Sunday, January 1, 2017

Upcoming in 2017

Happy 2017!

Yesterday, the last day of 2016, I listed my top four musical performances of the previous year. Today, it's time to take a look at the future with another top four list – the musicals I'm most looking forward to in 2017.

Jekyll & Hyde, Teater Vorpommern, Germany


Photo by Vincent Leifer

Longtime readers know this story already. I and my two friends went to Greifswald, Germany to see Jekyll & Hyde and everything went wrong. This March, we'll travel to Greifswald again, in the hopes that the show will not be cancelled this time.

To quote my friend Rami: "We didn’t go to Greifswald and back for nothing, except we totally did". We've seen video of Chris Murray as Jekyll and Hyde, we know how amazing he can be in the roles. And soon, we'll attempt to see him live again.

I'm excited but mostly nervous. I think I shall relax only after the lights have dimmed and the show has begun. It's a long way to Greifswald and a long day there before we'll see if the show is on. Fingers crossed.

Nahkatakkinen tyttö, Lappeenrannan kaupunginteatteri


Photo: lprteatteri.fi

This is a bit of an outlier on this list. A high school and a professional theatre combining their forces for a new production of a jukebox musical based on the songs of the Finnish 80s band Dingo.

The thing is, Nahkatakkinen tyttö is such a great jukebox musical it really makes me forget it's jukebox at all. It feels like the songs have been written for the plot, centered around a group of high school kids spending a weekend in a cabin where something dark has happened, instead of the other way around.

So far, I've seen this performed by two high schools (it was originally written for one of them) – and no matter how talented the performers, it's always a bit awkward when teens play adults. So I'm glad to see a coproduction with adults in the adult roles and teens playing teens. I've been hoping for such a cooperation to happen for a while, and this spring, my wish comes true.

Les Misérableses


Picture: smot.se

In autumn 2017, Les Mis is popping up everywhere around Northern Europe: Smålands Musik & Teater, Jönköping, Sweden; Teater Vanemuine, Tarto, Estonia; Folketeateret, Oslo, Norway; MCH Musicals, Herning, Denmark...

I doubt I'm going to be able to see all of these in 2017, though they're all interesting in their own ways. So far, I've booked my tickets to one of them: I'll be seeing the premiere of the new Swedish production. It'll be a replica of the Karlstad production I last praised in my best of 2016 text, but with at least partially new casting. Not much is known about the production yet, but with the right cast, it might be quite wonderful – the direction is certainly good enough to bear replicating. We'll see!

I also find the new Estonian production very interesting since it'll be directed by Samuel Harjanne, who has acted in three different Finnish productions of the musical, first as Gavroche and then as Enjolras and other barricade boys. I'll be curious to see how his direction will be like and really hope I can fit it in my 2017 schedule, too.

Cats, Tampereen Teatteri 


Photo by Henri Mattila

Cats is one of the first musicals I fell in love with, so I'm happy that it's coming back to my home country. This new production, directed by Georg Malvius, will give the material a brand-new spin: the show will be narrated by a rat. It's interesting to see how that'll work out – glad to hear that Andrew Lloyd Webber approves of such bold reimagining of the classic megamusical.

Remembering Malvius's version of Hair, with some rearranging of the songs and scenes to make the whole musical more story-driven... I doubt the rat is going to be the only alteration here. It's interesting to see how Malvius's Cats, another musical that traditionally has hardly any plot, is going to play out.

Everything we've heard of the production so far sounds good, so I'm eagerly looking forward to this one. I bet it's going to be a lot of fun.

So, onwards to 2017! May the new year be filled with happy moments and fun experiences, theatrical and otherwise, for all of us.

Related posts: Best of 2016, Nahkatakkinen tyttö (Finnish only)

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