Musicals in 2024
Image: Chicago Australian cast 2023/4. Photographer: Jeff Busby.
Something old and something new is the flavour of Musical Theatre in 2024. There’s blockbuster classics including Wicked, Sunset Boulevard and Beauty and the Beast, along with Australian premieres of Dear Evan Hansen and Groundhog Day the Musical.
Image: Courtney Monsma as Glinda, and Sheridan Adams as Elphaba. Photographer: Jeff Busby.
Wicked has returned to Australia, with its Sydney season encompassing the musical’s 20th anniversary on Broadway on October 30.
In his review, David Spicer said, “Another short day in the Emerald City, but this time with more flying monkeys, new colourful LED lighting and a joke about TikTok, which wasn’t invented when the last professional season took place almost a decade ago.
“Wicked is back with a few small updates, sparkling from the inclusion of bright new leads and the deft hands of experienced actors (including Todd McKenney as the Wizard and Robyn Nevin as Madame Morrible).
“Courtney Monsma is the new Glinda, and she smashes the singing out of the park, while Sheridan Adams as the green witch Elphaba soared in the song ‘Defying Gravity’ and got stronger as the night went on.”
Wicked plays in Sydney until February, then heads to Melbourne from March.
Image: Chicago (Photographer: Jeff Busby).
Just four years after its last professional outing, Chicago is back with an all-new cast lead by Anthony Warlow as Billy Flynn, Zoë Ventoura as Velma Kelly, Lucy Maunder as Roxie Hart, Peter Rowsthorn as Amos and Asabi Goodman as Matron ‘Mama’ Morton.
In his review of the 2019 production, David Spicer described Chicago as “an almost perfect model box of a musical. It has one great tune after another and at its heart is a jaw dropping good story.
“Journalist Maurine Dallas Watkins penned a play about the actual female killers who became celebrities in Chicago in the 1920’s.
“Originally staged with circus-like flamboyance, a concert staging of the musical led to its renaissance.
“The set is simple. The orchestra is on stage framed with a box to resemble a jury. It is a pleasure to see the band and revel in the big juicy and at times dirty sound of the brass.”
Currently Broadway’s longest running show, the 1996 revival of Chicago is also Broadway’s second longest running musical ever, behind The Phantom of the Opera.
Chicago opened in Perth in December 2023. Click on the individual cities below to buy tickets to seasons in
and Sydney from June.
Image: Grease (Photographer: Jeff Busby).
Every decade or so producer John Frost wheels the Grease car out of the garage and over the years there have been arena spectaculars and productions led by TV soap stars.
This time round the leads Joseph Spanti and Annelise Hall have been cast purely on, talent not celebrity.
Director Luke Joslin told David Spicer that as well as a brand-new set, he’s been asking cast to approach the musical like it is being performed for the first time.
It will be fascinating to see how some aspects of the story that have become problematic post MeToo are treated in this production.
Click on the links to buy tickets.
Photographer: Daniel Boud.
& Juliet flips the script on perhaps the greatest love story ever told, imagining what would happen next if Juliet hadn’t ended it all over Romeo, and got a second chance at life and love – on her terms.
The story is set to pop hits including ‘Baby One More Time’, ‘Roar’, ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’, ‘Larger Than Life’, ‘That’s The Way It Is’ and ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’.
The production is led by Lorinda May Merrypor in the title role, with Rob Mills as William Shakespeare and Amy Lehpamer as his wife Anne.
Blake Appelqvist is Romeo, with Casey Donovan as Angélique and Hayden Tee as Lance.
& Juliet plays Perth from December 30 and Sydney from February 27.
Groundhog Day The Musical
The musical, based on the 1993 film, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, tells the story of a man trapped inside one day on repeat.
Cynical Pittsburgh TV weatherman Phil Connors, assigned to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in the small town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, is trapped in a time loop - forced to relive the same day again and again.
“I have waited 7 years for this moment!” said Tim Minchin. “Groundhog Day The Musical, like Matilda The Musical, has a unique mixture of darkness and light, of head and heart, and of complexity and joy!”
Originally produced in partnership with The Old Vic, Groundhog Day The Musical is scheduled for Melbourne only from January at the Princess Theatre.
Image: Sister Act UK and Ireland Touring Production. Photography: Mark SeniorImage
Praise be! The habit is coming to Australia. John Frost for Crossroads Live is delighted to announce the arrival of Sister Act, which will make its Australian debut from August 2024.
The production of the Broadway and UK hit musical comedy will open at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney in August 2024 and the Regent Theatre in Melbourne from November 2024.
Beauty and the Beast
Photographer: Daniel Boud
In 2023, Beauty and the Beast returned to Australia for the first time since its original 1995 production, opening at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre in June, with a new digital makeover which even Broadway audiences haven’t seen yet.
In his review of the Sydney season, David Spicer reported that the show “regularly draws standing ovations during the middle of the musical. The eruption of appreciation is for the rendition of ‘Be Our Guest’, when the humans trapped as furniture put on a lavish display of affection for the Beast’s prisoner, Belle.
“Another breathtaking moment in the Disney musical is when the cast dance in complex geometrical choreography that resembles a grand old, synchronized swimming movie.
“One patron was heard saying on opening night that he had his ‘money’s worth’ in the first ten minutes.”
The production stars Shubshri Kandiah as Belle and Brendan Xavier as the Beast.
The Sydney season concluded in January.
Tina – The Tina Turner Musical
Photographer: Daniel Boud.
After playing for more than eight months at Sydney’s Theatre Royal, it’s now time for the rest of Australia to rock to Tina – The Tina Turner Musical.
In his review of Tina, David Spicer said, “The musical opens with Tina about to step onto the stage at an outdoor concert in Rio de Janeiro attended by 180,000 people. It flashes back to her childhood with strains of African and gospel music.
“Tina Turner’s tumultuous journey is propelled by slick video projection and energetic dancing.
“The writers squeezed 26 songs into the story, some of them are essential to the narrative such as the autobiographical “Nutbush City Limits”, written by Turner herself, and Ike’s own early song, ‘She Made My Blood Run Cold’.
“Tina Turner, well known in Australia for singing her rock anthem at the NRL Grand Final, is portrayed with passion and gusto by Ruva Ngwenya. Barely off the stage she did not put a foot or note wrong. The final concert scene is electric.”
Dear Evan Hansen
Dear Evan Hansen is the story of a socially anxious highschooler who is suddenly thrust into the spotlight when he makes up a story about a local tragedy.
The musical, with a contemporary score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, won six Tony Awards in 2017.
When David Spicer saw Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway in 2019, he described it as “utterly engaging, with nice music and terrific lyrics.”
The movie adaptation, released in 2021 disappointed critics largely due to the casting of 27-year-old Ben Platt in the lead role of 17-year-old Evan.
The Sydney Theatre Company and Michael Cassel Group are promising a “brand new production” under the direction of Dean Bryant.
Sarah Brightman, the artist who originated the role of Christine in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, will star as Norma Desmond in what marks her first theatrical role in more than three decades.
Opera Australia and GWB Entertainment are promising “spectacular new staging features, stunning sets and costumes, evoking the glamorous Golden Age of Hollywood.”
Sunset Boulevard weaves a tale of faded glory and unfulfilled ambition. Having been discarded by Hollywood with the advent of “talkies", legendary silent movie star Norma Desmond is tortured by her longing for a return to the big screen.
Click on the links to buy tickets.
West Side Story
Opera Australia is bringing back its Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour production of West Side Story in March.
In 2019, Frank Hatherley described it as “a marvellously wide-staged, harbour-side version production by Francesca Zambello that absolutely blew your socks off.
“The marvel of this great production, with the Sydney skylight as a magnificent ground row, is the music, the songs. One after the other they come, either sung or danced to: an outpouring of Bernstein brilliance.
“The real fireworks that explode marvellously after ‘America’ bring us a sharp reminder that we are in Sydney, on the harbour, watching this splendid revival of a timeless American classic.”
Another Leonard Bernstein classic, Candide, is being staged by the Victorian Opera.
Led by Eddie Perfect and Lyndon Watts, Candide sees Voltaire’s satirical tale of mindless optimism spring to life through a brilliant score from the famed West Side Story creator.
This new production, fusing opera and musical theatre, will see the St Kilda’s Palais Theatre transformed from February 8-10 into “The Best of All Possible Worlds” under the direction of Dean Bryant, with Benjamin Northey and Orchestra Victoria.
A second concert staging of Candide arrives at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Adelaide from May 23 - a collaboration between the State Theatre Company of South Australia, State Opera South Australia along with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
Image: Full Cast of RENT. Photographer: Wendell Teodoro
LPD Productions, who previously staged Rent at the Hayes Theatre and Sydney Opera House, is taking their production around Australia.
Neil Litchfield wrote of that original staging, “With its potent tale of love and diversity, amidst New York’s impoverished yet still vibrant arts community living with the HIV/AIDS epidemic, 1990s rock musical RENT resonates powerfully today.
“Its well known that creator Jonathan Larson died before the Off-Broadway opening of his contemporary take on La Bohème, leaving behind a wonderful, virtually through-sung score, but a sketchy scenario for this Pulitzer and Tony winner, which casts and directors must flesh out into living characters.”
Rent plays in Brisbane during January 2024, followed by seasons in Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth and Canberra.
My Brilliant Career
Written over a century ago by Miles Franklin, the novel My Brilliant Career centres on the character of Sybylla Melvyn and her adventures juggling romance over a desire for a fulfilling career.
The beloved novel – later adapted into a film starring Judy Davis and Sam Neil – has been adapted as a musical by Matthew Frank, Dean Bryant and Sheridan Harbridge.
The Melbourne Theatre Company describes it as “a live soundtrack that’s equal parts contemporary pop, folksy bush band and raucous pub rock will translate the untameable spirit of Sybylla into a live theatre experience to blow the ceiling off.”
Playing at the Southbank Theatre in November and December.
Round The Twist The Musical
The home-grown TV show that raised a generation is back with all the magic you remember in a brand-new Australian musical by Paul Hodge based on the seminal stories of much-loved children’s book author Paul Jennings.
In an old lighthouse, single dad Tony Twist and his kids Pete, Linda and Bronson are about to embark on a magical adventure to protect their home from the greedy Gribble family who want to turn their piece of paradise into an Aqua-World-Casino-Burger-Joint-Adventure-Park.
Part of the Queensland Theatre program, at QPAC from November 12.
The Sunshine Club
Written and directed by Wesley Enoch AM, with 28 songs composed by the esteemed John Rodgers, The Sunshine Club plays at Sydney Coliseum from April 11 – 20. Set in 1946, the musical tells the story of Frank Doyle, an Aboriginal serviceman who has come home from World War II to find that although the wider world may have changed, attitudes back home in Brisbane are just the same. Filled with a defiant energy and ambition for a better life, Frank starts The Sunshine Club, a place where all people are welcome to come together, laugh, romance, and most importantly, dance. Here he dreams of a future where he can dance in step with Rose, the girl next door, the girl of his dreams.
Photographer: Matthew Chen.
A true story about an unsolved murder that divided a nation, Jason Robert Brown’s Tony Award-winning musical, Parade will play a season in Sydney in May 2024, following the Broadway Revival in 2023, and a season in Melbourne.
With a book by Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy) and a score by Jason Robert Brown (Songs for a New World, The Last Five Years, Bridges of Madison County), Parade is a moving examination of one of the darkest episodes of America's history.
Set in the early 20th century Atlanta, Georgia, with its legacy of slavery and the Civil War, the story follows Leo Frank, a Brooklyn-raised Jew, who is put on trial for the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan. Undercurrents of racism & bigotry, and a mistrial, result in Frank’s condemnation by a conservative community still grappling with the aftermath of the 1906 Atlanta race riots.
The Hayes Theatre Company is celebrating its 10th Birthday in 2024 with a mixture of world premieres, Australian premieres and contemporary Broadway musicals, proesented by the Hayes Theatre Co and a number of independent musical theatre companies.
The season encompasses Zombie! The Musical, a new show from Laura Murphy (The Lovers, The Dismissal);
The Australian premiere of Ride The Cyclone. The lives of six teenagers from a Canadian chamber choir are cut short in a freak accident aboard a rollercoaster. When they awake in limbo, a mechanical fortune teller invites each to tell a story to win a prize like no other - the chance to return to life.
A co-production with Griffin, Flat Earthers: The Musical is described as a beautiful and chaotic musical epic. Somewhere on the fringes of the internet, Ria e-meets Flick and instantly falls in analogue love. They’ve never actually met IRL, but their passion is as real as the moon landing, the Loch Ness Monster and the flying saucers over Roswell.
Those productions will be interspersed with independent productions - The Hello Girls (described as a contemporary musical brimming with folk and pop earworms, charting the journey of a feisty bunch of trail-blazing women who turned the US Army on its head and made history).
A new look at the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s Tell Me On A Sunday, a one-woman show that charts the course of a young English girl newly arrived in New York. Directed by Blazey Best and starring Erin Clare.
Based on the 1960 film The Apartment, Promises Promises follows a young junior executive at an insurance company, who seeks to climb the corporate ladder by allowing his apartment to be used for trysts by his married superiors. Featuring Bacharach and David songs including ‘Say A Little Prayer’, ‘A House Is Not A Home’, ‘I’ll Never Fall In Love Again’ and ‘Promises, Promises’. The 'Neglected Musicals production plays from November 13 - 15.
Hoofer Jim Hardy says goodbye to the hustle and bustle of big-city showbiz to settle down on his farmhouse in Connecticut. He longs for fresh air and ‘Blue Skies’, but it turns out life isn’t the same without his beloved song and dance. Enter Linda, a passionate schoolteacher with talent of her own. Together, Jim and Linda - with the help of unlikely friend and local handy-gal Louise - transform the farmhouse into a fabulous inn, with dazzling performances to celebrate the holidays.
Elvis: A Musical Revolution
Photographer: Daniel Boud
Martin Portus wrote that “with snatches of some 40 great hits from the King of Rock’n’Roll, this bio-musical wins from the start.
“David Venn’s production artfully weaves hit vignettes into a revealing, dramatic narrative from Elvis growing up poor in a coloured Mississippi neighbourhood, to learning the US reality of race in the 1950s, to forging the sounds of country, gospel and defiant black rhythms of celebration.
“Rob Mallett is a powerhouse mover and shaker as Elvis, with all the right hip wiggles, splayed legs and swinging arms.”
Playing in Melbourne until December 31, a return Sydney season follows in February, ahead of seasons in Adelaide, Perth and on the Gold Coast.
Image: Original Australian cast of Hamilton. Photographer: Daniel Boud
The revolutionary musical which fuses hip hop and musical theatre styles, based on the real-life story of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, returns to the Sydney Lyric Theatre from July.
The Rocky Horror Show
Photographer: Daniel Boud
After touring Australia in 2023, the 50th Anniversary world tour of Rock ‘N’ Roll musical The Rocky Horror Show returns in 2024, opening at the Civic Theatre Newcastle on 12 January, starring Jason Donovan as Frank N Furter and Myf Warhurst as the Narrator (Newcastle only). Return seasons at Melbourne’s Atheneum Theatre from 9 February and Theatre Royal, Sydney from 31 March will follow.
SIX The Musical
Image: SIX Australian Cast 2021-23. Photographer: James Morgan – Getty Images
SIX The Musical returns to Australia in 2024, playing at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre from August, Theatre Royal Sydney from October and at QPAC’s Playhouse in Brisbane from January 2025.
Image: Sweeney Todd at Sydney Opera House. Phiotographer: Daniel Boud
Once, there was a barber who had it all — a happy life, a beautiful wife. But it all ended in a savage act of betrayal. Enter Sweeney Todd, “the demon barber of Fleet Street”. From Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler, gothic horror masterpiece Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street arrives at Art Centre Melbourne’s Playhouse from 14-21 September, conducted by Phoebe Briggs.
This co-production with New Zealand Opera has already played seasons in Wellington, Auckland and most recently at the Sydney Opera House.
Audra McDonald, international singing phenomenon, Broadway superstar, television and film star, will be heading to Australia in May 2024, performing concerts in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
Coming in 2025
Michael Cassel Group, Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures and Langley Park Productions will present the eight-time Tony Award-nominated hit musical BEETLEJUICE exclusively in Melbourne at the Regent Theatre in April 2025.
BEETLEJUICE features an original score by Melbourne’s own Eddie Perfect which earned him a Tony Award nomination.
MJ The Musical
Myles Frost as Michael Jackson in the original Broadway production of MJ. Photographer: Matthew Murphy
Michael Cassel, with original Broadway producers Lia Vollack, John Branca and John McClain will present the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit MJ will playing its Australian premiere at the Sydney Lyric Theatre in February 2025.
MJ takes the audience back to 1992 and inside the creation of the iconic Dangerous World Tour. The production goes beyond the singular moves and signature sound of the star, offering a rare look at the creative mind and collaborative spirit that catapulted Michael Jackson into legendary status.
Photographer: Wenell Teodoro
A hit at the 2023 Brisbane Festival, new Australian musical Bananaland received a Sydney showing in January.
Brian Adamson wrote of the world premiere in Brisbane, that “in wild, wacky and colourful mode, popular song writer and performer Kate Miller-Heidke and writer Keir Nuttall's venture into the world of musical comedy, a juxtaposition between punk rock music and kiddie entertainment.
“Based on their own experiences as touring musicians and parents, this high-camp caper had the audience giggling with glee at its satirical dig at life on the road leading to the bright lights of television.
“Includes a vast array of quips, wit, crudity and flamboyance as well as touches of good ol' Australian meat pie and sauce' humour.
“A show well worth a visit (ironically, without the kids!)”
Bananaland played at Riverside Theatre Parramatta as part of the Sydney Festival, from January 3 to 14.
Photographer: Daniel Boud
Following successful seasons in Sydney and Melbourne, Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Boublil and Schönberg’s musical Miss Saigon is headed to Adelaide for a summer season from January 2. Featuring an extraordinary cast of talented performers from across the Asia-Pacific region, Miss Saigon will play at the Festival Theatre for a strictly limited season.
Miss Saigon’s Australian cast is led by Seann Miley Moore as the Engineer, Abigail Adriano as Kim, Nigel Huckle as Chris, Kerrie Anne Greenland as Ellen, Laurence Mossman as Thuy, and Kimberley Hodgson as Gigi.
After opening in Sydney in 2023, Miss Saigon played a Melbourne season at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne, before heading to Adelaide, where it played through January 28, 2024.