7 November 2022 / Exhibition

Re:Imagining Musicals opens at the V&A

A Chorus Line at the London Palladium, 2013 © V&A Museum, London

A new display now open at the V&A museum London celebrates the glittering world of musical theatre, exploring the evolution and craftmanship of iconic musicals from Miss Saigon and My Fair Lady to modern classics SIX the Musical and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. This free display in the Theatre and Performance Galleries showcases 100 objects, the majority of which are on display for the first time, bringing together brand-new acquisitions as well as unseen objects from the V&A collection.

Highlights include: Eliza Doolittle’s beaded gown designed by Cecil Beaton and worn by Julie Andrews in My Fair Lady at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane (1958); New costume acquisitions including Miss Hannigan’s dress, wig and whistle worn by Paul O’Grady in the 1998 West End revival of Annie; Gabriella Slade’s Tony-award winning costume for Catherine of Aragon in SIX the Musical; and Catherine Zuber’s Tony and Olivier award winning ‘Sparkling Diamond’ costume worn by Satine in Moulin Rouge! The Musical. Further highlights include a toy Olaf created especially for Frozen the Musical designed by Christopher Oram; a 1965 original cast recording of Hello Dolly! signed by Carol Channing; an original poster for Hamilton signed by the cast and creatives; and Shakespeare’s first folio, which celebrates its 400th anniversary in 2023.

Many of the objects featured in the display are from the Bunnett-Muir Musical Theatre Archive, the UK’s largest private collection of musical theatre-related memorabilia which was donated to the V&A in 2018. Joining this extensive collection of posters and cast recording LPs is a rich array of costumes and props that explore the role and evolution of musicals throughout history.

You can browse object highlights, read new articles and explore upcoming events on the V&A website.