Show Boat

  • “Something special”

    The Telegraph
  • “Sensational. Glorious. A Triumph”

    The Times
  • “Thrilling”

    The Sunday Times
  • “Brilliant boat of musical delights”

    Evening Standard
  • “Just what the doctor ordered”

    Financial Times
  • UK Theatre Awards 2016Best Musical Production, Best Supporting Performance for Rebecca Trehearn, and Best Design for Lez Brotherston

The 1927 Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein musical, Show Boat, is returning to London after a 20-year hiatus, via a brief spell at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.

Passions run high on board the showboat Cotton Blossom, which is steaming down the Mississippi in 1887 during the early days of racial segregation when Julie, its troupe’s leading lady, is revealed to be of mixed race. As the marriage is illegal, she and her husband Steve, the leading man, no longer feel safe and are compelled to leave. As a result, in steps Gaylord, a handsome gambler with a dangerous past, and Magnolia, whose father Captain Andy owns the boat. Gaylord wins the heart of Magnolia and marries her against the wishes of Magnolia's mother.

The two couples cross paths six years later in Chicago when Gaylord becomes bankrupt due to gambling and abandons Magnolia and their daughter Kim in shame. Magnolia once again steps into Julie's shoes, eventually becoming a big star.

However, Gaylord and Magnolia’s love is as constant as the river itself. Twenty years after the story begins, and after great social upheaval in America, the couple are reunited, back on the showboat.

“I feel privileged to be co-producing the fresh and innovative revival of this seminal musical,’’ says Mr Wang. ‘’The raw energy of the score and choreography is utterly intoxicating.
This truly is an exceptional production of a very special musical – where themes of racial prejudice, enduring love, family and freedom are as relevant today as they were in 1927.”

  • 01. The Telegraph

    “Under the direction here of musical supervisor David White, every sound is lush, sonorous and extravagantly beautiful.”

  • 02. The Guardian

    “Performances of exceptional quality”

  • 03. Evening Standard

    "Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein’s 1927 work set the template for the musical as we know it, and 90 years on, Show Boat is still a knockout."

  • 04. The Guardian

    This is a musical that joyously looks to the future without wholly eradicating the past

  • 05. Daily Telegraph

    An evening that radiates not only immense talent across the board but also supreme confidence in its material

  • 06. Financial Times

    "This Sheffield Theatres production is masterly. It celebrates the period feel of this, one of the oldest musicals, while emphasising its daring in tackling racial prejudice; it revels in its exuberance, while also drawing out its sombre undertones."

  • 07. Bruno Wang Production News

    Show Boat nominated for three prestigious theatre awards

  • 08. Bruno Wang Production News

    Show Boat steams to success in UK Theatre Awards 2016