London Show News
|ALMEIDA'S INK TRANSFERS TO WEST END; TICKETS NOW ON SALE (17 JULY 2017)|
|Following its current sell-out season at the Almeida Theatre, which finishes on 5 August, the premiere of Ink, written by James Graham and directed by Rupert Goold, transfers to the West End's Duke of York's Theatre for a strictly limited season. It runs from 9 September to 6 January 2018, and tickets are now on sale.
Ink will be the second new James Graham play opening in the West End in September. His play about the Labour Party, Labour of Love starring Martin Freeman and Sarah Lancashire, is at the Noel Coward Theatre from 15 September to 2 December 2017. Both new plays follow the West End season of Graham's 2012 play This House earlier this year.
Ink, with a cast led by Bertie Carvel as Rupert Murdoch and Richard Coyle as Larry Lamb, is a "ruthless, red-topped new play" that leads with the birth of this country's most influential newspaper, The Sun.
James Graham said: "It's been such a creatively rewarding experience, building this show at the Almeida. I'm in absolute awe of our actors and the creative team, led by Rupert. And grateful to the audiences who've been coming and supporting the work. After being given the chance to revive This House in the West End earlier this year, I think it's really exciting to see so many new and politically-engaged plays being given the chance to find a wider audience."
Rupert Goold said: "I'm thrilled the Almeida's production of Ink will transfer to the West End this autumn and that we are able to share James Graham's brilliant play, together with Bunny Christie's ingenious set design and our sensational company of actors, with a wider audience. Ink is a play about ambition, truth and the power of the press - and for that reason it has never felt a more timely and significant story to tell."
|YEAR-LONG OSCAR WILDE SEASON ANNOUNCED (10 JULY 2017)|
|Classic Spring, a new theatre company from former Artistic Director of Shakespeare's Globe Dominic Dromgoole, have announced first casting and creatives for a year-long celebration of Oscar Wilde at the Vaudeville Theatre.
An iconoclast, a socialist and a gay Irishman in the socially conservative late-Victorian era, Oscar Wilde broke the mould in his work and in his life. Opening in the year of the fiftieth anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, this season aims to offer a much fuller picture of the man and the artist, and reveal this much-loved playwright as the brilliant renegade he was in his own time. Interspersed with the plays will be a curated series of interludes and 'Wilde Talks' that will reveal the deep current of radicalism and subversiveness that runs through all of Wilde's writing.
Eve Best will star as Mrs Arbuthnot in A Woman of No Importance from 6 October to 30 December 2017, directed by Dominic Dromgoole. Eve recently starred in Old Times on Broadway alongside Clive Owen, and Love In Idleness at the Menier Chocolate Factory and in the West End. She has won an Olivier Award, an Evening Standard Award and three Critics' Circle Awards, and been nominated for two Tony Awards.
Other early casting includes Eleanor Bron as Lady Pontefract, and William Gaunt as the Venerable Archdeacon Daubeny. Eleanor first shot to fame as Ahme in the Beatles' film Help!, and also starred in the original Alfie with Michael Caine. William's credits include King Lear opposite Ian McKellen in the West End and on film, and The Crucible at the Old Vic.
Multi-award-winning actor, director, comedian and playwright Kathy Burke will direct Lady Windermere's Fan from 12 January to 7 April 2018. Kathy starred in Gary Oldman's film Nil by Mouth, for which she won Best Actress at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. Her other screen credits include Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Dancing in Lughnasa, Absolutely Fabulous and French and Saunders. She has directed at many of London's leading venues, including the Donmar Warehouse, the Royal Court and the Hampstead Theatre. Her other awards include a Royal Television Society Award, a British Independent Film Award and a British Comedy Award; she has also been nominated for six BAFTAs.
A limited run of lightly-staged performances for a new folk opera by Guy Chambers, entitled The Selfish Giant, will start in April 2018, offering a unique opportunity for audiences to see a work in progress by one of the world's most acclaimed contemporary songwriters. Guy is a long-time collaborator with Robbie Williams, having co-written many of his most popular hits, including Angels, Millennium and Let Me Entertain You. Guy has also collaborated with Kylie Minogue, Rufus Wainwright, Mark Ronson and Diana Ross, amongst others. He has won three BRIT Awards, three Ivor Novello awards and an MTV Video Music Award.
Frank McGuinness will adapt De Profundis, Wilde's letter to Lord Alfred Bosie from Reading Gaol, for the stage, for a limited engagement of 3 to 6 January 2018. Frank is an acclaimed playwright, poet and translator. He has won numerous awards and prizes throughout his distinguished career, including a Tony Award, an Irish PEN Award and the French Order of Arts and Letters.
Merlin Holland, Oscar Wilde's grandson, will give a pre-show talk on 14 October. Merlin is the author of A Portrait of Oscar Wilde and The Wilde Album.
Lady Windermere's Fan will be followed by An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest. Casting, creatives and dates will be announced in due course.
A family show based on Oscar Wilde's fairy tales, entitled Wilde Creatures and produced by Olivier Award nominated Tall Stories, will cater to everyone aged 5 - 105 and help create new generations of future theatrelovers.
Dominic Dromgoole, Artistic Director of Classic Spring, said: "My ten years as Artistic Director of Shakespeare's Globe allowed me to explore Shakespeare in the kind of theatre he wrote for: the thrust stage and open air of the 'wooden O'. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to do the same with Oscar Wilde, in the kind of space he wrote for: the velvety darkness and proscenium arched stage of one of the West End's most perfect playhouses, the Vaudeville, just across the road from where Wilde once lived, loved, wrote and entertained at his very first home in London."
|THE FERRYMAN EXTENDS TO JANUARY 2018 (3 JULY 2017)|
|Following unanimous critical acclaim and overwhelming demand for tickets at the Gielgud Theatre, where Jez Butterworth's The Ferryman officially opened its West End transfer season last week, the show's producers have announced that the production, directed by Sam Mendes, will extend its run until 6 January 2018. Tickets for the new dates are now on sale.
The production won widespread critical acclaim when it opened at the Royal Court, where it opened in May, and was the fastest-selling show in the theatre's history. This phenomenal success has continued at the Gielgud Theatre where it has been playing to sold-out houses, with early morning queues on Shaftesbury Avenue for the day seats.
The Ferryman was initially booking until 7 October, with the original 38-strong Royal Court company, led by Paddy Considine. Full casting for the extension will be confirmed soon.
|CAST ANNOUNCED FOR OPEN AIR'S JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (30 JUNE 2017)|
|Regent's Park Open Air Theatre has announced completed casting for Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar, which returns to the theatre from 11 August in an extended run through to 23 September 2017. Already announced are Declan Bennett, Tyrone Huntley (who won the Evening Standard Emerging Talent Award for his performance in 2016), David Thaxton and Peter Caulfield, who reprise their roles of Jesus, Judas, Pilate and Herod. The 2016 production won the Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival and Evening Standard Award for Best Musical.
Maimuna Memon takes the role of Mary. Previous credits include Winnie and Wilbur (Birmingham Rep), Lazarus (King's Cross Theatre), The Busker's Opera (Park Theatre) and Into The Woods (Royal Exchange Manchester).
Phillip Browne and Sean Kingsley play Caiaphas and Annas. Phillip's previous credits include Ain't Misbehaving (Sheffield Crucible), Anything Goes (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), Piaf (Donmar) and Ragtime (Piccadilly), and he also appeared in the 2012 film Batman, The Dark Knight Rises. Sean, who recently appeared in The Grinning Man (Bristol Old Vic), reprises his 2016 performance as Annas. His previous credits include Jersey Boys (UK Tour), We Will Rock You (European Tour), Little Shop of Horrors (Birmingham Rep) and Mamma Mia! (International Tour). Tim Newman and Phil King play Simon Zealotes and Peter. Tim's credits include Memphis (Shaftesbury), Mamma Mia! (International Tour), Grease (Piccadilly), Footloose (Novello) and All The Fun of the Fair (Garrick/UK Tour) for which he received a WhatsOnStage Award nomination. Phil, who reprises his performance as Peter, composed the music for, and appeared in, To Kill a Mockingbird at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. His previous credits also include Jane Eyre (Bristol Old Vic/National) and, as a musician, he plays festivals and fayres across the UK, as well as Paris, Berlin, Barcelona and New York.
Previous cast members returning to the production are Josh Dever, Rhys Whitfield, Charlotte Riby and Sinead Long. They are joined by Mark Dugdale, Ivan De Freitas, Stevie Hutchinson, Javar Parker, Nuno Queimado, Cleve September, Tinovimbanashe Sibanda, Kirstie Skivington, Christopher Tendai, Tara Young, and Dale White. The Soul Girls are played by Kayleigh McKnight, Lauran Rae and Nicholle Cherrie.
|WEST END LIVE KICKS OFF SUMMER THEATRE SEASON (29 JUNE 2017)|
|London theatre is celebrating following the triumphant West End LIVE 2017, which saw hundreds of thousands flock to Trafalgar Square, a testament to the enduring appeal and resilience of theatre. Now in its 13th year, the event has grown to become one of Europe's largest free performing arts festivals. The event is organised by Westminster City Council and the Society of London Theatre with support from the Mayor of London.
The weekend showcased more than 116 different songs over 58 performances, which spanned musicals, cabaret, opera and dance, and featured over 840 performers. Special guests included Dan Gillespie Sells, Ricky Wilson, Kerry Ellis, Matt Cardle, Willemijn Verkaik, Rachel Tucker, Ben Forster, Marisha Wallace, Nathan Amzi, Charlie Fink and John Owen-Jones. Presenters included Heart FM hosts, Claire Sweeney and Jason Manford. The line-up this year also saw a host of new productions making their West End LIVE debuts including Disney's Aladdin, Dreamgirls, Annie, The Wind In The Willows, Bat Out Of Hell - The Musical and School Of Rock - The Musical.
Julian Bird, Chief Executive of the Society of London Theatre, said:
"We are so proud of the West End community and the spectacular performances they gave at West End LIVE 2017. This weekend's event was a celebration of the best of London, its creativity, unity and unbeatable spirit. Our new 'Theatre Is' Campaign once again brings the theatre community together to remind people that London's theatres are open to all and to build on the success and momentum of West End LIVE and Kids Week."
|NEW BRITISH MUSICAL SET FOR WEST END'S APOLLO (27 JUNE 2017)|
|A new British musical by a new British theatre writing and directing team, Everybody's Talking About Jamie opens at the Apollo Theatre on Wednesday 22 November 2017. It promises to be a "fearless, funny, fabulous brand new musical sensation" and features new songs by lead singer-songwriter of The Feeling Dan Gillespie Sells and writer Tom MacRae. It tells the story of a 16-year-old boy who overcomes prejudice, beats the bullies and steps out of the darkness, into the spotlight.
John McCrea will reprise his role of Jamie, alongside the majority of the Sheffield Crucible cast including: Josie Walker, Mina Anwar, Tamsin Carroll and Daniel Anthony, Luke Baker, Courtney Bowman, James Gillian, Harriet Payne, Shiv Rabheru, Lucie Shorthouse, Kirstie Skivington.
Director Jonathan Butterell, Composer Dan Gillespie Sells and writer and lyricist Tom MacRae said:
"After Everybody's Talking About Jamie was commissioned we spent three hours in a wig room in Sheffield in which we wrote the complete plot and framework for the show before catching the train back to London. The three of us just clicked and we were instantly a team. It has been a new adventure for all of us, this is our first musical and going from zero to West End has felt like a fairy tale. There is a bit of all three of us that has ended up in Jamie. We knew we needed a very specially talented performer to play him and when John McCrea walked into the room he was perfect. We hope that audiences will see a bit of Jamie in themselves too."
Producer and theatre owner Nica Burns said:
"Everybody seemed to be talking about the show so I went to see the final matinee in Sheffield with no expectations. I came out of the auditorium singing the tunes having laughed, cried, laughed again and dancing with happiness. I found the director, and immediately offered to produce the show in London at one of my theatres. It had to come to the West End. This is an uplifting musical for our times and for everyone."
|EVITA RETURNS TO THE WEST END (27 JUNE 2017)|
|The story of an ordinary woman's meteoric rise to power at a time of extraordinary political unrest, Evita is set to captivate West End audiences again as it makes a much anticipated return to London, playing 12 weeks at the Phoenix Theatre from 28 July.
The season marks the 65th anniversary of the death of Eva Perón which will be commemorated in Argentina in July. This enigmatic figure, whose rise from humble beginnings to extraordinary wealth and power is immortalised in the musical Evita, passed away on 26 July 1952 and was laid in state exactly 65 years prior to the commencement of this latest West End season.
Taking on the iconic role of Eva Perón is one of musical theatre's most exciting young leading ladies Emma Hatton, who has performed the lead role of Elphaba in the West End production of Wicked, the principle roles of Scaramouche and Meatloaf in We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre, and Donna in the West End production of Dreamboats and Petticoats.
Leading Italian performer Gian Marco Schiaretti plays Che, a character who reflects the voice of the Argentine people. Linked to Eva by destiny; he brings balance to the story of Eva's rise to fame. Gian Marco Schiaretti most recently played the title role of Tarzan in Disney's Musical Tarzan, in Stuttgart. Prior to this he played Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet across Italy.
The cast is completed by Oscar Balmaseda, Sarah O'Connor, George Arvidson, Lewis Barnshaw, Jessica Ellen, Callum Fitzgerald, Kellie Gnauck, Dominic Adam Griffin, Joe McCourt, Jude Neill, Jordan Oliver, Chrissie Perkins, Oliver Slade, Matias Stegmann and Yuval Zoref.
With more than 20 major awards to its credit, and an Oscar winning film version starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita is iconic. Featuring some of the best loved songs in musical theatre, including Don't Cry for Me Argentina, On This Night of a Thousand Stars, You Must Love Me, and Another Suitcase in Another Hall, this spectacular production promises to be the theatrical event of the summer.
|BAT OUT OF HELL ADDS A FINAL TWO-WEEK EXTENSION (25 JUNE 2017)|
|With wonderful reactions from audiences, standing ovations every night and audiences singing their hearts out at the end of each performance, the producers of Jim Steinman's Bat Out Of Hell - The Musical have announced a further extension to the run at the London Coliseum this summer. The production officially opened in London's West End last week, and, due to overwhelming public demand, a further two weeks of extra performances have been added. This will be the final extension - the limited season must end 22 August 2017.
Jim Steinman's Bat Out Of Hell - The Musical is a romantic adventure about rebellious youth and passionate love, set against the backdrop of a post-cataclysmic city adrift from the mainland. Strat, the forever young leader of The Lost, has fallen for Raven, daughter of Falco, the tyrannical, ruler of Obsidian.
Directed by award-winning theatre and opera director Jay Scheib, the cast is led by newcomer Andrew Polec as Strat and Christina Bennington as Raven, with Rob Fowler as Falco and Sharon Sexton as Sloane. Also starring are Aran MacRae as Tink, Danielle Steers as Zahara, Dom Hartley-Harris as Jagwire, Giovanni Spano as Ledoux and Patrick Sullivan as Blake. Also in the cast will be Jemma Alexander, Emily Benjamin, Stuart Boother, Georgia Carling, Natalie Chua, Jonathan Cordin, Amy Di Bartolomeo, Jordan Lee Davies, Olly Dobson, Hannah Ducharme, Isaac Edwards, Phoebe Hart, Linus Henriksson, Rosalind James, Kalene Jeans, Michael Naylor, Eve Norris, Tim Oxbrow, Andrew Patrick-Walker, Benjamin Purkiss, Anthony Selwyn, Courtney Stapleton and Ruben Van keer.
|JULIET STEVENSON AND LIA WILLIAMS STAR IN MARY STUART (24 JUNE 2017)|
|All hail the queens. Following a critically acclaimed, sold-out season at the Almeida in 2016-17, Robert Icke's new adaptation of Mary Stuart transfers to the Duke of York's Theatre in London's West End from Saturday 13 January for a limited run. Tickets are now on sale. The production will then visit Bath, Salford and Cambridge.
Schiller's political tragedy takes us behind the scenes of some of British history's most crucial days. Playing both Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart, Juliet Stevenson (Hamlet) and Lia Williams (Oresteia) trade the play's central roles, decided at each performance by the toss of a coin.
Juliet Stevenson has worked extensively for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and the Royal Court, winning an Olivier award for her performance in Death and The Maiden in 1991. Most recent theatre credits include starring roles in Mary Stuart and Hamlet (both directed by Robert Icke, the latter currently playing in the West End) and of course Beckett's Happy Days at The Young Vic. Her films include Truly, Madly, Deeply, Bend it Like Beckham, When Did You Last See Your Father, Being Julia, Pierrepoint, Mona Lisa Smile and Diana and Departure. Recent television work includes starring roles in One of Us for BBC1 and Sky Living's supernatural thriller The Enfield Haunting, as well as playing series regulars on two series of Atlantis and The Village.
Lia Williams most recently appeared in the Almeida's productions of Mary Stuart and Oresteia (Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress) as well as Harold Pinter's Celebration. Other theatre credits include The Revengers' Comedies in the West End, Old Times in the West End, and both Arcadia and Skylight on Broadway, at the National Theatre and in the West End. Her television credits include Strike: Silkworm, The Missing, The Crown, Secret State, Doc Martin, May 33rd (BAFTA nomination for Best Actress), The Russian Bride, Imogen's Face, A Shot Through the Heart, Flowers of the Forest, Seaforth and Mr Wroe's Virgins. Film includes The Foreigner, Jonathan Toomey, The King is Alive, Different for Girls, The Fifth Province, Firelight, Dirty Weekend and La Suite Blanche-Neige.
|SENSE8 STAR FREEMA AGYEMAN JOINS STOCKARD CHANNING IN APOLOGIA (22 JUNE 2017)|
|Further casting has been announced for Apologia, which will begin previews on 29th July at Trafalgar Studios. Doctor Who and Sense8 star Freema Agyeman, Olivier Award-winner Desmond Barritt, and Joseph Millson will join previously announced Tony and Emmy award winner Stockard Channing in a new production of Olivier Award winner Alexi Kaye Campbell's darkly funny and haunting play about family and its secrets, directed by the multi-award winning Jamie Lloyd.
Freema Agyeman, one of the UK's most exciting young actors, has made waves on both sides of the Atlantic. She stars as Amanita in Netflix's critically acclaimed hit drama Sense8. She starred as the much-loved Martha Jones alongside David Tennant's Doctor Who, and in the hugely successful spin-off Torchwood. She also starred in the UK version of Law and Order.
Agyeman said: "I am absolutely overjoyed to be joining the cast of Apologia. It's right up my street and had me roaring with laughter! It's fun. It's clever. It's deeply insightful. And I feel I couldn't be in safer, more experienced hands for my theatre debut than those of Alexi Kaye Campbell and Jamie Lloyd. Or in better company than the inimitable Stockard Channing!"
Agyeman takes on the role of Claire, the actress girlfriend of Kristin's son.
Also announced are Olivier nominated Desmond Barrit and Joseph Millson. Barrit plays Hugh, Kristin's longtime friend and ally, while Millson takes on dual roles as both of Kristin's very different sons. Barrit's many illustrious stage credits include several Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre productions, and Sir Peter Hall's critically acclaimed Henry IV Parts I and II, for which his performance as Falstaff earned him an Olivier nomination for Best Actor. Millson is a prolific stage and screen actor, best known for his recent TV work on the BBC's hit primetime shows The Last Kingdom and Banished. He has also worked extensively with the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre.