Ten off West End productions coming in 2017

In 2016, theatrical energies burnt brightest in stages not on the West End. Already, 2017 promises to be another vibrant and exciting year for theatre. Here are ten shows we are eagerly awaiting in 2017, in alphabetical order.

BU21

BU21

Following its award nominated, sell-out run at Theatre503, Stuart Slade’s BU21 follows six Londoners in the aftermath of a fictitious terrorist attack, based on real testimonies gathered from a variety of terrorist incidents including the 7/7 bombings, 9/11, the Paris attacks and the 2013 Westgate shopping mall attack.

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Death Takes A Holiday

Death Takes A Holiday

Thom Southerland directs the UK premiere of Death Takes a Holiday, music and lyrics by Maury Yeston and book by Peter Stone and Thomas Meehan.

In Northern Italy, shortly after World War One, Death disguises himself as a handsome young prince to try to understand why life is so precious and death so feared. But when he unexpectedly falls in love with a newly engaged young woman, this mysterious stranger discovers that love may in fact be stronger than death.

With a book by multi-Tony Award winners Thomas Meehan and Peter Stone, based on the 1928 Italian play of the same name which went on to inspire the movie, Meet Joe Black, and a lush, romantic score by multi -Tony Award winner Maury Yeston (Titanic, Nine), this is a soaring story of the preciousness of life and the overwhelming power of love

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Dirty Great Love Story

Fringe First Award winning Dirty Great Love Story will make its anticipated West End debut at the Arts Theatre. This brilliant new production, written by Richard March and Katie Bonna, combines drama and poetry, rhythm and rhyme in this laugh-a-minute exploration of modern romance.

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Dubailand

Dubailand

An oasis of free enterprise, no income taxes, no unions, no opposition parties. A paradise of consumption. A skyline on crack. Urban planning on steroids – Dubai.

On the 88th floor of an unfinished skyscraper in the Emirate’s glittering skyline, the life of a migrant labourer becomes fatefully intertwined with that of Jamie, a British expat with his eye on the big time.

Exploring the plight of Dubai’s migrant labour force, this urgent new play asks how much longer we can look the other way.

Dubailand won new playwright Carmen Nasr a 2017 Channel 4 Playwrights Scheme Playwright in Residence Bursary at the Finborough Theatre, supported by the Peggy Ramsay Foundation.

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Guards at the Taj

Guards at the Taj

Jamie Lloyd directs the European premiere of this wickedly funny award-winning play from Pulitzer Prize nominee Rajiv Joseph.

It’s 1648. Agra, India. Imperial guards and best mates Humayun and Babur keep watch as the final touches are put to the mighty Taj Mahal behind them. The emperor has decreed that no one, except the masons, labourers and slaves who exist within those walls, shall turn to look at the building until it is complete.

Now, as the building nears completion and the first light catches on the pure white domes behind them, the temptation to steal a glance at the most beautiful monument the world has ever seen grows stronger. But beauty has a price and Humayun and Babur are about to learn its true cost.

Guards at the Taj takes as its starting point an enduring legend and prompts contemporary audiences to revisit questions about art and privilege.

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La Ronde

La Ronde

Collaborative Artists will open Season Two at The Bunker with a bold reimagining of Arthur Schnitzler’s infamous classic La Ronde in a new adaption by Max Gill. La Ronde features a stellar cast, including Lauren Samuels, Alex Vlahos, Leemore Marret Jr and Amanda Wilkin, as it embraces life’s game of chance as fate decides the cast’s roles every night and throughout the play.

With four actors to play the cast of ten and roles selected with a roulette, La Ronde embraces life’s game of chance and the blindness of desire and fortune. This portrait of the human need for another boldly reimagines the infamous original to interrogate modern attitudes to gender, sexuality, and social status. With over three thousand different versions of the show, which story will you see?

La Ronde distils the beating heart of London’s sexuality with verbatim testimonies from real life prostitutes, lovers, adulterers.

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Promises Promises

Promises Promises

Burt Bacharach’s incredible music and Hal David’s brilliant lyrics come together with a book by legendary playwright Neil Simon in Promises, Promises – the hit Broadway musical based on the Billy Wilder film The Apartment.

Chuck Baxter is junior executive at a New York insurance company, where his mid-town residence makes him popular with the executives bosses – who promise him promotion in order to “entertain” at his apartment. A morally tricky dilemma gets worse for Chuck when he realises his own secret crush, Fran Kubelik, has been invited over to his place for a rendezvous by Chuck’s Manager, JD Sheldrake.

This Tony Award Nominated, Grammy Award Winning musical is a triumph of 1960s sexual work-place politics, with a quick witted script and unforgettable songs including Knowing When To Leave, Promises, Promises and I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.

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The Frogs
The Frogs

The latest 2004 Broadway version of the rarely performed Stephen Sondheim musical The Frogs is a hilarious send up of Greek comedy and satire with a book revised and expanded by Nathan Lane and includes seven new Sondheim songs.

From the same writers behind A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, The Frogs playfully explores the great challenges of human existence: confronting our fears, understanding life and death, and challenging the distractions that can prevent us from achieving our goals.

This boisterously hilarious yet poignant musical follows Dionysos, Greek god of wine and drama, and his slave Xanthias on a journey to Hades to collect renowned critic and playwright George Bernard Shaw so that he may enlighten the easily misled and coerced masses of Earth. Along this journey, Dionysos and Xanthias meet Herakles, Charon, Pluto, and of course, the chorus of frogs. Then, Shakespeare shows up and starts declaiming his greatest hits; and before long he engages in a battle of words with Mr. Shaw. Who will win the honor of becoming reincarnated: The Bard or Bernard?

The Frogs stays true to its heritage, mixing Aristophanic pratfall satire with a Sondheim score that swings from witty to pretty to rambunctious, but also mirrors the Greek original for the serious issue of the role of the arts in a world beset by war and folly.

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The Wild Party

Wild Party

Michael John LaChiusa’s The Wild Party will receive its UK Premiere in a brand new production at The Other Palace (formerly St. James Theatre).

Set against a backdrop of Manhattan decadence and 1920’s excess, The Wild Party tells the story of Queenie and Burrs, a Vaudeville showgirl and a Vaudeville clown whose relationship is marked by vicious behaviour and recklessness. In an attempt to salvage their toxic union, they decide to throw a party to end all parties.

The guests are a vivid collection of the unruly and the undone: a cocaine-sniffing bisexual playboy; a washed-up boxer; a diva of indeterminate age; a fresh-faced ingénue; and a handsome Valentino who catches Queenie’s roving eye. The jazz and gin soaked party rages to a mounting sense of threat, as artifice and illusion are stripped away. But when midnight debauchery turns into tragedy, the revellers must sober up and face reality. After all, no party lasts forever.

Frances Ruffelle will play Queenie. Frances is perhaps best known for originating the role of Eponine in Les Misérables in the West End and on Broadway, winning a Tony Award for her performance.

The Wild Party will be directed and choreographed by Drew McOnie, winner of the 2016 Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer for In The Heights (King’s Cross Theatre).

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