August was a standout month for theatre as we finally got to see theatres slowly reopening with outdoor performances taking place in existing and purpose built theatres as well as the go ahead for indoor theatres to open their doors again. September builds on that momentum with more theatres reopening and shows making the most of open air theatre while the weather permits. Not to mention some great shows to look forward to online. Here's a look at some of the highlights you can expect this month:
The first of two new productions of the Jason Robert Brown classic The Last Five Years opening in the next few weeks, this one is at the stunningly beautiful Minack theatre in Cornwall.
The show tells the story of a couple, Jamie and Cathy, through their entire relationship. The unique twist is they are told from different points - through Cathy we start at the end and go backwards to when they first met, whereas we start with Jamie at the beginning of the relationship. The fact they only interact once in the middle makes this the perfect show for social distancing.
This production stars Waylon Jacobs from Hamilton as Jamie and Emma Kingston from Evita as Cathy. It is playing at the Minack from 15th - 19th September. Tickets are £30 for adults or £15 for under 16s and are available from https://www.minack.com/whats-on/last-five-years
The brand new Garden Theatre in Kennington had great success with its debut production, Fanny & Stella, selling out the entire run, adding more dates and selling them out too. The success looks set to continue with a new production of Stephen Schwartz's Pippin.
The show has been revised to feature a reduced cast. This one will feature six cast members. Ryan Anderson as Pippin, Tsemaye Bob-Egbe as Leading Player, Tanisha-Mae Brown as Catherine, Joanne Clifton as Fastrada/Bertha, Harry Francis as Lewis/Theo and Dan Krikler as Charles.
The show is playing a limited run from Tuesday 8th to Sunday 27th September. Most of the dates are already sold out but some tickets are still available from £20 each at
One of the newest theatres in London, the Turbine Theatre in Battersea, has come up with perhaps the most creative way of any theatre to return. They're moving the action to the jetty outside the theatre. Turbine Theatre on the Jetty has already started its limited season with seating on deckchairs outside a purpose built stage. With views of the Thames, this is Londons version of the beautiful views at the Minack in Cornwall... though with dirtier water.
One of the highlights in the season is a concert production of Hair with an all star cast including Layton Williams, Jodie Steele and Jordan Luke Gage though all dates for that have now sold out. Other highlights include performances from Showstopper, The Barricade Boys, Catfish in Concert and Roles We'll Never Play.
The season runs until Saturday 19th September with tickets available from https://www.theturbinetheatre.com/whats-on
The Crazy Coqs at Zedel in the heart of London have announced a new season of shows. Featuring a reduced capacity to allow for social distancing in the venue, an abundance of performances have been announced from some of the very best talents the West end has to offer.
Some of the highlights this month are Cedric Neal with 'Songversations of a Black Man', a celebation of Andrew Lloyd Webber with Nadim Naaman and Lucy St Louis, a performance by Maria Friedman, a joint concert by Rachel Tucker and John Owen Jones and a celebration of Judy Garland by Sophie Evans and Lauren Samuels.
Tickets are available to watch most of the shows in person though you can also pay to watch the shows live via a stream. Tickets for both are available from https://www.brasseriezedel.com/events/
The Bridge Theatre in London Bridge reopened in August and is continuing its first season of socially distanced performances with one person plays. The month begins with the continued run of Ralph Fiennes in Beat The Devil before Alan Bennett's Talking Heads series takes over.
Talking Heads kicks off on Monday 7th September with a series of double plays at each performance. The highlights this month are Monica Dolan and Lesley Manville in The Shrine & Bed Among The Lentils, Rochenda Sandall and Kristin Scott Thomas in The Outside Dog & The Hand of God and Lucian Msamati and Imelda Staunton in Playing Sandwiches & Lady of Letters.
Tickets are available from https://bridgetheatre.co.uk/performances/?event=talking-heads
The series of West End Musical Drive In concerts continue this month with special cast reunions a running theme through this months performances.. Taking place in Enfield, there are concerts every Saturday this month.
Saturday 5th and Saturday 12th September feature gatherings of some of the Queens from past and present casts of Six. 17 of the ex wives are getting together on the 5th while 11 are performing on the 12th though the later performance is now sold out.
Saturday 19th September at 3.30pm features an Aladdin cast reunion with Trevor Dion-Nicholas, Matthew Croke and Hiba Elchikhe reuniting to perform songs from the Disney classic and other shows.
The final September drive in is on the 26th at 3.30pm and is a Wicked special featuring a collection of Elphaba's. What would we even call that? A cackle of Elphabas maybe? Alice Fearn, Emma Hatton and Laura Pick will join forces with recent Glinda Sophie Evans to rejoicify in songs from the much loved shows.
Tickets are available from https://www.westendmusicaldrivein.co.uk/
STILL ON, STILL GOOD:
The following shows opened last month and are completing their runs this month. Catch them while you can:
Sleepless at Troubadour Theatre in Wembley Park until September 27th.
Tickets from ttps://sleeplessthemusical.com/
Jesus Christ Superstar at Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park until September 27th.
Tickets from https://openairtheatre.com/
Southwark Playhouse recently reopened the bar area of their theatre. Performances begin inside the theatre in October with a new run of the last production they had before they closed in March, The Last Five Years. Before that, a brand new musical will be live streamed from the stage.
Before After is a brand new musical love story by Stuart Matthew Price and Tommy Knapman. Real life husband and wife Hadley Fraser and Rosalie Craig will join forces to perform a rehearsed reading of the show for a virtual audience. It will be performed on Friday 25th September at 7pm with two performances on Saturday 26th September at 2pm and 7pm. Tickets are £10 if booked in advance up until 20 September and £15 if booked from 21 September onwards.
Tickets are available from https://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/show/before-after/
Emma Rice's musical Romantics Anonymous will be performed live on stage at the Bristol Old Vic and streamed online as part of a "digital tour" between Tuesday 22nd and Saturday 26th September. Each show will be streamed across the UK.
The musical features a book by Emma Rice, lyrics by Christopher Dimond and music by Michael Kooman. It tells the love story of a shy chocolate maker and the awkward boss of a chocolate factory. It played a highly successful run in London in 2017. with former cast members expected to reprise their roles. Casting will be announced soon.
The show will be a full production with tickets costing £15. Tickets are on sale now from www.wisechildrendigital.com
Martin Sherman's Rose is being streamed as a new production starring Maureen Lipman. The play follows Jewish woman Rose as she begins her life in a 1920s Russian village and goes on to travel the globe.
Staged by the Hope Mill Theatre who were responsible for the recent online concert of Godspell, the show will be available to stream on September 10th, 11th and 12th with the link being sent out at 10am on the day of purchase, giving you 24 hours to watch it to your hearts content.
Tickets cost £8 plus booking fee and are available from https://hopemilltheatre.co.uk/events/rose
Following the success of the brilliant concert by Lucie Jones and David Hunter, Lambert Jackson productions are venturing into another joint concert and this time it's from Dear Evan Hansen co-stars Nicole Raquel Dennis and Sam Tutty.
The pair will play a one off concert on Sunday 20th September at 5pm. They will play live to an empty Phoenix Arts Club with the gig being live streamed. In an Instagram live on Sunday 30th August they threw requests open to the public for what people want to see them perform on the day. The requests varied from High School Musical, The Color Purple and Little Shop of Horrors.
Tickets cost £20 for the show or £35 for a virtual meet and greet with the two after the show. Tickets available from lambertjackson.co.uk
Seth Rudetsky has been entertaining theatre fans on both sides of the Atlantic with his weekly concert series over the past few months. Some of the biggest names on Broadway have been taking part with past guests including Stephanie J Block, Kelli O'Hara and Audra McDonald.
The series shows no signs of slowing down. The first two names announced for concerts this month are Karen Olivo on Sunday 6th September and Jeremy Jordan on Sunday 13th September.
Each show takes place live at 8pm ET which is 1am in the UK but is repeated the following day at 3pm ET or 8pm in the UK with tickets costing $25 for each show.
Tickets are available at https://events.broadwayworld.com/
Originally due to be shown last month, Three Kings was postponed due to star Andrew Scott having minor surgery. The show will now take place from Thursday 3rd September to Saturday 5th September.
Three Kings is a brand new play by Stephen Beresford and stars Andrew Scott reflecting on the role his father played in shaping his own life after years of being absent. It will be streamed live from the Old Vic where Scott will perform on stage to an empty auditorium.
Most tickets have now sold out though a few are still available from £30 at
So there we have it. It looks like it's going to be another fantastic month for theatre. As rules regarding performance are relaxed and more theatres are able to reopen, it looks like things can only get better.