The show stars Vera Chok, Jay McGuiness, George Rainsford and Fiona Wade.
I Should Be So Lucky – Liverpool Empire
Stock Aitken Waterman’s famous hit factory provides the music, and Debbie Isitt provides the story in the world premiere of this feelgood new jukebox musical which takes audiences back to the time of pouf dresses and cropped jackets.
Ella and Nathan are a star-crossed couple with wedding jitters and tropical dreams. Will their love sail smoothly or are stormy break ups ahead? Only time will tell.
The show has choreography by Strictly’s Jason Gilkison and features 40 fantastic hits including 10 number ones.
The Legend of Ned Ludd – Liverpool Everyman
April 20-May 11
Writer Joe Ward Munrow’s audacious new play receives its world premiere at the Everyman at the start of the Hope Street theatre’s 60th anniversary celebrations which are anchored in three new ‘homegrown’ productions.
Machines can make our work easier. They can also make it vanish overnight. The Legend of Ned Ludd is a play about work, automation and capitalism’s impact – a weaving of stories from around the world in which we’re all at the mercy of The Machine. Because there’s a Machine at the heart of this play, and it has the power to choose. With 256 possible versions written, rehearsed and ready to perform, The Machine will select what you see – live, on the night, right in front of your eyes. From the Luddites’ 19th Century war against new technology through to London, Liverpool, Lagos and beyond – or wherever The Machine decides – The Legend of Ned Ludd will take audiences on a whirlwind global commute.
The Kite Runner – Liverpool Playhouse
The Kite Runner returns to Liverpool Playhouse for 2024 and after a triumphant run on Broadway.
Based on Khaled Hosseini’s international bestselling novel, this haunting tale of friendship spans cultures and continents and follows one man’s journey to confront his past and find redemption.
Afghanistan is a country on the verge of war and best friends are about to be torn apart. It’s a beautiful afternoon in Kabul, the skies are full of colour and the streets are full of the excitement of a kite flying tournament, but no one can foresee the terrible incident that will shatter their lives forever.
Life of Pi – Liverpool Empire
April 30-May 4
Based on Yann Martel’s 2001 Man Booker Prize-winning bestseller, the award garlanded West End and Broadway hit Life of Pi has been hailed a ‘theatrical phenomenon’.
The show now comes to Liverpool as part of its first UK tour, promising an evening of epic adventure and spectacle taking in jaw-dropping visuals and puppetry.
After a huge storm in the Pacific, Pi is stranded in a lifeboat with four other occupants – a hyena, zebra, orangutan and a Royal Bengal tiger.
Drop the Dead Donkey the Reawakening – Liverpool Playhouse
Fans of the team at GlobeLink News will be snapping up tickets for this touring stage version of the Channel 4 cult hit TV comedy.
Many of the sitcom’s original cast are set to return to their roles, more than 30 years after they first entertained the viewing public with their newsroom shenanigans.
They include Robert Duncan (Gus), Neil Pearson (Dave), Susannah Doyle (Joy) and Stephen Tomkinson’s reporter Damian Day, in a stage version of the award-winning series penned by its writing team Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin.
Tell Me How it Ends – Liverpool Everyman
Liverpool 1987. The AIDS generation threatens a generation left with no one to turn to but themselves.
Across the world, groups of lesbians hold out their hands to help – and here in the city, Aster sits by Marc’s hospital bed, watching, wondering and reading.
Tasha Dowd’s award-winning “joyous and uplifting journey through bedrooms and nightclubs, bad oysters, surprises and secrets” is directed by Gitika Buttoo and forms part of the Everyman at 60 season.
Wicked – Liverpool Empire
June 20-July 14
Something Wicked this way comes for 2024 – the return to Liverpool of the multi award-winning musical which imagines the story of the Wizard of Oz’s two witches BEFORE Dorothy arrived on the Yellow Brick Road.
Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, Wicked reveals the magic that shaped the destinies of two unlikely friends on their remarkable journey to becoming Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.
The book comes from Winnie Holtzman and the music (including the anthemic Defying Gravity) from Stephen Schwartz, while Tony Award winner Joe Mantello directs.
Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Thomas Shelby – Liverpool Empire
Those Peaky Blinders are returning to Liverpool – this time in an acclaimed dance-theatre production which is set to come to the Empire in September.
Rambert presents Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Thomas Shelby, with writer Steven Knight bringing his screen characters - led by Tommy Shelby - to the stage in what is billed as a ‘thrilling adaptation’, choreographed and directed by Rambert’s artistic director Benoit Swan Pouffer.
The Lieutenant of Inishmore – Liverpool Everyman
September 21-October 12
Martin McDonough’s shocking, savage and searingly funny Olivier Award-winning black comedy will be staged at the Liverpool Everyman in a new ‘homegrown’ production.
Cardboard Citizens’ Chris Sonnex directs the play which mixes cats, killers and casual violence in one memorable night at the theatre.
Padraic is mad, everyone knows that. They don’t call him ‘mad Padriac’ for nothing after all. And maybe, just maybe, if you’d killed his beloved cat you wouldn’t want him turning up at your door.
101 Dalmatians – Liverpool Empire
From cats to dogs…101 of them to be exact.
When fashionista Cruela de Vil threatens to swipe all the Dalmatian puppies in town to make her new fur coat, there’s trouble ahead for Pongo, Perdi and their adorable litter of pups.
This family favourite canine caper is brought to life on stage with spectacular puppetry, show-stopping choreography, witty songs and irresistible puppies.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – Liverpool Empire
The fantasmagorical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang flies in to Liverpool to entertain Empire audiences in autumn 2024, promising a truly scrumptious night out at the theatre.
Based on Ian Fleming’s timeless story for children, the show features a host of unforgettable Sherman Brothers’ classics including Hushabye Mountain, Toot Sweets and the title song.
Absent minded inventor Caractacus Potts (Adam Garcia) restores a broken down old racing car with the help of his children Jemima and Jeremy, before embarking on an adventure to far off lands with the delectable Truly Scrumptious.
& Juliet – Liverpool Empire
October 28-November 2
Irreverent West End hit musical & Juliet embarks on its first UK tour with a stop at the Liverpool Empire in autumn 2024.
When it comes to love, it appears there’s always life after Romeo.
Join Juliet on a journey of self-discovery and second chances, told through a soundtrack of top pop anthems from the last three decades composed by songwriter Max Martin.
Not recognise the name? You’ll certainly recognise his songs – from Baby One More Time to Since U Been Gone, and Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) to Roar.