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Five Internationally Acclaimed Theatre Shows Worth an Interstate Trip to See in 2020

Book flights to see Lin-Manuel Miranda's 'Hamilton', an opera on a floating stage and a nostalgia-heavy musical take on 'Shrek'.
By Concrete Playground
July 15, 2019
By Concrete Playground
July 15, 2019

Australia has hosted some seriously heavy-hitting theatre shows of late. This year, we put on productions of internationally acclaimed musicals Book of Mormon, Chicago, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Saturday Night Fever — and next year is shaping up to be even more impressive.

We have five more award-winning productions landing on our shores in 2020 — including a childhood favourite reimagined and one on a floating stage — though not all of them will make the rounds through Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. So, if you can score tickets before they sell out, each and every one is worth travelling interstate for.



To say that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has been a success so far would be an understatement. Everyone's scrambling for tickets to the show at Melbourne's Princess Theatre, which has resulted in the season being extended for a second time — right up until May 17, 2020. And, if you haven't yet seen it, another round of tickets will go on sale at 11am on Thursday, July 18 (yes, this week).

So, with all this hype, what exactly is The Cursed Child about? Well, it picks up 19 years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and that abominably cheery epilogue on Platform 9 3/4. Harry is now an overworked Ministry of Magic employee, and the play focuses on both him and his youngest son Albus Severus Potter as they grapple with the past and future. The production is presented in two parts, so you'll have to book into two performances — there's the option to do so either on the same day (matinee and evening) or on consecutive evenings. Each part runs for about two and a half hours.

If you've waited this long, the next round of ticket sales could very well be the last, so head to the website and prep yourself to book — interstate flights can come later.

When? Until March 2020


Handa Opera's 2012 'La Traviata' by Lightbox Photography


Opera on a regular stage is one thing, but opera performed on a floating openair theatre atop Sydney Harbour, under the stars? Well, that's some unforgettable stuff. Especially when it's Giuseppe Verdi's famed classic La Traviata that's being given the overwater treatment — it tells the famously heartbreaking tale of a free-spirited Parisian courtesan and her tragic love affair with a nobleman.

The glamorous three-act show is the latest production announced as part of Opera Australia's Handa Opera series, set to return to this unique stage in March and April 2020. Handa Opera has pulled over 400,000 guests since debuting with La Traviata back in 2012 — and its mix of drinking and dining options, breathtaking views and nightly fireworks making it one of Sydney's must-try cultural offerings. It's also considered one of the world's best openair opera venues. Tickets go on sale from the Opera Australia Box Office this Tuesday, July 16, so grab a couple and start planning your trip to Sydney.

When? March–April 2020


Shrek the Musical by Helen Maybanks


Fancy reliving your childhood film favourites on the stage? That seems to be the current trend. Next up, Shrek the Musical is bringing its all-singing, all-dancing version of the animated movie franchise to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Expect plenty of green when this Tony and Grammy award-nominated stage show finally makes its way to our shores, after first premiering on Broadway back in 2008. While Australian cast details haven't been revealed, Shrek lovers can expect a whopping 19 songs, an obvious colour scheme and plenty of other fairy tale references.

The musical will first hit Sydney in January, but we're especially excited to see it round out its Aussie reign at Brisbane's Lyric Theatre. Those 2020 dates haven't been announced just yet, but you can join the waitlist here. We reckon its the perfect excuse for a Brisbane weekender.

When? 2020


Waitress by Joan Marcus


Perhaps in an effort to rival Melbourne's theatre scene — which nabbed the Australian 2019 premiere of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child — Sydney has clearly upped its commitment to theatre this year. Another we're especially excited about is Waitress. It first hit Broadway in 2016 and has gone on to gain stellar reviews, numerous Tony nominations and sold-out shows night after night. Based on the 2007 movie of the same name, Waitress tells the story of Jenna, a waitress and expert pie maker who dreams of a way out of her small town and loveless marriage.

Waitress won't be here until 2020 and tickets are not yet on sale, but you can get on the waitlist over here. As of now it's only coming to Sydney, but interstate patrons won't regret flying in for this one.

When? 2020



It's won 11 Tony Awards and is one of the Obamas' favourite musical, and now Lin-Manuel Miranda's game-changing musical Hamilton is finally coming to Australia. The critically acclaimed hip hop musical, for which Miranda wrote the music, lyrics and the book, is about the life of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, as well as inclusion and politics in current-day America. As well as its many Tony Awards, which include Best Musical, it has nabbed a Grammy Award and even a Pulitzer Prize.

Hamilton will make its Australian premiere at the Sydney Lyric Theatre in March 2021. Which is a little further away than the others, but it's still worth planning for. You can sign-up for pre-sale tickets now. There's no word yet on whether it'll head to other Aussie cities later on — so, if you don't want to risk it, those located interstate should to start planning a trip ASAP — we think it'll be more than worth it.

When? 2021


Top image: Handa Opera by Hamilton Lund; Hamilton by Joan Marcus.

Published on July 15, 2019 by Concrete Playground


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