The West End is making a socially-distanced comeback with two of its most popular musicals.
We’ve had to endure six painful months without musical theatre thanks to the virus that shall not be named – but that’s all about to change. A pair of our favourite musicals are set to reopen as soon as November, with Everybody’s Talking About Jamie set to be the first musical to reopen in the West End this year, shortly followed by Six The Musical.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie follows a young teen who manages to overcome prejudice and become a drag queen against all odds. It is an incredibly moving show and (pandemic permitting) you’ll be able to see it for yourself at the Apollo Theatre from November 12 – shortly after Adam Kay’s This Is Going To Hurt (October 22-November 8) concludes a limited run. Six The Musical will open its doors just a couple of days later, on November 14, and is a wonderfully fun and modern retelling of the lives of Henry VIII’s six wives. This show will temporarily move to the Lyric Theatre – where social distancing will be much easier to maintain – and will run for eleven weeks, with the run now set to conclude on January 31. Finally some good news in 2020!
A number of safety measures will be implemented at theatres to minimise the risk of transmission, including contactless tickets, social distancing, reduced capacities, temperature checks, face covers, and track and trace – a small price to pay, if you ask me.
While this is very exciting news, many of the larger musicals will not be reopening any time soon, as it is not economical to do so with limited capacity. Another beloved production from the same theatre group as Jamie and Six – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – won’t be back until February at the earliest. Meanwhile, Cameron Mackintosh-produced shows Hamilton, Les Miserables, and Mary Poppins are but a few more that won’t resume business until February 2021 at the earliest. Other shows up in the air include London stalwart The Phantom of the Opera, which has been cancelled, uncancelled, and eventually confirmed to return to town, although these plans are TBC. We’ve learned hard lessons in 2020 about the best-laid plans, so if you’re going to book tickets, do bear in mind the possibility of a shifting coronavirus picture upending your plans.
And yet, today’s announcement is music to our ears. The producers of Six said “We have the opportunity to give work to 100 or so actors, musicians, technicians, stage managers, marketing, press, ticketing and office staff. We accept that with social distancing it is unlikely to be economically viable, but we hope to entertain many thousands of theatregoers who have been starved of live entertainment since March.” Well, we may not have Winter Wonderland, but Christmas has definitely come early this year!