Year is big for musicals

Troy Dodds looks at the musicals of 2010.

Hello everyone and welcome to 2010.

I thought I’d kick off the year by having a look at the major musicals you can expect to premiere this year, or of course continue this year if they made their debut in 2009. Next week I will take a look at the straight theatre world.

We start with what will probably be the biggest musical of 2010 in the shape of MARY POPPINS, which will premiere in July at the Her Majesty’s Theatre. Whilst a Mary still hasn’t been found, there is very little doubt that this production will be an extraordinary success. Should a ‘star’ be cast in the title role, it will add to the show’s longevity, but I would expect it to run in Melbourne well into 2011. This will be the ultimate family musical and expect it to be third straight winter musical in a row that has done well in the Victorian capital.

WICKED will continue to dominate the theatre market in the early part of 2010, with its season at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney continuing. The show still has plenty of support, and after a somewhat slow period in Sydney continues to do good business. Expect Wicked to play until about May or June, before it moves on. Rumours suggest that the production will then move on to other cities, despite original thoughts that it would stick to Melbourne and Sydney. Expect Amanda Harrison to return at some point, but probably only for the last couple of months of the Sydney run.

Sydney can also expect to see JERSEY BOYS at some point this year. It continues to do big business at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne and is one of the best shows we’ve seen in some time. A quiet achiever in a way, the musical will most likely reach Sydney in the second half of 2010.

Sydney is currently experiencing the final weeks of MAMMA MIA! at the Lyric Theatre, before it begins a tour of the nation. With Suzie Mathers in the lead role, the show is a scaled down version of the previous production that toured Australia but it is just as good at ensuring audiences are up and dancing in the aisles. It will be one of the big touring hits of 2010.

Another touring hit this year will be CATS. I certainly question its ticket-selling power these days, but its short seasons in each city will probably ensure enough support from those who fell in love with the musical last time it was here.

One of the big laugh-a-minute shows of 2009, AVENUE Q, will wrap up its Australian tour in 2010. The show opens in Adelaide this week, before moving on to Brisbane. It was one of my favourite shows last year and with a stellar cast, is well worth seeing if it is headed near you this year. Also wrapping up its Australian tour is CHICAGO, which soon opens in Perth.

One show I have fears about is the forthcoming FAME, which may have saved itself with its star-casting of a few So You Think You Can Dance? people. It opens in Melbourne in April, and seasons in Brisbane and Sydney will follow. I would like nothing more than to see this show have a hugely successful run but I do fear for it and its box office power, especially against so many big shows.

Another show to premiere in 2010 is WEST SIDE STORY which has great general public knowledge and should be a success. It opens in Sydney in July, and with Wicked and Cats out of town, the show will most likely own the city for a short period.

Both the Sydney Theatre Company and Melbourne Theatre Company will produce musicals, with SPRING AWAKENING opening in Sydney next month and THE DROWSY CHAPERONE hitting Melbourne later this month.

It is quite a big year in musical theatre, with huge blockbuster shows right across the country. There is every reason it will be one of the most successful theatrical years in some time.

As for rumours, we may – or may not – see productions of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, LEGALLY BLONDE, HAIRSPRAY and ROCK OF AGES in 2010.

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