War Of The Worlds, Shrek, Jersey Boys and Sherlock Holmes

The War Of The Worlds Alive on Stage – tour starts 1 December

Next year it is 40 years since the release of iconic album The War of the Worlds, and to mark this anniversary the musical version, The War of the Worlds Alive on Stage is touring arenas.

Written by Jeff Wayne, the hit double album spent more than 330 weeks in the UK Album Charts, had two hit singles "Forever Autumn" and "The Eve of The War" and won two Ivor Novello Awards.

The album / show is based on HG Wells’s novel The War of The Worlds. The stage version features Liam Neeson in 3D holography as The Journalist and Jeff Wayne conducts the 9-piece Black Smoke Band and 36-piece ULLAdubULLA strings.

The War of the Worlds Alive on Stage plays Newcastle Metro Radio Arena, Manchester Arena, Leeds First Direct Arena, Liverpool Echo Arena, Nottingham Motorpoint Arena, Birmingham Genting Arena, Cardiff Motorpoint Arena, Bournemouth Bic Windsor Hall, London The O2 and Brighton Centre.

Shrek The Musical – tour starts 12 December

Shrek leaves his swamp this month for another nationwide tour.

Once again, Nigel Harman directs a star cast with Steffan Harri as the green ogre. Harri's West End credits include Les Misérables, Spamalot and Children of Eden and on television Steffan is known for Welsh language soap opera Rownd a Rownd. He starred in the first tour of Shrek the Musical, playing the role of Lord Farquaad.

The role of Princess Fiona will be shared by Call The Midwife's Laura Main and The X Factor Celebrity Big Brother's Amelia Lily, while Marcus Ayton will play Donkey and Samuel Holmes will play Lord Farquaad.

Also in the cast are Adam Baker, Ethan Bradshaw, Michael Carolan, Joseph Dockree, Will Hawksworth, Sarah-Louise Jones, Reece Kerridge, Thomas Lee Kidd, Amy Oxley, Jemma Revell, Lucinda Shaw, Sam Stones, Adam Taylor, Jennifer Tierney, Sophie Wallis, Francesca Williams, Laura Wilson and Kevin Yates.

Shrek The Musical, based on William Steig’s book Shrek! and the animated films, has book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire and music by Jeanine Tesori.

Shrek visits Edinburgh Playhouse, Palace Theatre Manchester, Sunderland Empire Theatre, New Alexandra Theatre Birmingham, His Majesty’s Theatre Aberdeen, Royal & Derngate Northampton, Sheffield Lyceum Theatre, Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff, Regent Theatre Stoke, Blackpool Winter Gardens Theatre, New Victoria Theatre Woking, Liverpool Empire, Norwich Theatre Royal, Marlowe Theatre Canterbury, Milton Keynes Theatre, The Bristol Hippodrome, Venue Cymru Llandudno, Theatre Royal Nottingham, Belfast Grand Opera House, Dublin Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Mayflower Theatre Southampton and Leeds Grand Theatre.

Sherlock Holmes & The Hooded Lance – tour starts 15 December

Sherlock Holmes & The Hooded Lance is this year's Christmas show presented by Common Ground.

Julian Harries plays Holmes and Dick Mainwaring plays Watson in this classic comedy Christmas mystery based on the characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle.

It is written by Pat Whymark and Julian Harries and tours the East.

The Seckford Theatre Woodbridge, The John Peel Centre Stowmarket, St Mary's Hall Walton (nr Felixstowe), Jubilee Hall Aldeburgh, The Corn Hall Diss, The Headgate Theatre Colchester and New Wolsey Theatre Studio Ipswich.

Jersey Boys - tour starts 16 December

The second UK and Ireland tour of hit musical Jersey Boys is now running until March 2019 due to popular demand.

The cast is made up of Michael Watson as Frankie Valli with Dayle Hodge taking the role at certain performances, Simon Bailey as Tommy De Vito, Declan Egan as Bob Gaudio and Lewis Griffiths as Nick Massi.

The cast also includes Joel Elferink, James Alexander Gibbs, Mark Heenehan, Karl James-Wilson, Arnold Mabhena, Phoebe May Newman, Olive Robinson, James Winter and Tara Young. Completing the cast will be Peter Nash, Dan O’Brien, Stephen O’Riain and Amy Thiroff.

Olivier Award-winning show Jersey Boys tells the story of how four boys from New Jersey rose to pop super-stardom, selling more than 175 million records worldwide.

Songs in the show include hits "Beggin’", "Sherry", "Walk Like A Man", "December, 1963 (Oh What a Night)", "Big Girls Don’t Cry", "My Eyes Adored You", "Let’s Hang On (To What We’ve Got)", "Bye Bye Baby", "Can’t Take My Eyes Off You", "Working My Way Back to You", Fallen Angel", and "Who Loves You".

The show is written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe. The director is Des McAnuff, the choreographer is Sergio Trujillo, the orchestrations are by Steve Orich and the music supervision and vocal arrangements are by Ron Melrose.

Jersey Boys visits Birmingham New Alexandra, Liverpool Empire, Milton Keynes Theatre, Stoke Regent Theatre, Hull New Theatre, Sunderland Empire, Glasgow King’s Theatre, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Nottingham Royal Concert Hall, Alhambra Theatre Bradford, Norwich Theatre Royal, Sheffield Lyceum Theatre, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Cliffs Pavilion Southend, Newcastle Theatre Royal, His Majesty’s Theatre Aberdeen, Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, Belfast Grand Opera House, The Marlowe Canterbury, New Victoria Theatre Woking, Bristol Hippodrome, Leeds Grand Theatre, New Theatre Oxford, Wales Millennium Centre, Palace Theatre Manchester, Edinburgh Playhouse, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Dublin and Mayflower Theatre Southampton.

Check web sites for information regarding post–show Q&As, captioned, signed and relaxed performances, and age suitability. At the time of going to press, some dates may not yet be on sale.