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Production news round-up: Dance Umbrella announces 40th anniversary festival programme and EastEnders’ David Witts cast in Wicked

Big Dance Theatre is part of the line up for Dance Umbrella festival. Photo: Johanna Austin
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This week’s production news includes the 40th anniversary programme for Dance Umbrella Festival, while EastEnders actor David Witts has been cast as the lead in Wicked in the West End.

Plays

Girls and Boys will transfer to the Minetta Lane Theatre, New York from June 12 to July 15. Carey Mulligan will reprise her role as the unnamed protagonist.
Writer: Dennis Kelly
Director: Lyndsey Turner
Producer: Audible

Carey Mulligan to star in New York transfer of Girls and Boys

EastEnders actor James Alexandrou is among the cast announced for the world premiere of Europe After Rain at the Mercury Theatre Colchester. It runs from May 25 to June 9, with press night on May 31.
Author: Oliver Bennett
Director: Cara Nolan
Cast includes: Simon Haines, Natasha Kafka, and Anna Koval
Design: Amelia Jane Hankin (set and costume), Kiaran Kesby (lighting), Nuno Santos (sound)
Producer: Made in Colchester

Seamus Finnegan’s (North, Acts of Union) I am of Ireland will premiere at the Old Red Lion, London from June 5 to June 30. It explores Ireland’s national divisions and the country’s increasingly important role in Europe.
Director: Ken McClymont
Producer: McMac

The stage adaptation of David Walliams’ popular children’s novel Gangsta Granny returns to the West End for a two week run at the Harold Pinter Theatre. It runs from August 14 to August 26.
Director: Neal Foster
Producer: Birmingham Stage Company

For Reasons That Remain Unclear, a new play by Mart Crowley (The Boys in the Band), will headline King’s Head Theatre, London’s Queer Season. It follows a tense hotel room meeting between a Hollywood screenwriter and a Catholic priest, and runs from July 25 to August 18.
Director: Jessica Lazar
Producer: King’s Head Theatre

Antic Disposition will take Much Ado About Nothing to seven UK cathedrals from July 9 to July 24, before playing at the Gray’s Inn Hall, London from August 17 to September 1. They will set the play in post-war France, drawing inspiration from the films of Jacques Tati.
Author: William Shakespeare
Directors: Ben Horslen and John Risebero
Producer: Antic Disposition

The European premiere of Homos, or Everyone in America by Jordan Seavey comes to London’s Finborough Theatre from August 7 to September 1. It explores “post-gay” America.
Director: Josh Seymour
Producers: Rowan Rutter and Alex Turner

Musicals

Hamilton spoof Spamilton will transfer to the Menier Chocolate Factory from July 12 to September 8. It is written and directed by Gerard Alessandrini.
Producer: Menier Chocolate Factory

UK transfer of Gerard Alessandrini’s Hamilton spoof comes to Menier Chocolate Factory

New British musical Eugenius is to return to the Other Palace in London to run from September 1 to October 7.
Authors: Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins
Director: Ian Talbot
Producers: Warwick Davis and Kevin Wood

Former Eastenders actor David Witts will take over the role of Fiyero in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre from July 23.
Writer: Stephen Schwartz (music and lyrics), Winnie Holzman (book)
Director: Joe Mantello
Cast includes: Alice Fearn, Sophie Evans, Melanie La Barrie and Andy Hockley
Producers: Marc Platt, Universal Stage Productions, the Araca Group, Jon B. Platt, David Stone and Michael McCabe (UK Executive Producer)
Read original story here

French musical Notre Dame de Paris is to run at London’s Coliseum from January 23 to 27. There will be a press night on January 23.
Authors: Richard Cocciante (music) and Luc Plamondon (lyric)
Producer: Nicolas Talar

Notre Dame de Paris to be staged at London Coliseum in 2019

Other

Ben Forster, David Bedella, Rachel Tucker and Samantha Bond are among performers lined up to appear in a concert to mark the 100th birthday of lyricist Alan J Lerner. With a Little Bit of Lerner will be staged at the Royal Festival Hall on May 23, and will also feature Alexander Hanson, Jamie Lambert, Rob Houchen, Julian Ovenden, Caroline Sheen, Linzi Hateley, and Liz Robertson, Lerner’s widow.
Producer: BBC Concert Orchestra in association with the Society of London Theatre

The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) has announced a sprawling, site-specific piece on the effect of the Spanish Civil War on Liverpool, which features puppetry and immersive sensory effects. Red and Black is co-devised with Slung Low and will be performed at LIPA from May 21 to May 26.
Director: Alan Lane
Producers: LIPA and Slung Low

International dance festival Dance Umbrella has announced the programme for its 40th-anniversary festival, running from September 26 to October 21. Highlights include 17c from Big Dance Theatre at the Old Vic, which draws inspiration from the diaries of Samuel Pepys; Red by Wen Hui at the Southbank Centre, which revisits Chinese ballet from the Cultural Revolution; and Dimitris Papaioannou’s The Great Tamer, which will be the director’s debut at Saddler’s Wells.

Wen Hui’s Red will feature in the dance

English National Opera (ENO) has announced its 2018/19 season, the first to be curated by incoming artistic director Daniel Kramer and music director Martyn Brabbins. Max Webster will direct The Merry Widow and Lyndsey Turner will collaborate with Theatre Royal Stratford East to present Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fludde. Purni Morell will work with the Unicorn Theatre to create Dido, a production inspired by Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas aimed at teenagers. The season will also include the world premiere of Jack the Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel by Emma Jenkins and a revival of Jonathan Miller’s La boheme.

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