LONDON FALL PREVIEW: Viva Forever!, The Bodyguard, People and The Effect

By Mark Shenton
01 Sep 2012

Matthew Rowland stars as Boy George in Taboo.

Musicals beyond the West End
Elsewhere in London, Boy George's Taboo returns to London to run at Brixton's Club House (from Sept. 6), and Sondheim and Lapine's Merrily We Roll Along is to be directed by Maria Friedman (at the Menier Chocolate Factory from Nov. 16). Friedman's own Sondheim credits as performer include playing Mary in a previous incarnation of Merrily at Leicester Haymarket, Fosca in the London premiere of Passion and Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd opposite Bryn Terfel at the Royal Festival Hall.

Jesus Christ Superstar will launch a UK arena stage tour with a four-day run at London's 02 Arena from Sept. 21-23, and will also be staged at Wembley Arena on Oct. 17 as part of its extensive touring schedule. The cast includes Tim Minchin (composer of Matilda) as Judas, Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm as Mary Magdalene, Chris Moyles as King Herod and Alexander Hanson as Pilate, with Ben Forster, chosen by public vote on ITV's "Superstar" casting program, as Jesus.

Green Day's American Idiot will launch an extensive UK tour at Southampton's Mayflower Theatre from Oct. 9; the tour will come to London's Hammersmith Apollo from Dec. 3-15. Also touring this fall is a new production of Dolly Parton's 9 to 5, beginning at Manchester's Opera House from Oct. 12, with a cast that includes Jackie Clune, Bonnie Langford and Natalie Casey. There will also be a national tour for Disney's The Lion King, still playing at the West End's Lyceum, kicking off at Bristol Hippodrome from Sept. 6.

Finding Neverland, with a score by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie (Grey Gardens, Far from Heaven) and directed by Rob Ashford, will premiere at Leicester's Curve for a run from Sept. 21 to Oct. 18, with a cast led by Julian Ovenden and Rosalie Craig. It will be followed later in the year at the same theatre by a new production of Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly! starring Caroline O'Connor as Dolly Levi (Nov. 30-Jan. 12 2013).  Continued...