Best theater to see in 2023, from A Little Life to Pillow Man

Clockwise from top: Jenna Coleman and Aidan Turner, Lily Allen and the cast of 'A Little Life' in 'Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons' (Jason Bell/Getty/Charlie Gray)

Clockwise from top: Jenna Coleman and Aidan Turner, Lily Allen and the cast of ‘A Little Life’ in ‘Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons’ (Jason Bell/Getty/Charlie Gray)

Sophisticated literary adaptations, top-notch actors, brilliant new musicals, fresh writing, and innovative take on the classics: 2023 looks like a seriously promising year for theater fans. Read on for our picks of the year’s most intriguing upcoming shows.

A Little Life

'A Little Life' cast (Charlie Gray)

‘A Little Life’ cast (Charlie Gray)

Trauma porn? The greatest novel ever written? Everyone has a strong opinion about Hanya Yanagihara’s 500+ page story about four boyfriends who are going through brutally bad times. James Norton plays the holy grail character Jude, although many people think he’s more of a Willem. Ivo van Hove’s stage adaptation, which is now premiering in English, took four hours in Edinburgh – not a life so short as a very long evening. Jessie Thompson

March 25 – June 18, Harold Pinter Theater

Men and Babies

Now this is something interesting. Bridge Theater loves to take audiences to new worlds with their gripping productions, but what happens when one of the most beloved musicals of all time is given this treatment? In the new build of Bridge Men and BabiesIn , viewers will be transported to the shadowy world of Depression-era New York, a world full of crap games and hot box girls. Why don’t you get dressed and bring your hat and dice with you? Have a night! isobel lewis

March 3 – September 2, Bridge Theater


Maggie O’Farrell wins the 2020 Women’s Fiction Award for her historical resurrection of Shakespeare’s lost son Hamnet – possibly the inspiration for Hamlet. A stage adaptation of Lolita Chakrabarti is now in progress (recently Life of Pi The staging for the Royal Shakespeare Company was a success and will appropriately have its world premiere in Stratford-upon-Avon. Directed by Erica Whyman, RSC’s acting artistic director, the production will mark the Swan Theater’s first after a three-year renovation. JT

April 1 – June 17, RSC’s Swan Theater

Motive and Sign

Richard Burton and John Gielgud (National Theatre)

Richard Burton and John Gielgud (National Theatre)

In 1964, John Gielgud directed Richard Burton as Hamlet on Broadway. In 2020 Sam Mendes found two out-of-print books about the historical production, called playwright Jack Thorne and suggested it would be a good play. The play, directed by Mendes and starring Johnny Flynn as Burton, Mark Gatiss as Gielgud, and Tuppence Middleton as Elizabeth Taylor, will now be released at the National Theater in the spring. A theatrical dream. JT

State Theater from April 20


Kate Prince’s hip-hop musical, four years after work in progress Sylvia finally opening in London. The lesser-known Pankhurst sister – “feminist, activist, pacifist, socialist, rebel” – Hamilton Beverley Knight, last seen stealing the show Sibling Act and the otherwise warm jukebox musical Drift Girl, playing the more famous sibling Emmeline. A show that promises to present the struggle for women’s rights in a new light. province

January 27 – April 1, Old Vic

lemon lemon lemon lemon lemon lemon

Aidan Turner and Jenna Coleman will star in Sam Steiner's (Jason Bell) play.

Aidan Turner and Jenna Coleman will star in Sam Steiner’s (Jason Bell) play.

This cult favorite of the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe game – lemon x5, if you’re cool – would you have a second life as a starred West End show? Aidan Turner and Jenna Coleman star in Sam Steiner’s dystopian romantic comedy about a world where we are all limited to 140 words a day. Josie Rourke will direct a limited series of nine weeks. JT

January 18 – March 18, Harold Pinter Theater

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

In Bath, Theater Royal will once again bring Edward Albee’s much-loved drama to the stage. Elizabeth McGovern and Dougray Scott play professor George and his wife, Martha, while Charles Aitken and Gina Bramhill play young lovebirds (or so it seems) Nick and Honey. Expect fights, arguments and lots of horror. province

13 January – 11 February, Theater Royal Bath

Shirley Valentine

Sheridan Smith to star in 'Shirley Valentine' (Raw PR)

Sheridan Smith to star in ‘Shirley Valentine’ (Raw PR)

More cheering announcements have been made than that: Sheridan Smith will return to the stage to star in Willy Russell’s one-man play about an underappreciated housewife who dreams of getting her life back. Smith has the rare combination of comedy, serious acting chops, and instant likability that make this such a hot ticket already – it was extended to a 15-week run due to demand. JT

February 17 – June 3, Duke of York’s Theater


In recent years, Jerwood Upstairs at the Royal Court has staged some of the most interesting, pushy theaters on the scene. You can expect more exciting work in 2023, but what fascinates me particularly Gracelandnew game I’ll still be whole (when you cut me in two) by Ava Wong Davies. province

February 9 – March 11, Royal Court Jerwood Upper Floor

untitled f*ck m*ss s**gon play

In 2019, Kimber Lee was chosen brilliantly untitled f*ck m*ss s**gon play Won international category of Bruntwood Playwriting Award. The world premiere of his play, which draws on centuries-old Asian stereotypes in its storytelling, will be directed by Roy Alexander Weise at the Royal Exchange in Manchester in 2023. Coincidentally, the Sheffield Crucible will stage a major reenactment. Miss Saigon same time. JT

24 June – 22 July, Royal Exchange Manchester

The Great British Bake Off Musical

The real bakers of 'The Great British Bake Off' who will be getting a musical makeover (Channel 4)

The real bakers of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ who will be getting a musical makeover (Channel 4)

It’s easy to be sarcastic about it The Great British Bake Off Musicaldebuted at Cheltenham earlier this year. But this stage of the cookout contest promises to be as jolly as a Hollywood handshake and hopefully won’t make you cry for a bin with Ian’s Baked Alaska. As a great philosopher once said: Prepare, prepare… cook! province

February 25 – May 13, Noel Coward Theater

Pillow Man

This delayed the revival of Martin McDonagh’s terribly good – and also pretty gruesome – 2003 game. Pillow Man finally comes with an intriguing cast. Lily Allen will be returning to the West End after her debut nominated by Olivier. 2:22 A Ghost Story, as a character normally played by a male actor. Billy Crudup and David Tennant took on the role of Katurian, an imprisoned writer who previously wrote violent children’s stories. It will be fascinating to see what Allen does with a more assertive role, but it’s also a rare chance to see a game that has been called one of the greatest of the 21st century. JT

June 10 – September 2, Duke of York’s Theater


@sohoplace (beautiful theater, terrible name) was the new kid in the West End in 2022. Next year it hopes to solidify itself as the best venue for exciting new writing and exciting animations. The full lineup has yet to be announced, but first place is Robinson Jeffers’ take on the Greek tragedy. medeaDirected by Dominic Cooke, starring Sophie Okonedo and Ben Daniels. It will be fascinating to see a theatrical titan like Okonedo (literally) from a whole new perspective, with the drama unfolding on the tour. province

February 10 – April 22, @sohoplace

The Merchant of Venice 1936

Tracy-Ann Oberman to star in The Merchant of Venice 1936

Tracy-Ann Oberman to star in The Merchant of Venice 1936

Some of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Veniceshould no longer be done with the antisemitic characterization of Shylock. This Watford Palace Theater production, starring Tracy-Ann Oberman as Shylock as a widowed and single mother, is an electric response to the play’s disturbing elements. Set in 1930s London, on Cable Street, and inspired by Oberman’s own family background, the film stars Portia and Antonio as Oswald Mosley’s sidekicks. JT

27 February – 11 March national tour including Watford Palace Theatre, followed by Manchester HOME

Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus Shakespeare’s play has a reputation for being very likely to cause people to faint or vomit. That’s why the website Shakespeare’s Globe provided a highly detailed content alert for its upcoming production, which features events and themes of “anti-black racism, sexual assault and its consequences, extreme violence and bodily mutilation, cannibalism, rape, and self-mutilation.” . harm”. Jude Christian will direct an all-female cast in the Globe’s intimate Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. JT

19 January – 15 April, Shakespeare’s Globe

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