On Sundays, I now do a weekly recap of the previous week’s breaking theatre news, plus my own columns and features (and reviews, when I get get back to writing them), in tweets, press releases and announcements.
Meanwhile, I want to start keeping track of the shows that are coming back, or are newly being announced, in a new feature here that will be updated weekly until such time as it becomes a reality, and from then on will provide a weekly update to that week’s openings and future ones.
Theatres, of course, are in the midst of plotting its come-back from next month — theatres are likely to be able to reopen to socially-distanced audiences from 17 May, with limits capped at 1,000 people for indoor performances or 50% of capacity, whichever is the lower figure; with a possible lifting of all restrictions to follow from June 20. The government have only committed to formally confirming these dates a week before; so many producers are having to take matters into their own hands and start planning to open on or around those dates, which may or may not prove to be actually possible.
LONDON’S WEST END AND BEYOND
(Dates shown are for first performances, with press nights separately indicated where announced)
The Mousetrap (St Martin’s) Resuming performances 17 May, with two sets of casts that include established West End names like Danny Mac, Cassidy Janson, Derek Griffiths, Susan Penhaligon, Louise Jameson, David Rintoul and EastEnders actors Charlie Clements, Nicholas Bailey and Paul Bradley, among their number. Producer Adam Spiegel comments: “I am thrilled today to announce the award winning company of actors that have assembled to lead The Mousetrap back to the West End. The production is an enduring symbol of London theatre and I hope that its return signifies the first steps in the restoration of live theatre in London. I am so pleased that these hugely accomplished performers have chosen to participate in this historic moment.” (www.uk.the-mousetrap.co.uk)
Death Drop (Garrick Theatre) Resuming performances 19 May, with RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Willam and Latrice Royale joining the company, as well as Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist Myra Dubois; LoUis CYfer, Anna Phylactic and Holly Stars return from last year’s run. (www.deathdropplay.com)
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (Apollo) Resuming performances from May 20, with Shane Richie returning to play Hugo/Loco Chanelle (to July 18); joined by Noah Thomas as Jamie New, Melissa Jacques as his mum Margaret, Sejal Keshwala as Ray, Hiba Elchikhe as Pritti Pasha and Gillian Ford as Miss Hedge. www.EverybodysTalkingAboutJamie.co.uk
Les Misereables — The Staged Concert (Sondheim Theatre) Resuming performances from May 20, this run will feature Jon Robyns as Jean Valjean, Bradley Jaden as Javert, Lucie Jones as Fantine, Shan Ako as Eponine and Harry Apps as Marius. Gerard Carey and Josefina Gabrielle will play the Thenardiers. It will run to September 5, then the theatre will close for three weeks in order to re-mount the full production, which will re-open on September 25. www.lesmis.comSix the Musical (Lyric) [pictured above left] Resuming performances from May 21, booking to August 22, with a schedule of nine performances a week. Musical celebration of 21st century girl power: “These Queens may have green sleeves but their lipstick is rebellious red.” www.sixthemusical.comPretty Woman (Savoy Theatre, transferring from Piccadilly) Resuming performances from July 8, with Aimie Atkinson and Danny Mac [pictured above right] reprising their roles as Vivian Ward and her client Edward Lewis from when the show originally opened at the Piccadilly Theatre last March, but now in a new venue — the Savoy. They are joined by Rachael Wooding, Bob Harms, Neil McDermott and Mark Holden. https://prettywomanthemusical.com/
New Musical Theatre Festival (Turbine Theatre) May 17-29, then touring digitally from May 31-July 4. Rescheduled for a third time, eight new musicals will be presented in two weeks: Far From Heaven (with music by Scott Frankel and lyrics by Michael Korie, whose collaboration on Grey Gardens played on Broadway, and book by Richard Greenberg); The Man In the Ceiling (with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, and book by Jules Feiffer),Tony! (The Tony Blair Rock Opera), with music by Steve Brown, and book and lyrics by Brown and Harry Hill; #50days, The Man In the Ceiling, Millennials, HouseFire, Cake, Daisy and Tony! (The Tony Blair Rock Opera). https://www.theturbinetheatre.com/whatson
Cruise (Duchess Theatre) May 18-June 13, opens May 20. World premiere of a play written and performed by Jack Holden, based on a true story he was told whilst volunteering for Switchboard, the LGBTQ+ Listening Service, that pays tribute to a generation decimated by HIV and AIDs. A filmed version will still be available to watch from April 15-25 at Stream.Theatre before it arrives in the West End. Nica Burns of Nimax Theatres comments: “Hard as it is to find anything to celebrate in the theatre in this incredibly difficult pandemic year, being able to invite a talented new team of theatre-makers to reopen the Duchess theatre is a delight. A warm welcome to producers Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment, Jamie Lambert and Eliza Jackson of Lambert Jackson and their playwright Jack Holden, all making West End debuts.” www.cruisetheplay.co.uk
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare’s Globe) May 19-October 30, opening w/c May 25. Sean Holmes’s 2019 production returns, with the same company also set to perform Twelfth Night (see July below). Michelle Terry, artistic director, comments: “To even be announcing a season means that we are inching ever closer to getting back to doing the thing that we love, the thing that the Globe was built for, and the thing that so many of us, artists and audience alike, have lost during this time: sharing time, space and story with as many people as is safe. This is a historic moment, and not to be underestimated; we have a long way to go as we emerge and heal from this, but theatre can help us get there: that’s what it’s for. To express the often inexpressible, bear the often unbearable, laugh, cry, be – safely – together. The readiness is all and Shakespeare’s Globe is ready.” https://www.shakespearesglobe.com/whats-on/a-midsummer-nights-dream-2019/
Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me (Kiln Theatre) May 21-June 12, opens May 26. The Kiln re-opens with a play written and performed by Amy Trigg that won The Women’s Prize for Playwright 2020. www.KilnTheatre.com
After Life (National’s Dorfman Theatre) June 2-July 24. Adapted from Hirokazu Kore-eda’s award-winning film, After Life is presented in a new co-production with Headlong that’s written by Jack Thorne from a concept by designer Bunny Christie, and directed by Jeremy Herrin. Public booking opens on April 30, noon. https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/after-life
Jersey Boys (Trafalgar Theatre) June 2-January 2. The Broadway hit musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons returns to London to re-open the newly-reinstated Trafalgar Theatre. http://www.jerseyboyslondon.com/
Under Milk Wood (National’s Olivier Theatre) June 16-July 24. Michael Sheen, Karl Johnson and Siân Phillips feature in Lyndsey Turner’s production of Dylan Thomas’s poetic masterpiece. Public booking opens on April 30, at noon. https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/under-milk-wood
Hairspray (London Coliseum) June 22 to September 29. Michael Ball reprises his Olivier winning role as Edna Turnblad that he first gave in the show’s original West End transfer from Broadway in 2007, with Lizzie Bea as daughter Tracy [pictured above centre]. Jack O’Brien and Jerry Mitchell, director and choreographer of the original production, reprise those duties. https://www.hairspraythemusical.co.uk/
Cinderella (Gillian Lynne Theatre, pictured above right) From June 25, opens July 14. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical version of the classic tale, with a book by Emerald Fennell and lyrics by David Zippel, starring Carrie Hope Fletcher in the title role, with Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as Stepmother, and new graduate Ivano Turco as Sebastian. https://andrewlloydwebberscinderella.com/
Romeo and Juliet (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park) June 26-July 24, opens July 2. Kimberley Sykes directs. https://openairtheatre.com/production/romeo-juliet
Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare’s Globe) June 26-October 17, opening w/c July 5. Ola Ince, artistic associate at the Royal Court, directs Alfred Enoch as Romeo and Rebekah Murrell as Juliet, who were in rehearsal in 2020 to do the play when the theatre was shut down by the pandemic. https://www.shakespearesglobe.com/whats-on/romeo-and-juliet-2021/
Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe) June 29-October 30 opening w/c August 6. The same company as A Midsummer Night’s Dream (see above) performs, joined by artistic director Michelle Terry as Viola. https://www.shakespearesglobe.com/whats-on/twelfth-night-2021/Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (London Palladium) July 1-September 5. The 2019 hit revival, originally scheduled to return last summer, now returns, with Jac Yarrow reprising the title role and Jason Donovan – who played that role in its 1991 London revival at this same theatre — returning as Pharaoh. https://www.josephthemusical.com/
The Invisible Hand (Kiln Theatre) July 1-31, opens July 7. Ayad Akhtar’s play, first seen in the UK at the Kiln in 2016, returns in India Rubasingham’s production, with Daniel Lepaine reprising his performance as Nick Bright, an American banker confined to a cell in rural Pakistan who knows that his freedom comes at a price. Who will decide his fate: his captors, or the whim son the market? Tony Jayawardena returns to play Imam Salem again, with Scott Karim as Bashir. https://kilntheatre.com/whats-on/the-invisible-hand/
Anything Goes (Barbican Theatre) July 23-October 17. Megan Mullaly plays nightclub singer Reno Sweeney, with Robert Lindsay as Moonface Martin, Felicity Kendal as Evangeline harcourt and Gary Wilmot as Elisha Whitney, in Cole Porter’s classic musical. https://www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/2021/event/anything-goes
Carousel (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park) July 30-September 18, opens August 5. Artistic director Timothy Sheader directs with choreography by Drew McOnie, reuniting the team behind the theatre’s hit production of Jesus Christ Superstar. https://openairtheatre.com/production/carousel
Singin in the Rain (Sadler’s Wells, logo below) July 30-September 5, opens August 5. Jonathan Church’s production, which originated in Chichester in 2011 and subsequently played at the West End’s Palace Theatre, returns with Adam Cooper reprising the Gene Kelly role of Don Lockwood. https://www.sadlerswells.com/whats-on/2021/singin-in-the-rain/
Back to the Future — the Musical (Adelphi Theatre), from August 20. The film’s co-writers Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis adapt a stage musical version, with a cast led by Olly Dobson as Marty McFly and Broadway’s Roger Bart as Doc Brown. With original music byAlan Silvestri and Glen Ballard (Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror), alongside hit songs from the movie including The Power of Love, Johnny B. Goode, Earth Angel and Back in Time, it is directed by John Rando. https://www.backtothefuturemusical.com/
Frozen (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), from August 27, opens Sept 8. Michael Grandage brings his Broadway stage version of the Disney film to the West End, with a cast led by Samantha Barks as Elsa and Stephanie McKeon as Anna. https://lwtheatres.co.uk/whats-on/frozen-musical/
Hamlet (Young Vic) September 27-November 13, opens October 4. Greg Hersov directs Cush Jumbo [pictured above] in the title role of Shakespeare’s play, postponed from 2020. Kwame Kwei-Armah, artistic director, comments: “I am delighted that this extraordinary new version of Hamlet will play at the YV this autumn. I want to take this opportunity to thank each audience member who kept their tickets in the show through this period of uncertainty; I can’t wait to have you back into our house, to step into the extraordinary world Cush, Greg and the company will create.” https://www.youngvic.org/whats-on/hamlet-cush-jumbo
Metamorphoses (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, at Shakespeare’s Globe) September 30-October 30, opens w/c October 4) A new piece of theatre inspired by Ovid’s myths of chaos and creation, written by Globe writers-in-residence Sami Ibrahim, Laura Lomas and Sabrina Mahfouz. https://www.shakespearesglobe.com/whats-on/metamorphoses-2021/
Get Up Stand Up! – The Bob Marley Musical (Lyric Theatre) From October 1, opens October 20. With a script by Lee Hall (Billy Elliot), direction by Clint Dyer (new deputy artistic director of the National Theatre) and Arinzé Kene (as Bob Marley), this musical will feature such Marley standards as ‘Exodus’, ‘No Woman No Cry’, ‘Waiting in Vain’, ‘Three Little Birds’, ‘I Shot the Sheriff’, ‘Could You Be Loved’ and ‘Redemption Song’. https://getupstandupthemusical.com
The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Duke of York’s), October 26-February 12, opens November 4. Delayed transfer for the National’s hit production adapted fry Neil Gaiman’s book. https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-ocean-at-the-end-of-the-lane/duke-of-yorks-theatre/
The Drifters Girl (Garrick Theatre) November 4-March 26, 2022, opens November 25. Beverley Knight to star as Faye Treadwell, the legendary manager of The Drifters in Jonathan Church’s production. https://www.nimaxtheatres.com/shows/the-drifters-girl/
REGIONAL THEATRE OPENINGS
Four Quartets (Bath Theatre, Royal, from May 25-June 5, then touring) Ralph Fiennes directs and stars in a new stage adaptation of TS Eliot’s Four Quartets, touring after Bath to Northampton, Oxford and Cambridge, with further dates to be announced. https://www.theatreroyal.org.uk/event/four-quartets/
Hamlet (Windsor Theatre Royal, June 21-September 4). Ian McKellen, now aged 81, returns to a role he previously played fifty years ago, in a new production by Sean Mathias that is age, colour and gender-blind. The company also includes Steven Berkoff, Jenny Seagrove, Francesca Annis and Jonathan Hyde. The company will also perform The Cherry Orchard from September — see below. https://theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk/hamlet
Piaf (Nottingham Playhouse, July 2-17, opens July 6; with dates at Leeds Playhouse to be confirmed) Jenna Russell stars in the title role of Pam Gems’s play. https://nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/events/piaf/
South Pacific (Chichester Festival Theatre, logo above right), from July 5-August 28. Artistic director Daniel Evans directs Gina Beck as Nellie Forbush, Julian Oveden as Emile de Becque in a new production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, originally planned for last summer and now being staged this year. he cast also includes Joanna Ampil as Bloody Mary, Rob Houchen as Lt Cable, and Keir Charles as Luther Billis. https://www.cft.org.uk/whats-on/event/south-pacific
The Cherry Orchard, Windsor, September 10-October 23. Francesca Annis stars as Ranevskaya, Ian McKellen as Firs and Jenny Seagrove as Gaev, after also previously featuring in Hamlet (see above). https://theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk/thecherryorchard/
POSTPONED PRODUCTIONS (DATES TBC):
Sunday in the Park with George (Savoy) Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford reprise their roles from the Broadway revival.Sister Act (Eventim Apollo) Whoopi Goldberg can no longer star in the production now that it has been postponed twice, but it is due here in 2022 now.Good (Pinter) David Tennant in a revival of CP Taylor’s play originally premiered at the Donmar Warehouse under the RSC’s auspices in the 1980s.4,000 Miles (Old Vic) Eileen Atkins and Timothée Chalamet are due to star in Amy Herzog’s Pulitzer nominated play.The Doctor (Duke of York’s) Juliet Stevenson in Rob Icke’s production originally seen at the Almeida.
The post April 5: What’s returning and what’s new in the months ahead first appeared on Shenton Stage.