To Remind You Of My Love: London's Love Affair With The American Musical


Laura MacDonald


Beyond comparing New York City and London’s vastly different new musical development pipelines, this article explores the power and presence of American musicals in London, to evaluate what they offer the industry and audiences. Regional and not-for-profit theatres Off-Broadway and across the United States develop new musicals to fill important slots in their seasons, generating profits that can be re-invested in further programming, and London has become an additional distribution center for such musicals. Their London replicas are a far more calculated risk for the British producers who fund their West End premieres than the risky development of new British musicals. London’s fringe venues, many of which are less well-equipped than West End theatres, take risks to revive American classics. These older musicals have also proven popular with some of London’s most creative and ambitious directors, who look to American musicals for inspiration rather than staging new British musicals. Despite the long-runs of homegrown hits such as Mamma Mia! and Billy Elliot, theatregoers in London frequently have a greater choice of American musicals than British musicals to attend. The commitment of London venues, theatre practitioners, and audiences to American musicals confirms the degree to which musical theatre in the nation’s capital is dominated by American shows.

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