MARK SHENTON, Playbill.com London Correspondent
Loserville (Garrick Theatre). Viva Forever! and The Bodyguard are inevitably the headline makers on the new musicals front in London this fall, featuring the back catalogues of the Spice Girls and Whitney Houston's greatest hits, respectively. But the show I can't wait to see again is Loserville, a brand-new musical by two young writers, James Bourne (previously of chart-topping bands Busted and Son of Dork) and Elliot Davis. I saw the tryout at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds in the summer and Loserville could be a winner.
Merrily We Roll Along (Menier Chocolate Factory). London's Menier Chocolate Factory has had a smash hit with two of its previous Sondheim's — Sunday in the Park With George and A Little Night Music, both of which transferred to both the West End and then Broadway. Now Maria Friedman, one of our premiere exponents of the work of Sondheim as a performer, makes her directorial debut with a show that she once played Mary in at Leicester.
Finding Neverland (Leicester Curve). Originally set to launch in San Diego, producer Harvey Weinstein is now doing it in England instead, at the out-of-town Curve in Leicester. Rob Ashford directs this musical based on the film of the same name, with a score by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie (Grey Gardens, Far from Heaven), running Sept. 21 to Oct. 18, with a cast led by Julian Ovenden and the wonderful Rosalie Craig.
Hedda Gabler (Old Vic). The glorious Sheridan Smith won Olivier Awards for Legally Blonde and Rattigan's Flare Path in the West End; now she tackles one of the biggies in the classical repertoire, playing Ibsen's title character, now at the Old Vic through Nov. 10.
The River (Royal Court's Jerwood Theatre Upstairs). Director Ian Rickson and playwright Jez Butterworth, who last collaborated on Jerusalem at the Royal Court, return with a new play, running in the studio Theatre Upstairs from Oct. 18 with a cast that includes Dominic West.
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