Broadway’s AIN’T TWO PROUD and OKLAHOMA! Eyeing West End Transfers?

Baz Bamigboye for the Daily Mail has reported this week on two current Broadway musicals that are planning transfers to London.

Firstly, Bamigboye reports that director Des McAnuff (JERSEY BOYS) has been scouting London theatres for a West End transfer of The Temptation’s musical AIN’T TOO PROUD. Based on the memoir by founding member Otis Williams, AIN’T TOO PROUD – THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS is a bio-musical charing the group’s extraordinary journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The musical premiered at California’s Berkley Rep in 2017 where it became the highest-grossing musical in the theatre’s history. Try-outs followed in Washington DC, Los Angeles and Toronto before it opened at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre in March 2019. The Broadway production received twelve Tony Award nominations including Best Musical, winning one for Sergio Trujillo’s choreography.

Bamigboye reports that the West End transfer of AIN’T TOO PROUD could happen ‘late 2020 or sooner’.

Bamigboye also reported this week that Daniel Fish’s acclaimed reimagining of Rogers and Hammerstein’s OKLAHOMA! could be making it’s way to London.

Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the original production, Fish’s OKLAHOMA! was first presented at New York’s Bard College in 2015 before transferring Off-Broadway to Brooklyn’s St Ann’s Warehouse in 2018. Following critical and audience acclaim, the revival made its way to Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre in 2019 where it won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.

Daniel Fish’s OKLAHOMA! is presented in a more intimate, immersive style on Broadway. The production, set in a community hall, strips the cast down to only eleven speaking roles and features gritty new orchestrations performed by a seven-piece band. This Broadway run is also notable for the casting of Ali Stroker as Ado Annie. Her performances won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical this year, making Stroker the first wheelchair-user to win a Tony Award.

Bamigboye reports that Fish and his team have been recently scouting theatres in London for a possible transfer. The Broadway production is presented in a thrust layout at Broadway’s non-traditional Circle in the Square Theatre, meaning that as there are no West End theatres in this layout, the production team will have to look elsewhere in London or reconfigure the piece to a more traditional layout. Bamigboye tweeted that Fish stated he will shift to a proscenium-arched West End space if he has to.

No venues or dates have been confirmed by either production yet.


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