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London Show News
  With Labour of Love and Ink currently running in the West End, James Graham achieves a hat-trick as his sell-out 'major coughing hit', Quiz, transfers to London's Noel Coward Theatre in March.

A provocative re-examination of the conviction of Charles Ingram for cheating on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, Quiz "highlights the dangerous blending of entertainment, politics and justice today." (Sunday Times). Quiz, which premiered last month at Chichester Festival Theatre, will have a strictly limited London season from 31 March to 16 June 2018.

James Graham commented:
"Being given the chance to share Quiz with more people - and with the opportunity to develop and push our gameshow-meets-theatre concept even further - is beyond exciting for all of us.

"I would never have imagined years ago I'd get a chance to put any of my new plays into the West End. So to be able to return so quickly to the Noel Coward - which has been the happiest of homes for Labour of Love - feels surprising, and properly humbling to have the trust, belief, and support in the show from our producers, the amazing Daniel Evans, and the team of actors and creators who help me tell this gobsmacking story of the so-called Coughing Major and the most successful game show of all time."

Daniel Evans added: "It's been an enormous privilege to have presented James Graham's Quiz as part of our inaugural season at Chichester. James is an exceptional writer with a knack for examining our recent history through an alternative lens. We're thrilled to be able to revisit the production for the West End, and share Chichester's work with a wider audience."
  Tickets are now on general sale for the Open Air Theatre's 2018 summer season, which continues under the artistic directorship of Timothy Sheader. The headline productions are Peter Pan, As You Like It, Dinosaur World Live, Little Shop of Horrors, and The Turn of the Screw, a co-production with English National Opera.

The season opens on 17 May with Peter Pan, a revival of their 2015 Olivier Award-nominated production, in the final year of the First World War Centenary Commemorations. George Llewelyn Davies, killed in action during WW1, was one of the children who inspired J. M. Barrie to create the iconic character of Peter Pan. Remembering him, and a generation of Lost Boys, the production enchanted young and old alike during its original, critically acclaimed run.

Also confirmed is the full creative team for The Turn of the Screw ( from 22 June), a co-production with English National Opera. Members of the ENO orchestra will be conducted by ENO Mackerras Fellow Toby Purser. The story of unearthly encounters at a remote country house, and of a young governess desperate to protect her children, finds chilling new levels of suspense in this unique outdoor production of Benjamin Britten's masterly reworking of Henry James' classic novella.

Next, Max Webster directs William Shakespeare's As You Like It (6-28 July). Returning to the Open Air Theatre following his production of Twelfth Night re-imagined in 2014, Max recently directed A Winter's Tale (Edinburgh Lyceum), The Twits and King Lear (Northampton Royal & Derngate), and The Lorax, which is currently playing at the Old Vic.
This warm, open-hearted production promises adventure, sibling rivalry, mistaken identity and romance.

Playing daytime performances, Dinosaur World Live ( from 14 August), is a new interactive show for all the family (ages 3+). Grab your compass and join our intrepid explorer across unchartered territories to discover a prehistoric world of astonishing (and remarkably life-like) dinosaurs - including every child's favourite flesh-eating giant, the Tyrannosaurus rex.

The 2018 season concludes with the mean green monster musical Little Shop of Horrors ( from 3 August). Making her Open Air Theatre debut, the production is directed by Maria Aberg. Maria's recent work includes Dr Faustus, The White Devil, As You Like It, King John, The Gods Weep, Days of Significance (all Royal Shakespeare Company), Hotel (National Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (Royal Exchange Manchester), The Chairs (Theatre Royal Bath), Alaska (Royal Court) and Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox (Nuffield/Lyric Hammersmith).
  The winners of the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards were announced this weekend at a ceremony at London's Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Three of the nine awards went to the premiere of Jez Butterworth's The Ferryman, which premiered at the Royal Court and is still running in the West End.

The Ferryman scooped three of the four awards for which it was nominated, with Jez Butterworth honoured for Best Play, Sam Mendes picking up Best Director and Tom Glynn-Carney taking home the Emerging Talent Award. Jez Butterworth's win marks his third Evening Standard Theatre Award, winning Most Promising Playwright in 1995 and Best Play for Jerusalem in 2009.

Andrew Garfield won Best Actor for Angels in America, despite stiff competition from Ink's Bertie Carvel and Hamlet's Andrew Scott. Garfield was the recipient of The Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer eleven years ago, in 2006. Garfield reprises his performance in the Broadway transfer in February.

Glenda Jackson was awarded Best Actress for her role in King Lear, triumphing over The Ferryman's Laura Donnelly and Albion's Victoria Hamilton, who were all shortlisted for the award presented in memory of the late Natasha Richardson.

Amber Riley - who performed at last year's ceremony - won the award for Best Musical Performance for her role in Dreamgirls, whilst the Evening Standard Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical was presented to Bat Out of Hell - The Musical, which transfers to the West End in April.

Bunny Christie was honoured with the award for Best Design for Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle, Ink and The Red Barn. Christie previously won Best Design for Baby Doll in 2000.

The Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright was presented to The Octoroon's Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Previous recipients of the award include Tom Stoppard (1967) and Polly Stenham (2007).

The annual awards, marking their 63rd year, were co-hosted by the newspaper's owner, Evgeny Lebedev, American Vogue editor-in-chief, Dame Anna Wintour, star of stage and screen Cate Blanchett and Hamilton creator and original star Lin-Manuel Miranda. The on-stage host for the evening was Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Among the guests for the evening were Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Glenda Jackson, Andrew Garfield, Jez Butterworth, Amber Riley, Sam Mendes, Tom Glynn-Carney, Dame Shirey Bassey, Keira Knightly, Poppy Delevingne, John Hamm, Laura Carmichael and Dominic West.
  Following the announcement at last night's Evening Standard Theatre Awards that Jim Steinman's Bat Out Of Hell - The Musical has won the Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical, producers have announced that the musical will be returning to London's West End in 2018, with performances beginning at the Dominion Theatre on 2 April. Tickets are now on sale.

Bat Out Of Hell - The Musical wowed critics and public alike when it played limited seasons at Manchester Opera House and London Coliseum earlier this year. It currently has audiences rocking out in Toronto, where performances will end in January. Andrew Polec, winner of the Joe Allen Best West End Debut in the Stage Debut Awards 2017, and Christina Bennington are in positive negotiations to recreate their roles as the romantic leads, Strat and Raven, at the Dominion. Further casting is to be announced.

Bat Out Of Hell became one of the best-selling albums in history, selling over 50 million copies worldwide. Sixteen years later, Jim Steinman scored again with Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell, which contained the massive hit I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That). For the stage musical, Steinman has incorporated iconic songs from the albums, including You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth, Bat Out Of Hell, I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That- and Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad, as well as two previously unreleased songs, What Part of My Body Hurts the Most and Not Allowed to Love.

It was also announced last week that the show has been nominated in the following categories for the 2018 WhatsOnStage Awards: Best New Musical, Best Actor in a Musical - Andrew Polec, Best Actress in a Musical - Christina Bennington, Best Supporting Actor in a Musical - Rob Fowler, Best Supporting Actress in a Musical - Danielle Steers, Best Direction - Jay Scheib, Best Set Design - Jon Bausor, and Best Lighting Design - Patrick Woodroffe. Winners will be announced on 25 February 2018.
  Full casting, including Penelope Wilton, has been announced for the new stage adaptation of Ingmar Bergman's 1982 Swedish drama film Fanny & Alexander, which runs at London's Old Vic Theatre from 21 February to 14 April 2018.

Penelope Wilton plays Mrs Helena Ekdahl. Her extensive theatre credits include Taken at Midnight (Theatre Royal Haymarket/Chichester Festival Theatre) for which she won an Olivier Award for Best Actress in 2015, Delicate Balance, Heartbreak House, The Deep Blue Sea (Almeida), The Family Reunion, The Chalk Garden - winning her the London Evening Standard Award Best Actress in 2008, John Gabriel Borkman, Little Foxes (Donmar Warehouse), The House of Bernarda Alba, Tess, Piano, The Secret Rapture, Major Barbara, Much Ado About Nothing, Man and Superman, Betrayal, The Philanderer, Sisterly Feelings, Landscape (National Theatre), Hamlet, Tishoo (Wyndham's Theatre) and Women Beware Women (RSC Swan Theatre). Television includes Brief Encounters, Downton Abbey, Miss Marple: They do it with Mirrors, South Riding, Doctor Who, The Passion, Five Days, The Whistle-Blower, Wives and Daughters, Half Broken Things, Celebration, Ever Decreasing Circles. Film work includes Guernsey, Zoo, The BFG, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Belle, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The History Boys, Pride and Prejudice and Shaun of the Dead.

Wilton is joined in the cast by: Thomas Arnold (Carl Ekdahl/Mr. Landhal), Lolita Chakrabarti)Alma Ekdahl/Helena Vergerus), Kevin Doyle (Bishop Edvard Vergerus), Karina Fernandez (Lydia Ekdahl/Justina), Annie Firbank (Vega/Blenda Vergerus), Matt Gavan (Michael Bergman/Aron Retzinsky), Tim Lewis, Gary MacKay, Gloria Obianyo (Petra Ekdahl/Pauline/Ismael Retzinsky), Vivian Oparah (Maj), Michael Pennington (Isak Jacobi/Death), Hannah James Scott, Jonathan Slinger (Gustav Adolf Ekdahl), Catherine Walker (Emilie Ekdahl) and Sargon Yelda (Oscar Ekdahl).

The role of Fanny will be played by Zaris Angel Hator, Amy Jayne Leigh, Molly Shenker and Katie Simons, and the role of Alexander will be played by Guillermo Bedward, Kit Connor, Jack Falk and Misha Handley, who will alternate performances.
  Kneehigh's production of Noel Coward's Brief Encounter, adapted and directed by Emma Rice, will again be produced live on stage at a West End cinema after its 2008 success. It runs at the Empire Cinema Haymarket from 2 March to 2 September 2018.

Prior to the West End, Brief Encounter will play Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 2 to 17 February 2018 and The Lowry, Salford from 20 to 24 February 2018.

Emma Rice said:
"I've always loved getting lost in the dark, and the cinema is one of the best places to do it. However, a film doesn't change. It carries on whether you are there or not; performances are captured forever, never altering. My production of Brief Encounter combines the romance of cinema with all that live theatre can offer; magic, passion, surprise, suggestion and naughtiness. I carry this show in my heart and couldn't be more excited to return to this heart-pounding production and bring it back to its rightful home at the Empire Cinema. Radical and romantic, nostalgic but oh, so relevant - let passions ignite!"

Producers David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers said:
"Emma Rice's award-winning theatrical production of Brief Encounter is one of the highlights of our producing career. It is incredibly exciting to bring it back to London's West End after it has triumphed all over the world and to present it in the restored Empire Cinema, which was built in 1926 as the Carlton Theatre. Our wonderful stage production of Brief Encounter switches between live action and film, so we will once again be turning the cinema into a theatre especially for this show.

"We are very proud to be working again with Emma on this spellbinding production, which we hope a new generation will now have the chance to see, as well as those who may have missed it the first time or loved it so much they just have to come back and see it again."

David Lean's iconic 1945 film starred Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard as Laura and Alec. Onstage next year, Isabel Pollen and Jim Sturgeon are Laura and Alec in a cast that also features Lucy Thackeray as Myrtle, Beverly Rudd as Beryl, Jos Slovick as Stanley and Dean Nolan as Fred/Albert, with Katrina Kleve and Peter Dukes.

The award-winning production, which was originally produced at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, triumphed in the West End in 2008 and subsequently received great critical acclaim on Broadway and went on to tour worldwide. It was described by Ben Brantley in the New York Times as "surely the most enchanting work of stagecraft ever inspired by a movie."
  With their production of Labour of Love about to complete its run, the Michael Grandage Company have announced two new productions for 2018 - Red by John Logan, and The Lieutenant of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh.

Based on the original Donmar Warehouse production, the new production of Red by John Logan is the first ever UK revival since Grandage originated the premiere at the Donmar in 2009. The production went on to win six Tony Awards including Best Play. Award-winning stage and screen actor Alfred Molina reprises his critically acclaimed performance as the American abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko. He is joined by rising star Alfred Enoch of US television drama series How To Get Away With Murder. The production opens at the Wyndham's Theatre on 15 May, with previews from 4 May, and runs until 28 July.

The Lieutenant of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh receives a rare revival in the West End, opening at the Noel Coward Theatre on 4 July, with previews from 23 June, and running until 8 September. It follows Michael Grandage's award-winning production of McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan at the same address in 2013, which later transferred to Broadway. Aidan Turner stars as Mad Padraic, a terrorist deemed too violent to be a member of the IRA. The play, which premiered at the RSC in 2001, is a brilliant satire on terrorism, an acute observation of violence in contemporary culture and a hilarious farce.

Michael Grandage commented:
"This announcement continues our commitment to producing great plays in the West End with accessible pricing at the core of everything we do. I am looking forward to working with these exciting actors on two brilliant plays in two of the most beautiful playhouses in London."
  New cast members for The Ferryman have been announced. Rosalie Craig (As You Like It, The Threepenny Opera, The Light Princess and London Road, National Theatre) will play Caitlin Carney, Owen McDonnell (Single-Handed, RTE/ ITV; Paula, BBC) will play Quinn Carney and Justin Edwards (The Thick of It, BBC; The Man Who Invented Christmas; The Death Of Stalin) will play Tom Kettle.

Also joining the company will be Stella McCusker as Aunt Maggie Far Away, Siān Thomas as Aunt Pat, Declan Conlon as Muldoon, Dean Ashton as Frank Magennis, Terence Keeley as Diarmaid Corcoran, Sean Delaney as Michael Carney, Francis Mezza as Shane Corcoran, Kevin Creedon as JJ Carney, Laurie Kynaston as Oisin Carney and Saoirse-Monica Jackson as Shena Carney.

Catherine McCormack will continue in her role as Mary Carney, as will Charles Dale as Father Horrigan, Mark Lambert as Uncle Pat and Glenn Speers as Lawrence Malone. As previously the full company comprises 37 performers: 17 main adults, 7 covers, 12 children on rota and 1 baby. The new company will give its first performance on 8th January 2018.

The Ferryman, directed by Sam Mendes, will run at the Gielgud Theatre until 19 May 2018. The production won widespread critical acclaim when it opened at the Royal Court 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 day seats.

The play has been nominated for four honours at this year's Evening Standard Awards including Best New Play, Best Director for Sam Mendes, Best Actress for Laura Donnelly and the Emerging Talent Award for Tom Glynn-Carney.
  Ahead of its 200th birthday, The Old Vic marks the launch of its bicentenary and Matthew Warchus' third year as Artistic Director of The Old Vic with a season of world premiere productions. Tickets are now on sale for these four world premieres:

A new adaptation of Ingmar Bergman's 1982 Swedish film Fanny & Alexander by Stephen Beresford, directed by Max Webster. Running 21 February to 14 April 2018. Amongst the gilded romance and glamour of 1900s Sweden, two creative siblings find their world turned upside down when their mother remarries a bishop.

Mood Music, a new play by Joe Penhall, directed by Roger Michell. Running 21 April to 30 June 2018. In a London recording studios, two songwriters, their lawyers and psychotherapists go to battle over music.

A new adaptation of Patrick Ness' 2011 children's fantasy novel A Monster Calls, devised by the company, directed by Sally Cookson. Running 7 July to 20 August 2018. Thirteen-year-old Conor's mum is sick and not getting better. One night, seven minutes past midnight, a monster arrives to tell Conor tales - when he's finished, Conor must tell his own story and face his fears. A 2014 film version featured Liam Neeson voicing the monster.

ZooNation's new musical dance production, Sylvia, co-written, directed and choreographed by Associate Artist Kate Prince with music and lyrics by Josh Cohen and DJ Walde. Running 1 to 22 September 2018. 100 years after the first women in Britain were granted the vote, this piece combines dance, hip-hop, soul and funk to shed new light on a remarkable story at the heart of the Suffragette movement.

These are in addition to the previously announced productions:
A new adaptation of Charles Dickens' timeless classic A Christmas Carol by Jack Thorne, directed by Matthew Warchus The Divide, a 'narrative for voices', by Alan Ayckbourn, directed by Baylis Director Annabel Bolton In the West End: Girl from the North Country at the Noel Coward Theatre from 29 December 2017; and the return of Emma Rice's Brief Encounter at the Empire Cinema, Haymarket from March 2018

Artistic Director Matthew Warchus commented:
"We love and care for the elderly members of our family and community out of respect for all that they have achieved and contributed in their long lives. On the other hand, we love and care for the young because we are excited about their future and we want them to exuberantly fulfil their potential.
"To honour The Old Vic's 200th birthday we are celebrating it partly as a treasured historic icon but mostly as an adventurous, youthful, hub of creativity with a vibrant future ahead of it. To emphasise this forward-facing spirit, I'm delighted to present a Bicentenary Season comprised entirely of world premiere productions, including four new commissions. The Old Vic will, of course, continue to mix pertinent revivals and refreshed classics into future seasons, but for this birthday year, we are allowing ourselves to focus on new work.
"We aim for this famous building to be a welcoming, fun, surprising and indispensable cultural landmark, now and for another 200 years. Please join us this celebratory season and entertain something new."
  The National Theatre's critically acclaimed, sold-out production of David Eldridge's latest play Beginning, "the (anti) romance for 21st-century London life", will transfer to the West End's Ambassadors Theatre for a strictly limited ten-week run from 15 January to 24 March 2018. It's the first new production in the Ambassadors after Stomp ends its ten-year run at the theatre on 7 January.

Beginning is a tender and funny look at the first fragile moments of risking your heart and taking a chance. Reprising their highly praised roles as Laura and Danny, Justine Mitchell (Bodies, Royal Court; Mr Burns, Almeida Theatre) and Sam Troughton (King Lear, National Theatre; The Hollow Crown, BBC; and The Ritual) are directed by Polly Findlay (Limehouse, Donmar Warehouse; As You Like It, Protest Song and Antigone, National Theatre) in this season's must-see hit by David Eldridge (Festen, Market Boy, Under the Blue Sky, In Basildon).

Acclaimed by critics and audiences during its sold-out run, the play received its world premiere in October in the NT's Dorfman Theatre. The premiere production has design by Fly Davis, lighting design by Jack Knowles, sound design by Paul Arditti and movement by Naomi Said. It's produced in the West End by the National Theatre. Tickets are now on sale.