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2014: The year in theatre

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Plenty of spectacular productions to look forward to in the coming 12 months.

When it came to spectacle and grandeur, nothing rivalled The Lion King in Scottish theatres in 2013.

The lavish production’s record-breaking run at the Edinburgh Playhouse is coming to an end soon, with the final show on January 18.

But the New Year is already shaping up to be an exciting one for theatre lovers, with an array of big shows and star names heading north in 2014.

If any show can rival the popularity of The Lion King, it will be Wicked, the global musical phenomenon that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz.

The show has already been seen by 38 million people in more than 100 cities in 13 countries and has nine productions running concurrently.

The award-winning musical makes its Scottish premiere at The King’s in Glasgow for four weeks in May, before returning north at the end of the year for a run at the Edinburgh Playhouse from November 19 to January 10.

Having returned to Wet Wet Wet for a recent UK tour and greatest hits release, Marti Pellow is back treading the boards in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Evita. He plays the role of Che, while new star Madalena Alberto brings Eva to life.

Evita is also in the Playhouse from January 27 to February 8, while it makes further stops at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal and Carlisle’s Sands Centre in February and March.

Rod Stewart receives the Ben Elton stage musical treatment in Tonight’s The Night, featuring more than 20 of Rod’s hits. It’s at the Playhouse in February, His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen in May and the King’s in Glasgow in June.

Rod commented: “In the past, any ideas for musicals revolving around my songs just didn’t work for me. It was only when we were approached to do this that the idea really took off. I’m absolutely thrilled this great show is touring the UK again.”

There are plenty of other musicals based on iconic artists’ music or smash-hit films dancing their way on to our stages.

The ever popular Buddy The Buddy Holly Story returns. Dubbed “the world’s most successful rock ’n’ roll musical”, it’ll be at Edinburgh’s King’s in February, the King’s in Glasgow in June and Newcastle’s Theatre Royal in August.

The music of The Beatles is celebrated in Let It Be, coming together in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh in April, May and June, while the stage musical version of ’80s movie classic, Dirty Dancing, embarks on another tour, coming to Glasgow’s King’s for five weeks in August, as well as an earlier date in Newcastle in May.

Another ’80s movie adaptation, Fame, shows it will live for ever as it embarks on yet another tour, visiting Sunderland’s Empire Theatre in March and Edinburgh Playhouse in April.

Singin’ In The Rain stars Grease 2 and Emmerdale actor Maxwell Caulfield at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre from February 25 to March 15 and at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, in August.

There’s also the premiere of a brand new UK tour based on the hit TV series Happy Days. Written by the show’s creator, Garry Marshall, who went on to direct Pretty Woman, the show has also received the backing of original star Henry Winkler, who acts as creative consultant.

Slipping into the Fonz’s leather jacket is Ben Freeman, best known to television audiences as Scott Windsor, while Cheryl Baker plays Mrs Cunningham and Heidi Range from Sugababes is Pinky Tuscadero.

It’s at The King’s in Glasgow in February, and Aberdeen’s His Majesty’s and Edinburgh King’s in May.

For those who like their theatre experience to be a little more dramatic, there are plenty of shows guaranteed to have audiences on the edge of their seats.

Jesus Of Nazareth star Robert Powell stars as Hercule Poirot in Black Coffee, the first play ever written by the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie. The diminutive detective will be at Edinburgh King’s in March and Theatre Royal, Newcastle in July.

A stage adaptation of Peter James’ bestselling crime novel, The Perfect Murder, stars Les Dennis and Claire Goose from Waking The Dead and Casualty. It’s in the King’s in Glasgow in March.

And Dial M For Murder, made famous by Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film version, returns to the stage, starring Christopher Timothy from All Creatures Great And Small. It’s at the King’s in Edinburgh in February, His Majesty’s in May and the

Theatre Royal, Glasgow, in June.

So plenty to take everyone’s fancy and that’s before the thousands of theatre shows are announced for the Fringe in August!