Musicals heading for the Liverpool Empire in 2022
We’re all in need of a night (or a matinee) where we can simply forget our worries and be happy.
And what better distraction from the grey, pandemic world around us than to immerse ourselves in the Technicolor world of musicals for an hour or two?
The UK is rich with triple threat talent and the range of all-singing, all-dancing shows being produced is a bright light in what has been a dark time.
There’s a bumper programme of shows currently heading for the capacious Liverpool Empire stage this year.
Some – like Chicago and Mamma Mia! - are old favourites, some are either completely new or are paying their first visit to the city, but all guarantee a great time.
Here’s my pick of musicals heading for the Lime Street theatre during 2022. Subject to the usual Covid caveat of course.
Chicago – February 7-12
Russell ‘the Voice’ Watson is ready to give it the old razzle dazzle as Billy Flynn while Corrie’s Faye Brookes plays Roxie Hart in this new touring production of Chicago.
If you’re looking for murder, greed, corruption, exploitation, adultery and treachery along with fantastic Bob Fosse choreography and some of the best musicals’ numbers out there, you won’t want to miss it.
West End star Djalenga Scott plays killer diller showgirl Velma Kelly.
The Addams Family – March 8-12
The much-postponed The Addams Family finally hits the Empire stage (fingers crossed) in March – albeit with a new Morticia in the form of Strictly Pro-turned-musicals star Joanne Clifton.
Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and has a shocking secret that only Gomez knows; she’s fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family.
Now, Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before — keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia.
Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” boyfriend and his parents.
Mamma Mia! – March 29-April 9
Here they go again, my my, how can we resist it?
The ABBA-tastic smash hit tale of love, friendship and identity, set on a Greek island, is packed with the Swedish pop legends’ most famous tunes including Dancing Queen, SOS, Money Money Money, Thank You For the Music, Take a Chance on Me and Voulez-Vous.
Sophie is getting married, and her quest to discover the father she never knew brings her mother Donna face to face with three men from her distant romantic past on the eve of a wedding they’ll never forget.
SIX – April 12-16
The queens reign supreme in this multi award-winning Tudor take off which some Liverpool theatregoers may have seen at the Playhouse shortly before the spring 2020 lockdown.
Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded…live, and rocking a fantastic soundtrack as Catherine, Anne, Jane, Anne, Catherine and, errr, Catherine share their own stories in one 80-minute celebration of girl power.
Sorry, Henry who?
Anything Goes – April 20-30
The Barbican’s acclaimed production of the Cole Porter classic steams in to Liverpool this Easter.
When the SS American heads out to sea, etiquette and convention head out of the portholes as two unlikely pairs set off on the course to true love.
The musical romp across the Atlantic features a 50-strong cast and live orchestra performing a collection of some of theatre’s most memorable songs including I Get a Kick Out of You, You’re the Top, Blow, Gabriel, Blow, It’s De-Lovely, Friendship and, of course, the title track itself.
Rocky Horror Show – May 16-21
Are you ready to do the Time Warp again?
Dr Frank ‘n’ Furter, Riff Raff, Magenta and Rocky are ready to welcome squeaky clean sweethearts Brad and Janet – and Liverpool audiences – for another sci-fi B-movie inspired journey as Richard O’Brien’s beloved camp cult classic returns to Lime Street.
Join them over at the Frankenstein place for an evening of fun, frights and frivolity. Dressing up optional, taking part obligatory.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – June 6-11
The London Palladium’s smash hit version of the Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber classic arrives at the Empire with a starry cast in June.
The show is headlined by Jason Donovan as the Pharaoh and Linzi Hateley as Narrator – back in the same cast after appearing in Joseph in 1991 – along with Jac Yarrow reprising the title role from the West End run which won him an Olivier Award nomination.
Any Dream Will Do, Close Every Door to Me, Those Canaan Days…it’s a score packed with a singalong tunes.
Singin’ In the Rain – June 20-25
Singin’ In The Rain finally set to dance its way into the Liverpool Empire next summer.
The postponed UK touring production of the hit Chichester Festival Theatre show will spend a week at the Lime Street theatre from June 20-25.
Along with Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown’s terrific songs, there’s also Simon Higlett’s stunning set design includes a torrent of more than 14,000 litres – that’s more than 3,000 gallons – of water which cascades on to the stage during each performance.
The production is directed by Jonathan Church.
The Book of Mormon – July 19-August 13
It’s third time lucky for this touring production of multi award-winning musical The Book of Mormon which was originally due to make its Empire debut in summer 2020, then summer 2021.
The scurrilous smash-hit show is running for three-and-a-half weeks at the venue.
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. Let’s hope they finally get there this time.
The Osmonds – September 6-10
Yet another show which was originally due to be staged in Liverpool in 2021, this new musical packed with songs from the Osmonds will make its debut instead in September 2022.
It’s based on a ‘living autobiography’ by Jay Osmond, and tracks the family’s performing fortunes from early days on the Andy Williams Show to the screaming guitars of Crazy Horses, from Donny and Marie to Little Jimmy Osmond’s Long Haired Lover From Liverpool and beyond.
All to a fantastic soundtrack including Love Me For a Reason, Puppy Love, Let Me In and One Bad Apple.
Bat Out of Hell – October 4-15
It was due to be the Empire Christmas show in 2020 until the arrival of the ‘Rona.
Now Bat Out of Hell is finally due to visit the Lime Street theatre for a week-and-a-half this autumn.
The award-winning musical, with a book, lyrics and music by Jim Steinman, is packed with Meat Loaf’s greatest hits including You Took The Words Right Out of my Mouth, I Would Do Anything For Love and the title track.
It tells the 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.