Broadway shows that premiered in London
Many of the hit plays and musicals on Broadway right now debuted in the West End.
You’ve heard of the “British Invasion” of the American rock and pop music scenes in the 1960s. Now, in the 2020s, it’s happening again — only this time in the theatre world. The past few Broadway seasons have all included the bows of productions that started in London’s West End.
Although some recent shows with origins across the pond, like Best Play Tony winner The Inheritance and Betrayal in the 2019-2020 season, had limited Broadway engagements, many productions that opened in past seasons are still enjoying success in New York today. Plus, some current West End hits are eyeing a Broadway transfer soon. Learn more about all the shows in New York that got their start onstage in London.
Way down … London Town? After premiering at New York Theatre Workshop in 2017, a new production of Hadestown opened at London’s National Theatre in November 2018 and ran through January 2019. That March, the production jumped back across the Atlantic and opened on Broadway with its West End cast in tow: Reeve Carney (Orpheus), Eva Noblezada (Eurydice), Amber Gray (Persephone), Patrick Page (Hades) and André De Shields (Hermes).The production won 8 Tonys out of 14 nominations in 2019, including Best Musical, and all five principal cast members have returned with the show.
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No way! In a rather unorthodox path for a show, Six didn’t just hit the West End before it hit Broadway — the musical played across the U.K. and U.S. first. After selling out its premiere run at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, Six enjoyed two U.K. tours and a North American tour, plus an Australian premiere and a Norwegian Cruise Line engagement. In 2019, Six began a West End run that has spanned three theatres and is still going strong. The show finally started performances on Broadway in 2020. Its opening night was scheduled for March 12, 2020, the day all Broadway theatres shut down due to the pandemic, but it restarted performances again in the fall 2021 season.
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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Befitting of a franchise set in the U.K., Harry Potter and the Cursed Child had its premiere at the West End’s Palace Theatre in June 2016. The play moved to Broadway just under two years later, beginning performances in March 2018. Most of the original West End cast transferred to New York with the production, though a new cast is currently performing. The show was an awards favorite in both London and New York: The West End production won 9 Olivier Awards out of 11 nominations, and the Broadway production won 6 awards out of 10 nominations. At both ceremonies, the play won the coveted Best Play award.
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David West Read and Max Martin’s retelling of the Shakespeare classic is playing a pre-Broadway tryout in summer 2022, readying the musical for its Broadway transfer in October. & Juliet wonders what would have become of the title heroine had she not died at the end of the original play — and the alternative they offer is her riotous coming-of-age set to contemporary pop music. The show, which was nominated for nine Olivier Awards and won three, premiered in the West End at the Shaftesbury Theatre in November 2019. The pre-Broadway engagement marked the show’s North American debut, taking place at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto, Canada. Now, in fair New York will & Juliet soon lay its scene.
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Back to the Future
Get your plutonium ready! The hit musical adaptation of Back to the Future, which premiered in London in 2020, is blasting off to Broadway in the near future. There's no exact date yet, but the show has teased a spring 2023 opening. Awe-inspiring stagecraft and special effects bring this sci-fi tale to life, based on the classic movie about a teenager who travels to the past with the help of a mad scientist's time machine. He ends up seeing young versions of his parents as they're about to meet, but when he almost breaks them up, he has to get them back together. The musical got six Olivier Award nominations in London and won for Best New Musical.
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The Almeida Theatre, one of London's most prestigious theatre companies, was the first home for this political drama by Peter Morgan, the Emmy-winning creator of The Crown. Following a successful transfer to London's West End, Patriots now brings European politics stateside. Russian politics, to be exact — the show revolves around Boris Berezovsky, the man responsible for launching Vladimir Putin's rise to power before becoming one of the Russian president's greatest opponents — and thus an enemy of the state.
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Sixty years since the Kander and Ebb musical premiered, people still want to come to the cabaret. Most recently, London audiences flocked to the Playhouse Theatre there, which was completely transformed into the Kit Kat Club for director Rebecca Frecknall's award-winning, semi-immersive revival. Now, the August Wilson Theatre is getting the same treatment as the production comes to New York in spring 2024. Wilkommen!
My Son’s A Queer (But What Can You Do?)
This solo show by British actor Rob Madge has had a parade of runs in the U.K.: first at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and then in London's West End. That wording is deliberate: In My Son’s A Queer, Madge recreates a full-fledged Disney parade they staged in their living room as a kid, paying joyful homage to their family, who wholeheartedly accepted Madge's theatricality and, eventually, their queerness. Originally scheduled for Broadway in February 2024, the show's premiere has been postponed.
The Mousetrap isn't just any play from London — Agatha Christie's murder mystery is the West End's longest-running show and one of the longest-running shows of all time anywhere in the world. The show has played continually, save for a yearlong hiatus at the onset of Covid-19, at St. Martin's Theatre since 1952. Now, the story of a murder among a group of vacationers at an isolated cabin is set to come to Broadway for the first time soon.
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