It’s that time of year again: transfer season.
Or at least it is in football…apparently…?
Basically, it’s not theatre or TV or even rugby. So I don’t massively care!
But on the plus side, it does serve as good-if-slightly-strained inspiration for a blog post: Fantasy ‘Featre (for non UK readers, read that in a cockney accent). So this is a Fantasy Football style transfer list for Broadway and West End shows. Not casts. Although that would be awesome. I would pay money to see the Hamilton cast doing Macbeth at the Globe. Or Les Mis (although that has already sort of happened. And vice versa). Basically I’d watch the Hamilton cast doing anything in London.
Before we kick off proceedings (get ready for the football puns), let’s have a look at notable confirmed transfers:
Aladdin– Already a big fan favourite in the States, Aladdin was nominated for five Tony Awards and scored one on the big night. Let’s see if it performs as well as its big brother: The Lion King. Opens 27th May, Prince Edward Theatre.
Hand to God– this is the closest I’ll come to an actual football pun, so get ready…Though it’s not quite as controversial as Maradona’s Hand of God, Hand to God promises an irreverent take on mainstream religion. But unlike Book of Mormon, they do it Avenue Q style with puppets. I’m seeing this tomorrow and will report back! Opened 5th February, Vaudeville Theatre.
And now onto the big game. Here are a few picks for transfers in 2016 and their odds as well:
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Having just finished playing
for at the Walter Kerr Theatre and starting a US tour (without OBC cast), surely the next sensible move would be to the West End? I’m amazed it hasn’t transferred already, given its stats alone: nine Tony nods and four wins, including Best Musical. And I believe I read a statistic somewhere which said every Best Musical has transferred…until this one…?
It’s a great show: witty, funny and a great concept. It does take the piss out of the English, yes, which American’s reacted well too. Would an English audience too? I did. Particularly the perhaps unintentionally funny: ‘It’s a bit much for Clapham’, said by a character in a ball gown. I can see it fitting well with The Play that Goes Wrong, so there is a place for it.
Odds: I’d say sure fire for at least a limited run. 5/1
I’m torn on this one.
It should be my favourite: Shakespeare, Christian Borle, Shakespeare puns, songs. And before I went to see it, I loved the idea of it. The execution, less so. Like A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, this was nominated for nine Tony Awards. Except Something Rotten! only won one and that was Borle for Best Actor. And I can see why. Yes, it has some amazing numbers like A Musical, but aside from that, the plot feels a bit hit and miss. Someone said it perfectly: like Kiss Me Kate, but less clever.
Can I see it working as a transfer? Yes and no. Yes, because it’s Shakespeare and it’s the 400th anniversary and it’s sort of like Spamalot which always goes down well. But also no and for one big reason: Americanisms. One of the big numbers hinges on the American (wrong) pronunciation of Renaissance. And when said in an English accent, it doesn’t scan. Or rhyme. So either: 1) they;d have to rewrite the songs, or 2) have the English characters have American accents despite playing in England…
Odds: It should transfer and hopefully with Boyle. 10/1
We already practially-really-really-hopefully-not-jinxing-it know that this should get a transfer. Mainly because it’s that good. But also Lin Manuel Miranda and Cameron Mackintosh are fueling those rumours.
So it’s not a question of it but when. 2016 seems too soon to mount this big a production. And to find the perfect space for it. Initially, I think the National’s Olivier with the Drum Revolve would work great, especially if my understanding of how 10 Duel Commandments goes. But then again: Hamilton? At the National? Not a great fit, production/company wise. And it’s also a question of with who? Could we get some of the Original Broadway Cast transferring? PLEASE!
Odds: transferring in 2016? Minimal. 75/1. 2017…? That’s another matter.
Other notable mentions:
Spring Awakening (Deaf West): 7/1, because it hasn’t been revived in the UK in a while and it would be great to continue making British theatre accessible to all.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch: 5/1, because it’s pretty much been confirmed by John Cameron Mitchell.
Frozen: 50/1, because news has only just broken about the broadway version, so not this year at least. The year after…well, let’s see how Aladdin does first.
And finally, what’ll the West End exchange for them?
Well…we’ve already given you a King and Country transfer with David Tennant (please send him back), and you’ve got Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber for Finding Neverland and School of Rock respectively (please keep them).
But I imagine you’ll probably get a Harry Potter and the Cursed Child transfer. Or would hope so, for any US Potterheads. Beyond that? I can’t see any play warranting a transfer just yet, ala War Horse or Curious Incident. Although on the musical front, there is a new adaptation of Groundhog Day by Tim Minchin, whose music and lyrics for Matilda got it the transfer. So we will see…
Any other shows from the US you think will transfer this year? The King and I, maybe?