Coming to Sunderland Empire: new and returning shows

Peter Lathan

In the last few weeks, Sunderland Empire has announced seven major musicals which will be arriving at the theatre in 2017 and 2018, three of which have not been seen at the venue before.

From 23 to 27 May this year, Shout! The Musical, on its first national tour for almost a decade, comes to the Empire starring Sonia, who released her debut album in 1989 and went on to represent the UK in the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest, X Factor semi-finalist Niki French and Helena Blackman, a finalist in the BBC’s Voice of Musical Theatre.

Then in September (from 19 to 23) comes Son of a Preacher Man, a new musical featuring the music of Dusty Springfield with book by Warner Brown, directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood. The Preacher Man is the swinging 1960s Soho joint where the kids danced the night away to the latest crazes and dared to dream of love, while the legendary owner, The Preacher Man himself, dispensed advice to cure the loneliest of hearts and the show focuses on three broken hearts and the only man who could ever help them…

October sees the return of Spamalot (14 to 17), for which casting will be announced later.

2018 begins with another popular returning show, Shrek the Musical, which runs from 31 January to 11 February, and continues with the first UK tour of Beautiful – the Carole King Musical which comes to Sunderland from 6 to 10 March.

A month later, from 16 to 21 May, Legally Blonde returns with Rita Simmons starring as Elle, and finally Wicked revisits the Empire for four weeks from 4 to 29 September.