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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Tom Stoppard has had 18 plays on Broadway, and his 19th is coming from an acclaimed premiere in London's West End. Named for the Jewish quarter of Vienna, Austria, Leopoldstadt traces one Jewish family over decades and generations, including through the dark era of World War II, and how each generation's experiences shaped what it means for them to be Jewish. The show has been called Stoppard's most personal play, as it's inspired by his own Jewish ancestry that he first discovered in the 1990s. Leopoldstadt also won the 2020 Olivier Award for Best New Play, so perhaps it could pick up the Tony Awards equivalent and add to Stoppard's collection (he has six Best Play Awards) after it opens in September 2022.
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What do you get when you have two acclaimed actors of today playing two acclaimed artists from history? You have a can't-miss event on either side of the pond. Anthony McCarten's The Collaboration centers on the creative partnership, and unlikely friendship, between pop artist Andy Warhol and Neo-Expressionist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Marvel Cinematic Universe star Paul Bettany steps into Warhol's shoes, and two-time Tony nominee Jeremy Pope assumes the role of Basquiat. They both received acclaim for their performances when The Collaboration debuted in London's West End in 2022, and they'll likely do the same in the Broadway production, which premieres in November 2022.
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Peter Pan Goes Wrong
Peter Pan Goes Wrong is the latest Broadway show from the U.K.-based Mischief Theatre Company, who you might know best from their Tony-winning New York debut, The Play That Goes Wrong. This follow-up, in which an amateur theatre troupe runs into back-to-back problems while performing Peter Pan, premiered in 2013 in London and has played multiple acclaimed runs on both sides of the Atlantic. Now, you can follow the second star on the right and straight on 'till morning to the Barrymore Theatre to see Peter Pan Goes Wrong on Broadway.
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Life of Pi
Life of Pi is an adventure tale about stranded shipwreck survivors (a teenage boy and four wild animals) on a journey for survival. It's fitting, then, that the story has had worldwide travels of its own. The story began as a 2001 book by Yann Martel, which has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide. The 2012 movie adaptation won four Oscars and worldwide acclaim. Now, the stage adaptation, which won Best New Play at the Olivier Awards for its London premiere, is roaring to life on Broadway in spring 2023.
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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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