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The BBC is hosting a huge musicals festival while theatres are shut

Catch the biggest West End stars performing musical theatre favourites at the three-day radio and TV festival

Rose Johnstone
Written by
Rose Johnstone

Got a huge, musical theatre-shaped hole in your life? The BBC is here to help. ‘Musicals: The Greatest Show’ – dropping on BBC Radio 2 on Sunday January 31 – will see some of the West End and Broadway’s biggest stars belting out musical theatre hits captured at the London Palladium. Then, later in February, it will broadcast them on BBC One and BBC iPlayer for you to watch.

Your host for the evening will be award-winning Sheridan Smith. She’ll perform the famous ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’ from ‘Funny Girl’ (if you saw her play the lead in the 2016 West End production, you’ll be as pumped for this as we are). There are too many other highlights to name, but here’s a smattering: the Tudor-tastic cast of ‘Six the Musical’ will perform ‘Six’, Michael Ball will unleash the rollicking ‘You Can’t Stop the Beat’ from ‘Hairspray’, Gavin Spokes will bring the laughs with ‘You’ll Be Back’ from ‘Hamilton’, plus there’ll be hits from ‘Dear Evan Hansen’, ‘Wicked’, ‘Dreamgirls’, ‘The Greatest Showman’ and more. 

Sheridan Smith said: ‘With so many amazing performers we’re going to hopefully bring some joy to all those at home, with the best songs to help lift the spirits in these very difficult times’. 

But that’s not all we’re getting. ‘Musicals: The Greatest Show’ is the centrepiece of a three-day festival called Radio 2 Celebrates Musicals. Expect everything from celebrity guest presenters (including Jason Donovan, who played the lead in ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’), interviews with musical stars and, from 1pm on Sunday, Elaine Page revealing the top 20 showtunes of all time, as voted by Radio 2 listeners. Voting has closed, but you can check out the shortlist here; will it be a classic like ‘Cabaret’ or ‘Over the Rainbow’? An epic belter like ‘Defying Gravity’ from ‘Wicked’ or a tear-jerker like ‘Gethsemane’ from ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’? You’ll have to listen to find out. 

We hope you've got forgiving neighbours, musical fans: your vocal chords are about to get a serious workout.

Tune into ‘Musicals: The Greatest Show’ on BBC Radio 2 at 7-9pm on Sunday January 31, or look out for it on BBC iPlayer in February.

Can’t wait for your theatre fix? Here are the best shows to stream right now

Check out when your favourite musical is due to return to London’s West End in 2021

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