What to Expect from London Theatre in 2019

Will Rathbone

We look ahead to some of the trends already emerging and preview the 3 unmissable shows of next year.

The return of the Broadway Musical
We’ve already welcomed Hamilton to London, but 2019 sees three more major Broadway musicals arrive: the Tony Award-winning Come From Away (Phoenix Theatre, 30 January) closely followed by Waitress (Adelphi Theatre, 8 February) and Dear Evan Hansen (Noël Coward Theatre, autumn). All three bring life-affirming and progressive messages - just the tonic for these troubled times. If you fancy a January pick-me-up, why not enter our competition to win a pair of tickets to Waitress?

Katherine McPhee in Waitress © Matthew Murphy
All Miller, No Filler
With five major revivals in the space of five months - The American Clock (4 February, Old Vic), The Price (5 February, Wyndham’s Theatre), The Crucible (27 March, Yard Theatre), All My Sons (15 April, Old Vic) and Death of a Salesman (1 May, Young Vic) - 2019 looks to be Arthur Miller’s year. His themes of hard-working people trapped by society, the price of morals and the strength of family are as relevant as ever, so we’re excited to binge on this unofficial season of works from one of our finest modern playwrights.
A changing of the guard
Change is afoot at the top of several major London theatres. Lynette Linton will replace Madani Younis at the Bush Theatre when he moves to the Southbank Centre. Entering their second years in the job are the Young Vic’s Kwame Kwei-Armah, Stratford East’s Nadia Fall, the Globe’s Michelle Terry and the Unicorn Theatre’s Justin Audibert, while Tarek Iskander takes charge at Battersea Arts Centre, Michael Longhurst arrives at the aforementioned Donmar, Roxana Silbert starts at the Hampstead Theatre and Rachel O’Riordan joins the Lyric Hammersmith. What will this mean for us theatre-lovers? Some things are for certain: fresh programming, ideas and partnerships emerging throughout London’s theatre landscape. What other trends will transpire we don’t know yet – but it’s all very exciting.

The Young Vic’s Kwame Kwei-Armah © Daniel Hambury

Hollywood Magic     
This isn’t particularly unique to 2019, but it’s still worth celebrating. The first three months of next year will see Cate Blanchett in When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other (16 January, National Theatre), Gillian Anderson in All About Eve (2 February, Noël Coward Theatre), Tom Hiddleston in Betrayal (5 March, Harold Pinter Theatre) and Cillian Murphy in Grief Is The Thing With Feathers (25 March, Barbican Centre). That’s some seriously A-List talent gracing the London stage right there, and we couldn’t be happier about it.
London Calling’s 3 best theatre shows of 2019
Death of a Salesman, Young Vic, 1 May - 29 June
The Wire’s Wendell Pierce and man-of-the-moment Arinzé Kene join Sharon D. Clarke in Miller’s classic tale of the broken American Dream.
All About Eve, Noël Coward Theatre, 2 February - 11 May
Dutch master Ivo van Hove returns to direct this adaptation of the 1950s Hollywood classic about the cult of celebrity.
A Very Expensive Poison, Old Vic, TBC
Lucy Prebble wrote the scorching ENRON, and is a compelling and inventive political playwright. Here she tackles 2006’s infamous Litvinenko poisoning.

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