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London theatre for 2019 – shows not to miss

Our pick of the best London plays and musicals coming up and booking now

The Doctor, Almeida Theatre, 2019, Robert Icke
© Nadav Kander Juliet Stevenson
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Want to know which London theatre shows, plays and musicals you should be booking for in 2019? Let us make it easy for you with our list of the 19 shows we think will be best in 2019, in the West End and beyond.

It will be updated throughout the year.

SEE ALSO: the best new shows in London this month

1
Sheridan Smith, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, London Palladium 2019
Theatre, Musicals

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

icon-location-pin London Palladium, Soho
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Musical theatre legend Andrew Lloyd Webber has come over all nostalgic and is bringing back his first ever hit: the epic, Biblically-inspired 'Joseph'. Sheridan Smith will take on the role of Narrator, her first stage role since ‘Funny Girl’, and former star of the show Jason Donovan will return to it as the Pharaoh.

2
The Night of the Iguana, 2019, Clive Owen Lia Williams, Julian Glover, Anna Gunn
Theatre, Drama

The Night of the Iguana

icon-location-pin Noël Coward Theatre, Covent Garden
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It’s been 19 years since Clive Owen acted on the West End stage and almost as long since London saw a major revival of Tennessee Williams’s brooding classic ‘The Night of the Iguana’. Now big Brit star Owen will take on the role of Rev T Lawrence Shannon, a disgraced priest now plying his trade as a second rate Mexican tour guide. He's joined by Lia Williams, Anna Gunn and Julian Glover.

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3
Tree, Young Vic, Idris Elba
© Marc Brenner
Theatre, Drama

Tree

icon-location-pin Young Vic, Southwark
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Idris Elba is the big draw in this Young Vic-Manchester International Festival co-production, even if he doesn’t actually star in ‘Tree’. Co-created by the ‘Luther’ star and Young Vic boss Kwame Kwei-Armah, the show is ‘a thrilling journey in search of the soul and spirit of contemporary South Africa’ that’s soundtracked by Elba’s 2014 album ‘Mi Mandela’. 

4
Appropriate, Donmar Warehouse, 2019
Theatre, Drama

Appropriate

icon-location-pin Donmar Warehouse, Seven Dials
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For the second show in Longhurst’s first season at the Donmar, Ola Ince directs the UK premiere of the brillian Brenden Jacob-Jenkins’s ‘Appropriate’, a provocative family reunion drama in which the white Lafayette family make a shocking discovery in their late father’s home. Recent Olivier-winner Monica Dolan stars as Toni.

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5
Evita, Regent's Park Open Theatre, 2019
Theatre, Outdoor theatres

Evita

icon-location-pin Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park
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In a big year for the back catalogue of Andrew Lloyd Webber, this looks set to be the most exciting entry: Jamie Lloyd follows up his marathon Pinter at the Pinter project by giving Lloyd Webber’s epic about Argentinean leader Eva Peron its first new London production in over a decade…

6
The Doctor, Almeida Theatre, 2019, Robert Icke
© Nadav Kander
Theatre, Drama

The Doctor

icon-location-pin Almeida Theatre, Islington
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The brilliant director Robert Icke bows out of his job as Rupert Goold’s deputy at the Almeida with ‘The Doctor’. The play is an adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s ‘Professor Bernhardi’, though this time Icke’s adaptation is so free that it’s been being billed as a world premiere. Juliet Stevenson and Ria Zmitrowicz star in a drama about a physician whose compassionate decision to shield a patient from the terminal nature of her illness sparks off a catastrophic chain of events.

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7
A Very Expensive Poison, Old Vic, Lucy Prebble
Theatre, Drama

A Very Expensive Poison

icon-location-pin Old Vic, Waterloo
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Lucy Prebble finally returns with ‘A Very Expensive Poison’, which the Old Vic announced aeons ago but now finally has dates and a director. John Crowley will helm a work based upon Luke Harding’s book about the poisoning of Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko: it’s being billed as a sort of surreal spy thriller, but expect the unexpected from the author of the landmark ‘ENRON’.

8
Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag at the Big Belly, Underbelly.
© Richard Davenport
Theatre, Drama

Fleabag

icon-location-pin Wyndham's Theatre, Charing Cross Road
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Phoebe Waller-Bridge dusts off the genius 2013 monologue that kicked her career into overdrive for one, final West End run.

Time Out says
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9
Mamma Mia! The Party
© Dewynters
Theatre, Interactive

Mamma Mia! The Party

icon-location-pin The O2, Greenwich Peninsula
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Björn Ulvaeus’s immersive experience ‘Mamma Mia! The Party’ his a night of eating, drinking and Abba songs set in a taverna on the same Greek island as the smash hit musical ‘Mamma Mia!’…

10
'Our Lady of Kibeho' at Theatre Royal Stratford East
Theatre, Drama

Our Lady of Kibeho

icon-location-pin Theatre Royal Stratford East, Stratford
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US playwright Katori Hall's 'The Mountaintop' was a smash-hit story of Martin Luther King that won an Olivier Award in 2010. After its success, director James Dacre is putting on another of her plays, 'Our Lady of Kibeho'. Set at a Christian school in the years before the Rwandan genocide, it follows a young girl who has a vision that terrible things will happen…

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11
Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp. Caryl Churchill, Royal Court 2019
Theatre, Experimental

Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp.

icon-location-pin Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square
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Britain’s greatest living playwright Caryl Churchill is back at her usual haunt the Royal Court with four short plays. We know nothing about them, other than that they’re such to be extraordinary.

12
Two Ladies, Bridge Theatre 2019
Theatre, Drama

Two Ladies

icon-location-pin Bridge Theatre, Tower Bridge
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Zoë Wanamaker and Zrinka Cvitešić stars as Hélène and Sophia, the first ladies of France and the US, in this new drama from Nancy Harris that sees the two women firnd themselves alone together in a side room, unsure if they're friends or enemies. Exactly what bearing this has on the current first ladies of the two countries remains to be seen, though the fact Croatian actor Cvitešić has been cast as (one assumes) the US first lady suggest the character is intended to have a Melania Trump vibe, given the IRL first lady is from neighbouring Slovenia. Bridge boss Nicholas Hytner directs.

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13
'Mary Poppins' returns to the West End in 2019
© Seamus Ryan
Theatre, Musicals

Mary Poppins

icon-location-pin Prince Edward Theatre, Soho
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Brolly-clutching supernanny Mary Poppins is floating back into the West End in late 2019, with the return of Disney and Cameron Mackintosh's musical after an international tour, and capitalising on the recent success of the film sequel. 

14
The Watsons, Menier, 2019
Theatre, Drama

The Watsons

icon-location-pin Menier Chocolate Factory, Southwark
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This is a nice little coup for the Menier, as it secures the London premiere of Laura Wade’s acclaimed, arch Jane Austen adaptation ‘The Watsons’. It follows 19-year-old Emma Watson, who has been cut off by her rich aunt and sent back to the family home. Fortunately, there are plenty of eligible suitors in town. Unfortunately, Austen didn’t finish the book - suddenly a writer called Laura is tasked with resolving everyone’s fates…

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15
Dear Evan Hansen, Broadway cast 2018
© Matthew Murphy
Theatre, Musicals

Dear Evan Hansen

icon-location-pin Noël Coward Theatre, Covent Garden
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It feels like 2019 is the year every single hit Broadway musical of the last three years descends upon London. Following hot on the heels of ‘Waitress’, ‘9 to 5’ and ‘Come from Away’, here’s tearjerking Tony-winner ‘Dear Evan Hansen’. Written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, with a book by Steven Levenson, the musical concerns the eponymous troubled teen…

16
& Juliet, Max Martin
Theatre, Musicals

& Juliet

icon-location-pin Shaftesbury Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue
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Superstar Swedish songwriter Max Martin has probably done more to shape the contemporary pop landscape than any human being aliveBut what storyline to hang two decades of eclectic chart-toppers off? Here’s your answer: ‘& Juliet’ is a reimagining of the events of Shakespeare’s tragic romance ‘Romeo & Juliet’ in which Juliet opts not to top herself at the end and instead heads off to France on a roadtrip of self-discovery…

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17
Solaris, Lyric Hammersmith, 2019
Theatre, Drama

Solaris

icon-location-pin Lyric Hammersmith, Hammersmith
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This is a pretty thrilling prospect: super-adaptor David Greig tackles Stanisław Lem’s seminal 1961 sci-fi novel. In the future, scientist Kris Kelvin – in the novel a man, here a woman – is sent to a neglected space station hovering over an eerie planet inhabited by a single lifeform: an inscutable living ocean…

18
Ghost Quartet, Boulevard Theatre
Theatre, Musicals

Ghost Quartet

icon-location-pin Boulevard Theatre, Soho
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This Poe-indebted song-cycle of musical ghost stories – performed by the titular four-piece band – is an early work from Dave Malloy, best known for his out there Broadway hit ‘Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812’. Unlike that show, ‘Ghost Quartet’ is finally getting a London premiere: as the inaugural production at the new Boulevard Theatre in Soho. 

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19
Fairview, Young Vic 2019
Theatre, Drama

Fairview

icon-location-pin Young Vic, Southwark
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Young Vic associate director Nadia Latif finally gets a shot at the theatre’s main house as she helms up the UK premiere of US playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury’s metatheatrical race drama, which presents us with a scene of a black family that it proceeds to mercilessly subvert. 

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