It looks like Manchester is in for another huge year of theatre in 2019 – and possibly the biggest one yet.
For the first time ever, The Book of Mormon is leaving its West End home with Manchester confirmed as the first UK city outside London the production will visit.
And joining it are a host of critically acclaimed hits, cult classics and top band tributes – so there really is something for everyone.
Alexandra Burke will be returning to the stage in her lead role in The Bodyguard – while The Band, starring BBC1’s Let It Shine winners Five to Five, is set to appear at The Lowry. And if that wasn’t enough, Les Mis is making a triumphant return a decade after its last sold out tour.
Here’s our pick of the best shows confirmed for Manchester in 2019 so far.
The Rocky Horror Show
Get ready to do the The Time Warp again as cult classic The Rocky Horror Show kicks off 2019 in Manchester. Richard O’Brien’s hit musical returns to The Opera House with Coronation Street legend Beverley Callard as the Narrator – exclusively for Manchester only. Joining the Corrie star are Strictly champion Joanne Clifton as Janet and a1’s Ben Adams as Brad. Prepare for pelvic thrusts, fancy dress, gold hot pants and sweet transvestites! The Opera House, 9th – 26th January.
Starring Five to Five, winners of BBC’s Let It Shine, The Band features the music of Take That, Britain’s most successful boyband ever. Following the journey of five 16 year-old girls, this heartwarming yet emotional story written by Olivier Award winner Tim Firth features hit tracks Never Forget, Back for Good, A Million Love Songs, Greatest Day, The Flood, Relight My Fire, Shine, and Rule the World and has quickly become a massive musical success. The Lowry, 16th – 26th January.
With equal measures of comedy and heart, the smash hit musical Jersey Boys is back on tour. This acclaimed production, which tells the real life story of four boys on the wrong side of the tracks who go on to sell over 100 million records worldwide, has won over 57 theatrical awards, including an Olivier Award and Best New Musical. Featuring legendary hits Beggin’, December 1963 – Oh What A Night, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Walk Like a Man, Bye Bye Baby and Big Girls Don’t Cry. Palace Theatre, 29th January – 9th February.
We’re all seen the film – but for two weeks only this West End production of Annie arrives in Manchester. Set in 1930’s New York during the Great Depression, little Annie suffers a life of misery at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage but finds her luck changing when she spends Christmas with a famous billionaire. Starring award-winning actress Anita Dobson – best known for EastEnders, Wicked, Chicago and Call The Midwife – as the evil Miss Hannigan. The Opera House, 2nd February – 16th February.
Les Miserables follows a man’s bid for freedom after serving 19 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread for his sister’s starving child. And after nearly 10 years since its last sellout UK tour, the acclaimed musical is back and bigger than ever. Based on the 1862 novel by Victor Hugo, the production includes classic songs I Dreamed A Dream, Do You Hear The People Sing?, On My Own, Bring Him Home, One More Day and many more. Palace Theatre, 19th February – 9th March.
The King and I
Fresh from a sold out season at The London Palladium, The King and I is embarking on a UK tour, kicking off in Manchester this April. An all-time classic from the golden age of musicals, this production stars Jose Llana and Annalene Beechey and was named the theatrical event of 2018. With a score including Whistle a Happy Tune, Getting to Know You and Shall We Dance – this romantic musical set in Bangkok tells the story of an unconventional love between the King of Siam and a British school teacher. Opera House, 26th April – 11th May.
The House on Cold Hill
No.1 best-selling author Peter James is back with the world premiere of his spine-chilling thriller, The House on Cold Hill. The modern day supernatural thriller uses modern technology in a creative and unique haunting unlike any other. Featuring EastEnders and I’m a Celeb’s Rita Simons and Strictly Come Dancing 2017 winner Joe McFadden, the story follows a family who move into the house of their dreams, which quickly becomes their nightmares as they discover they’re not alone. Opera House, 13th – 18th May.
The Book of Mormon
Since its London debut in 2013, the smash hit musical The Book of Mormon has never ventured out of the West End – until now. After its huge success in the capital, the production is finally on the move and heading for Manchester. Written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone – the creators of South Park – the musical comedy follows two missionaries from Salt Lake City sent to spread the word of God to a Ugandan village. Palace Theatre, 6th June – 6th July.
Starring X Factor winner Alexandra Burke, the international award-winning musical based on the blockbuster film revisits Manchester this June. Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard Frank Farmer is hired to protect music superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. This romantic thriller features a medley of classic songs including Queen of the Night, So Emotional, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, Run to You, I Have Nothing, Greatest Love Of All, Million Dollar Bill, I Wanna Dance With Somebody and I Will Always Love You. Alexandra Burke will perform the role of Rachel Marron at evening performances only. Palace Theatre, 10th December – 4th January.