Some must-see musicals, laugh-out loud comedy and cutting-edge drama is on its way to Norwich Theatre Royal for its newly-announced programme for the 2018 Spring season.
Add in exciting dance, from ballet to tap and ballroom, two heart-breaking operas and acts bringing much-loved popular music to the theatre, and there is something for everyone.
2018 will see West End favourite Jodie Prenger (due to grace the Theatre Royal stage this autumn in Shirley Valentine) return to Norwich to star with the X-Factor’s Sam Bailey and Emmerdale star Natalie Anderson in the brand new musical Fat Friends. Kay Mellor’s tale is packed full of warmth, life and weight loss, and will run from March 12-17.
Legally Blonde The Musical wowed local audiences in 2012 and six years on will be back from March 26-31, starring EastEnders’ Rita Simons (Roxy), Eurovision UK singer Lucie Jones and Bill Ward from Emmerdale (James Barton) and Coronation Street (Charlie Stubbs). But the real star of the show, which follows sorority sister Elle Woods on her mission to win back her boyfriend, will undoubtedly be her trusty pooch Bruiser.
And another top favourite, Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, returns from June 5-16. It was a hot ticket on its first visit in June 2015, so if you missed out on seeing it then, now is your chance.
Audiences will find themselves in a foreign land when Khaled Hosseini’s wonderful book The Kite Runner, beautifully adapted for the stage by Matthew Spangler, is presented from March 5-10, telling the story of a haunting friendship between two boys in Afghanistan which goes on to span cultures and continents.
And it’s hold on to your hats from January 16-20 to be transported abroad for a high-speed globe-trotting comedy as Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days bowls into town with a talented cast of eight actors playing over 125 characters in an escapade which includes six trains, five boats, four fights, three dances, two circus acts and an elephant. Entertainment is guaranteed!
This House is another fast-paced and witty drama, which arrives in Norwich from May 8-12 after sell-out runs at the National Theatre and in the West End. A biting and highly amusing satire directed by Jeremy Herrin (Wolf Hall), it gives a timely insight into what went on in the corridors of Westminster in 1974.
More comedy is on offer with Norfolk favourites The Nimmo Twins, who are a late addition to this autumn’s line-up. They’ll be presenting their line-up of local characters in a show recommended for 16+ on October 13 & 14, 2017.
Another great favourite in the city is Tap Factory, featuring urban tap dance, percussion, comedy and acrobatics. It returns to the theatre’s stage, featuring Norwich Theatre Royal panto favourite Lee Meadows, on October 26 & 27, 2017.
Matthew Bourne’s beautiful interpretation of Cinderella will delight dance fans from February 27-March 3, and there’s more modern dance from Richard Alston Dance Company on February 2 & 3, plus a trio of stunning classical pieces from The Russian State Ballet of Siberia with The Snow Maiden, Swan Lake and Romeo & Juliet from April 2-4.
Opera lovers are in for a treat when Ellen Kent returns with international soloists, a large chorus and full orchestra, to present two of the most loved and heart-breaking stories ever staged – Verdi’s La Traviata on March 19 and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly on March 20.
Miss Saigon, Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed new production has just set out on a major UK tour and lands in Norwich from August 15-September 15, 2018. Casting has recently been announced and includes a host of West End names, from Red Concepcion (Priscilla Queen of the Desert/The Normal Heart/Equus) as The Engineer, Sooha Kim (who made her professional debut in this recent production of Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre) as Kim, and Zoë Doano (many West End theatre credits include Cosette in Les Misérables) as Ellen.
The Norfolk & Norwich Operatic Society also offers its own music and dance extravaganza with Top Hat from January 22-27.
For those with a spare night, then one of the theatre’s ‘one-nighters’ may prove enticing with an eclectic offering of music, dance, tribute acts and comedy. There will be music from The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain on November 19; The RAF In Concert on December 3; A Vision of Elvis on December 18 and Beyond The Barricade on January 4. Strictly favourite Brendan Cole returns on January 28 with his show All Night Long; and then there is more music from The Classic Rock Show on January 29 and Whitney Queen of the Night on March 4.
Michala Jane School of Dance returns on February 18 with Pocahontas; A Country Night In Nashville is offered on March 22; and back by popular demand on March 23 is comedian Stewart Lee, with David Baddiel’s My Family: Not The Sitcom on June 2.
Judy Foster, of Norwich Theatre Royal, said: “Our newly-announced line-up offers lots of great entertainment going into 2018 and includes musicals, drama, hugely popular comedians, and music and dance treats too, with something for all ages and tastes. We’re thrilled to be bringing some new productions to the theatre, such as Fat Friends, Around the World in 80 Days, The Kite Runner and This House. But we also have popular shows which have previously wowed our audiences and are now making a return. If you enjoyed them before then grab the chance to see them again. But if you missed out on tickets first time round then make sure you book early this time.”
26 July: Friends postal, fax and online booking opens
3 August: Friends booking in person and by phone opens
14 August: Public postal, fax and online booking opens
21 August: Public booking in person and by phone opens