American Idiot

The San Fran punks who became multi-million rock gods bring their American Idiot album-as-a-musical to the UK for a nationwide tour and short London run at the Apollo.

The duo have an ambitious three-piece record coming out this month, November and January, but it is back to their 2004 chart-topper for this tale of punk singalongs and socio-political observations. Rock on!

Hammersmith Apollo, £22.50
Dec 4-16. 7pm
W6 9QH 
Tube | Hammersmith


Africa Express

Damon Albarn – musical chameleon, Gallagher baiter, occasional Blur frontman – dons his experimental hat for this evening’s show.

Birthed as a reaction to Live 8’s sleb-spotted posturing, Africa Express brings together artists from the continent that fascinates Geldof for an evening of jamming and spontaneous musical output. 

The line–up’s to die for – Amadou and Mariam, Kano, Noisettes, Jack Steadman – and intent on broadening your musical boundaries. 

Sept 8. 5pm, £20
Granary Square, N1C 4AA
Tube | King’s Cross



The unsettling musical from Rufus Norris, based on Kander and Ebb’s classic, itself based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood, stars Will Young as the impressionable emcee at a cabaret club in Berlin at the end of Weimar German Republic.

The tale of sex, love and the rise of fascism makes for a thrillingly perverse melting pot, and is sure to see Young shake off his boy band days.

Oct 3-Jan 19. Times vary, £35+
Savoy Theatre, WC2R 0ET
Tube | Charing Cross


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Soul Sister

After a run in Hackney, this Tina Turner musical, chronicling her life and shaky times with Ike Turner, made its move to the
West End. Chock-full of the belter’s hits, it’s a rock’n’ roll musical spectacle.

Until Sept 29. Times vary, £32
Savoy Theatre, WC2R 0ET
Tube | Temple


Kiss Me Kate

This Tony Award-winning Broadway classic comes to town with its post modern play-within-a-play tale that pits warring gangsters and beleaguered actors amidst the troubled production of Taming Of The Shrew.

Nov 20-Mar 2. Times vary, £11+
Old Vic, The Cut, SE1 8NB
Tube | Waterloo



Read more: New Fab Four production Let It Be shows Beatlemania is here again

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John Peel Day

The legendary DJ died on October 25, 2004, yet his spirit and influence have lived on in the hearts of music fans everywhere. The man famous for his diverse tastes and laconic presenting style (as well as occasionally playing records at the wrong speed) is remembered annually with a host of gigs, shows and events across the nation.

Details are still being finalised for this year, but the Buffalo Bar in Islington is holding its own John Peel Night on the Oct 25, and Symptomatic Presents: John Peel Night is kicking off the following evening at the Nambucca in Holloway.

The station where he made his home, Radio One, honours him too with old Peel Sessions, famous fans, and a good old musical love in.

Oct 25 and various dates and prices
twitter #keepingitpeel


The Bodyguard

Accusations of ‘cashing in’ on the death of Whitney Houston are unfounded as this screen-to-stage adaptation had been in the works for a long time.

Broadway legend Heather Hedley stars as the diva superstar made famous by Houston, who falls in love with her bodyguard.

It’s hard to remember that when this movie came out, Kevin Costner was a cool, sexy Hollywood type, and not just a grumpy git!

Nov 6-Apr 27. Times vary, £20
Adelphi Theatre, The Strand, WC2NE 7NA 
Tube | Piccadilly Circus



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Aphex Twin: Remote Orchestra

The man also known as Richard Jones is best known for scaring the crap out of people with his creepy video for Come To Daddy – bearded school girls terrorising folks, a granny getting screamed at in the face by a TV-birthed mutant beast.

He is a true innovator and boundary pusher and shows this with his latest endeavour, Remote Orchestra, for which he has roped in the Heritage Orchestra and Choir.

First devised for last year’s European Culture Congress in Poland, this is the UK debut of the performance, in which he conducts a 28-piece string section and 12-person choir by remote control. Weird and ingenious!

Oct 10. 8pm, £15+
The Barbican Centre, Barbican Hall, EC2Y 8DS
Tube | Barbican


From Broadway to London and, now, in this new review show guise. The music’s toned down, and the laughs are turned up for this musical that is “lovingly ripped off” from the Monty Python movie of a similar name.

Musical fans have loved it, and Python fans are in for a treat with this new gag-fest version of the show that is totally, and splendidly silly.

Nov 14-April 13. 7.30pm, £15
Playhouse Theatre, WC2N 5DE
Tube | Embankment


Transcender Festival

This festival takes things left of centre with a line-up that looks to honour music that is ‘ecstatic, devotional and psychedelic’ and global in origin.

You won’t find the latest pop hits here; what you will come across, though, are dazzling artists and performers from around the world.

Think acts such as Djivan Gasparyan and Hossein Alizadech, who fuse Parisian and Armenian music, andThe Sun Ra Arkestra, a 20-piece cosmic jazz orchestra. Exactly.

Sept 17-30. Times vary
Tube | Barbican

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Michael Jackson: Immortal World Tour

The self-styled king of pop, who left this realm of reality in 2009, is the focus of a tribute show that looks to celebrate the man, his music, and, particularly, the creative powers that fuelled his work.

With dance, visuals, music and fantasy, this comes along like a live-action Moonwalker, immersing the audience in Jacko’s world, particularly his Giving Tree, the ‘wellspring of his creativity’.

Oct 12-21. 6.30pm, £40
The O2, SE10 0DX 
Tube | North Greenwich



Pop-muppet James Bourne, one third of former pop rockers Busted (the one that’s not Charlie Simpson or the one that ate ‘bush tucker’ on I’m A Celebrity …) brings his teen-rock musical to the West End.

Based on a nerdy teen in Sixties America, and featuring songs from Bourne’s post-Busted band Son Of Dork, it’s been touted as a Grease for the Noughties. Check out if it lives up to this lofty praise.

Oct 1-Mar 2. Times vary, £10+
Garrick Theatre, WC2H 0HH
Tube | Leicester Square



The timeless – and highly mocked, due to its pottery lovemaking – story has been wowing audiences all year, but it only has two more months to run.

So get down, and check out Swayze’s legacy in this movie adaptation

Until Oct 6. 7.30pm, £30+
Piccadilly Theatre, W1D 7DY
Tube | Piccadilly Circus


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Remembering Joe – 10 Years On

Joe Strummer was a man of legend, a walking punk icon, activist, superstar and a purveyor of campfires, as Michael Eavis used to proudly say.

It’s been 10 years since Strummer passed on, and these twin shows remember the man with Clash and Sex Pistols tribute bands; former Pistol Glen Matlock and The Philistines; and a host of friends and fellow trailblazers.

Dec 22 & 23. 6pm, £20
100 Club, W1D 1LL
Tube | Tottenham Court Road


Peace One Day: With Elton John

September 21 is International Peace Day and not-for profit organisation Peace One Day founder Jeremy Gilley, with actor pal Jude Law, have been running these events since 2007.

This concert, headlined by Elton John, alongside singer-songwriter James Morrison and 2cellos, is the final act in the London 2012 Festival. See out the celebrations with a bang.

Sept 21. 7.30pm, £30+
Wembley Arena, HA9 0PA
Tube | Wembley Park


Bandstand Marathon

As the London 2012 Fest closes, bandstands across the city – Battersea, Clapham, Regent’s Park and more – will hum with music, from traditional to folk to funk and beyond.

September 21. From 1pm
Various venues and prices


Read more: New Fab Four production Let It Be shows Beatlemania is here again

Photos: Getty; Matt Humphrey; Frank Micelotta