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The cast of Wicked NY
Photograph: Supplied/Joan Marcus

The best musicals in Sydney

Here are our picks of Sydney's biggest all-singing, all-dancing stage spectaculars

Alannah Le Cross
Written by
Alannah Le Cross
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Look sharp, triple threats! Sydney is a hotbed for showstoppers, with major musicals passing through our theatres every month, including both homegrown gems and large-scale spectacle from Broadway and the West End. These are all the biggest shows that are either currently playing or coming our way in the next year or so.

RECOMMENDED: Check out our tips for scoring cheap tickets and our latest reviews of Sydney shows.

Musical theatre in Sydney

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Darling Harbour

This is it, we have found the yassification of Shakespeare. Fuelled by a playlist of certified pop hits, this jukebox romp billed as “the greatest love story ever remixed” poses a simple but provocative question: What if, instead of joining Romeo in eternal slumber, Juliet decided to live? A contagiously joyous musical spectacular, & Juliet has finally landed at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre after being met with critical acclaim on Broadway and the West End, not to mention the rapturously received Australian debut in Melbourne.  Filled with sing-a-long-able chart-topping bangers made famous by the likes of Britney Spears, The Backstreet Boys, Katy Perry and more from the songbook of Grammy-winning Swedish songwriter/producer Max Martin, the Aussie cast is overflowing with talent in this feel-good, flashy production. & Juliet is Shakespeare remixed for the girls, the gays and the theys... [but does it] really cut it as the feminist reclamation that we are promised? Will you be entertained? Absolutely. Does & Juliet set a new standard for jukebox musicals? Yes. Will you see one of the most diverse and charismatic casts of triple-threats ever assembled on an Australian stage? Heck yeah. Does the story deliver on the feminist retribution we are promised? Not quite. “What if Juliet didn’t kill herself?” Anne Hathaway (played by the enthralling Amy Lehpamer) posits to her husband, William Shakespeare (the ever-charming Rob Mills). “She’s only ever had one boyfriend, and frankly, the endi

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Sydney

Whether arriving via a luxurious water taxi or taking a leisurely stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens, the journey to Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is as picturesque as the setting itself. Each year, a vibrant theatrical hub emerges, complete with a five-storey pop-up bar and dining venue with a variety of offerings, ranging from cheerful pizzas, hotdogs and pies to decadent three-course feasts. This annual event embodies the very essence of spectacle, and this year's performance of West Side Story (which makes an anticipated return to Mrs Macquries Chair after its 2019 debut) wows us while compelling us to wrestle with the stark relevance of its themes, both to Australia’s own history and the turf wars at play globally. Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical masterpiece West Side Story debuted on Broadway in 1957 and most recently got the Hollywood treatment by Steven Speilberg, to seven Oscar nominations. It’s a modern take on Shakepeare’s well-known tale of star crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, set in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City, during the 1950s. The Jets, a gang of All-American boys, are in a turf war with the Sharks, the new Puerto Rican immigrants on the block. When Maria (Nina Korbe) – the sister of the Sharks’ leader, Bernardo (Manuel Stark Santos) – and Tony (Billy Bourchier), a former Jet, lock eyes at the local dance, the rivalries escalate. You might assume that the open-air ambiance would diminish the impact of the ove

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  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Haymarket

Few musical references are as iconic as those from Grease. A simple "rama lama lama" or "a wop ba-ba lu-bop a wop bam boom!" may invoke joyful nostalgia, transporting you back to the first time you witnessed John Travolta's gyrating hips or “our” Olivia Newton-John's sweet Sandy smile. For me, it takes me back to my own high school musical experience. With my Pink Lady jacket and Pink Lady sunglasses, the Grease stage is where I first forged my life-long love affair with musical theatre and the passionate community that came with it. That is what musicals are forged on: passion – and this production of Grease: the Musical at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre has an infectious amount of it. Before the 1978 film adaptation cemented Grease’s place in the global pop culture consciousness, this show set in the working-class youth subculture of 1950s Chicago was first staged in 1971. Like any rebellious teen tale, Grease tapped into the angst of young people of the time; it had a '50s style and a '70s attitude. Everyone wanted to be as cool as Kenickie (played here with delectable zeal by Keanu Gonzalez, who has also appeared in Hamilton and West Side Story), as bold as Rizzo (the eye-catching triple threat Mackenzie Dunn, as seen in Hairspray), or as sweet as the nervous Doody (Tom Davis). There were definitely elements of my high school production that built my confidence, brought me out of my shell, and changed my perspective – but the plot wasn't one of them. The musical numbers were jo

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Sydney

For many of us, our first introduction to The Rocky Horror Show involved a beaten up VHS tape and an exhilarating brew of conflicting feelings about Tim Curry’s iconic fishnet-stocking-clad role as Frank-N-Furter – the cross-dressing mad scientist alien from Transsexual, Transylvania. Beyond its immortalisation in the cult classic 1975 film, this rollicking rock’n’roll musical has been continuously on a stage somewhere in the world ever since it premiered to a small London audience in 1973 – and while today’s slick mainstage productions are a far cry from its grungy roots, there’s still no denying the appeal of doing ‘The Time Warp’ again. After touring around the country, Australia’s 50th anniversary production of Rocky Horror has taken a jump to the left (and a step to the right) to land back at Sydney’s Theatre Royal, about a year after it premiered at the same venue in the same month as Sydney WorldPride, with a couple of notable cast changes this time. It appears that the time on the road has done this company a world of good; the cast take to the stage with a more relaxed and playful energy as they tackle this risqué, silly, borderline-pantomime musical.  Former Australian of the Year and Paralympian Dylan Alcott is a delight to witness in his stage acting debut as The Narrator. With good humour, an ability to roll with the punches, and an injection of signature charm, Alcott nails the difficult-to-pin-down prerequisites to fill this role. The Narrator must be someone a

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  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Darlington

Following the commanding Broadway Revival in 2023 starring Ben Platt and a sell-out season in Melbourne, Tony Award-winning musical Parade is coming to dock in the Harbour City. Hitting the Sydney stage in May 2024, Parade is a moving examination of one of the darkest episodes of America's history. With a book by acclaimed playwright Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy) and a rousing, colourful and haunting score by Jason Robert Brown (Songs for a New World, The Last Five Years, Bridges of Madison County), this is the true story of an unsolved murder that divided a nation. Set in 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 and bigotry, and a mistrial, result in Frank’s condemnation by a conservative community still grappling with the aftermath of the 1906 Atlanta race riots. A sensationalist publisher fans the flames of religious paranoia to demonise and scapegoat Frank – coupled with a janitor’s false testimony, Frank’s fate is sealed. His only defenders are a governor who risks being politically ostracised for following their conscience, and his Southern Jewish wife who finds the strength and love to become his greatest champion. “Bringing this production of Parade to Sydney in 2024 is thrilling for us as a company,” said director Mark Taylor (Next to Normal, Rent). “Now, more than ever before, it feels

  • Theatre
  • Musicals

Get ready to pop, six, squish – the musical on everybody’s lips is heading for Sydney with a star-spangled cast. Chicago will razzle dazzle its way to the Harbour City's lush Capitol Theatre in June 2024 after doing time in Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne. Pre-sale for the Sydney season starts on October 9, with general public sales from Friday, October 13 (spooky!).  Returning to the stage to play the powerful and glamorous Velma Kelly is Zoë Ventoura. After starting her career on the musical theatre stage, Ventoura spent many years working on television and in film, and is best known for her roles as Mel Rafter in the original cast of Packed To The Rafters and as Dr Alex Nielson in Home and Away. Joining her as the irreverent and determined Roxie Hart is musical theatre star Lucy Maunder, fresh from playing the role of Mrs Banks in Mary Poppins. Maunder has shone in many musical productions including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fun Home, Matilda: The Musical, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Grease and Pippin. One of Australian theatre’s greatest leading men, Anthony Warlow, will step into the shoes of the cunning and charismatic lawyer Billy Flynn. A beloved and prolific star on Broadway and across Australia, Warlow’s notable musical theatre roles include lead roles in The Phantom of the Opera, The Wizard of Oz, Annie, The Secret Garden, Guys and Dolls, My Fair Lady, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Les Misérables. As Roxie’s gullible and haples

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  • Theatre
  • Musicals

Whoopi Goldberg had us laughing in the (church) aisles with her epic performance in the 1992 movie Sister Act, and now it's time to do it all again – with more pizzazz! Praise be, the hilarious and heavenly stage musical inspired by the cult flick is finally heading Down Under. After receiving all the praise and five Tony award nominations on Broadway, Sister Act will be hitting up London’s West End (again) in May this year before touring Sydney's Capitol Theatre in August and Melbourne’s Regent Theatre in November. Sister Act follows the story of Deloris, a quick-witted disco diva who witnesses a murder and must go into witness protection. Of all places, she winds up in a holy covenant, and must don the habit along with the nuns who reside there. Her difficult journey of adjusting to sisterly life and reviving the covenant’s choir is what brings all the fun and humour to this show.  With songs inspired by Motown, soul and disco, the musical is known as an all round feel-good show, and this is the first time it’s gracing Australian shores. Lucky us!  This production from John Frost for Crossroads Live still has to do its thing in the UK before we get to bask in all its glory, so all the official details like the cast list, ticketing and specific dates still remain a mystery. Stay tuned for updates, but in the meantime you can join the waitlist for tickets before they go on sale on February 29. RECOMMENDED READS:  We checked out the Aussie premiere of Groundhog Day The Musical

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Musicals

Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived… Holy Six! Australia can’t get enough of Six the Musical. The pop-powered global phenomenon has already had multiple record-breaking seasons across the country. And now, due to popular demand, the disgraced wives of King Henry VIII are warming up their voices for another lap Down Under. The tour is kicking off at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre from August 2024, before hitting the Sydney stage at the Theatre Royal from October 2024, and bringing it home at QPAC’s Playhouse in Brisbane from January 2025.  Have you had enough of modern royal gossip? Hanging your head in shame over those cracks about Princess Kate secretly getting a BBL? Distract yourself with this modern twist on British Tudor history, it’s packed with pop bangers so catchy that they’ll flush any other thoughts out of your head. As our critic described it in their four-star review: “What if the Spice Girls did a concept album about King Henry VIII’s wives, and Baz Luhrmann directed the concert video?”  That, in a nutshell, is the vibe. More like an 80-minute concert than a traditional musical, Six has become a cultural phenomenon since its premiere in 2017, redefining the boundaries of musical theatre and engaging audiences of all ages. Every year, it is seen by over 3.5 million people worldwide.  The premise is sort of hilarious: all six women who married old mate Henry are forming a pop band, and they’re battling it out to determine who will be crowned the lea

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  • Theatre
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Music theatre fans, hold onto your hats. A new production of a beloved Andrew Lloyd Webber classic is coming our way – and it's bringing a revered star soprano. Sunset Boulevard will shine with the glitz of old Hollywood in a brand new lavish production at the Sydney Opera House for a strictly limited season in August 2024, starring the one-and-only Sarah Brightman. If her name is familiar, it's because she was the *original* Christine Daae in The Phantom of the Opera on both the West End and Broadway. The British international superstar has since gained global acclaim as a beloved soprano and recording artist, and is now returning to the stage to play her first role in a musical in more than three decades – right here in Australia. Brightman will play the lead role of Norma Desmond in this lavish production from Opera Australia and GWB Entertainment, a character made famous by Glenn Close in the Tony award-winning musical. (Does the phrase "Mr. DeMille, I’m Ready for My Close Up!" sound familiar to you?)  Based on the 1950s film noir by Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard features music by prolific composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (the mastermind behind treasured musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, Evita and more) and a book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton. The original 1994 Broadway production won six Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Book, and had the highest ever ticket pre-sales in Broadway history at the time. The new Austr

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