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Production news round-up: Bonnie Langford to join 42nd Street company and Jonathan Bailey and Alex Gaumond complete casting for Sondheim’s Company

Bonnie Langford. Photo: Matt Crockett.
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This week’s production news includes casting for Clare Barron’s Susan Smith Blackburn Prize-winning play, Dance Nation, at the Almeida, final casting for Marianne Elliott’s Company and the news that Bonnie Langford will join the cast of 42nd Street from September.


Brendan Cowell, Karla Crome and Sarah Hadland have been cast in the UK premiere of Clare Barron’s Dance Nation at the Almeida Theatre. They will be joined by Nancy Crane, Miranda Foster, Kayla Meikle, Irfan Shamji, Manjinder Virk and Ria Zmitrowicz. It runs from August 27 to October 6, with press night on September 4.
Director: Bijan Sheibani
Design: Samal Blak (set), Moritz Junge (costume), Lee Curran (lighting), Marc Teitler (sound)
Producer: Almeida Theatre

Sandi Toksvig has teamed up with her sister Jenifer to create a new production of Treasure Island that will become the first in-house production at Leicester’s Haymarket Theatre. The show will run from December 13 to January 6.
Authors: Sandi Toksvig (book), Jenifer Toksvig (lyrics), David Perkins (music)
Director: Matthew Forbes
Producers: Haymarket Productions and Debbie Hicks

Maxine Peake, Natascha McElhone, Frances Barber and Imogen Stubbs will read sections of The Odyssey, from a new translation by Emily Wilson – the first by a woman. It takes place on beaches across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland’s Atlantic coast from August 9 to 19, as part of FrielFest, a festival celebrating the playwright Brian Friel. The programme also includes readings of Homer’s The Iliad and Friel’s Faith Healer, featuring Tamsin Greig, Alex Jennings, Rory Kinnear and Laura Donnelly.

The programme for Dublin Fringe Festival has been announced. It features 80 productions including The Money, described as a cross between a game and a theatre show, and new play Billy, by Sarah Gordon and Alice Malseed. The theatre programme also includes Cock Cock, Who’s There? by Samira Elgoz, in which she reconstructs the aftermath of a sexual assault in a performance about violence and intimacy, A Holy Show by Janet Moran, about the 1981 hijacking of an Aer Lingus plane, and Madhouse by Una McKevitt and PJ Gallagher, which is based on the life of Gallagher, a comedian. The festival runs from September 8 to 23.

The Arcola Theatre will stage a new adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway later this year, in collaboration with theatre’s company Forward Arena. It runs at the east London venue from September 25 to October 20, with press night on October 1.
Author: Hal Coase
Director: Thomas Bailey
Design: Emma D’Arcy
Producers: Arcola Theatre and Forward Arena

A new play by Daniel York Loh about the Chinese labour corps’ involvement in the First World War is being produced by British East Asian companies Moongate and Yellow Earth. It runs at the Theatre Royal Plymouth from October 17 to 20 and at the Arcola in east London from October 23 to November 17. Press night is on October 24.
Director: Kim Pearce
Design: Emma Bailey (set), Jessica Hung (lighting), Luke Swaffield (sound)
Music: Liz Lieu
Movement: Quang Kien Van

Casting has been announced for the London Free Open Air shows at the Scoop near Tower Bridge. One cast will perform in two shows: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and King Arthur. The productions run from August 8 to September 2, with press night on August 17.
Author: Phil Wilmott (adaptation)
Directors: Phil Wilmott, Justin Murray
Design: Justin Williams, Jonny Rust (set), Ben Jacobs (lighting), Theo Holloway (sound), Penn O’Gara (costume), Chris Since (projection)
Cast: Adrian Descosta, Emma Hoey, Sarah Agha, Siobhan Cha, Hadley Smith, Tom Gordon, Henry Wryly-Birch, EvaFontaine and PK Taylor
Producer: London Free Open Air Theatre

The National Youth Theatre has announced its programme for 2018, including a sixth London rep season. This includes the world premiere of Victoria’s Knickers, directed by Ned Bennett, and productions of Evan Placey’s Consensual and a gender-fluid Macbeth. It will run at Soho Theatre and the Garrick Theatre.

Casting has been announced for Polka Theatre’s production of The Everywhere Bear. Amy Tweed and Daniel Harlock will appear in the children’s show, which runs at Polka in London from August 26.
Author: Julia Donaldson, Rebecca Cobb
Director: Peter Glanville
Producers: Polka Theatre, Little Angel Theatre and Royal and Derngate

A reading of Peter Michael Marino’s show Desperately Seeking the Exit, about his experiences working on the musical flop Desperately Seeking Susan, will run at the Arts Theatre in London on July 26. It will feature original cast member Steve Serlin and Neil McDermott, Tim McArthur, Amy Cooke-Hodgson and David Calvitto.


Bonnie Langford is to join the cast of 42nd Street in the West End, which will close on January 5. Langford will quit EastEnders for the role, and begins performances on September 3. She will continue until the show closes.
Authors: Harry Warren, Al Dubin (music and lyrics), Mark Bramble, Michael Stewart (book)
Director: Mark Bramble
Producers: Michael Linnit and Michael Grade with Gate Ventures

Jonathan Bailey and Alex Gaumond have been announced as the final cast members for Marianne Elliott’s forthcoming production of Company. Bailey will play Jamie – the character of Amy in the original production – with Gaumond as Paul. The musical runs at the Gielgud Theatre from September 26, with press night on October 16.
Author: Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics), George Furth (book)
Director: Marianne Elliott
Producers include: Elliott and Harper Productions, Catherine Schreiber, Grove Entertainment and Jujamsyn Theaters

Rebecca Lock and Edward Baker-Duly will lead the cast of Kiss Me, Kate at Sheffield Theatres when it opens in December. It will be the theatre’s Christmas musical and runs from December 7 to January 12, with press night on December 12.
Author: Samuel and Bella Spewack (book), Cole Porter (music and lyrics)
Director: Paul Foster
Choreographer: Matt Flint
Design: Janet Bird (set), Howard Hudson (lighting), Mike Walker (sound)
Fight director: Kate Waters
Musical director: James McKeon
Cast also includes: Delroy Atkinson, Cindy Belliot, John Conroy, Dafydd Emyr, Dex Lee, Ross McLaren, Joel Montague, Adam Rhys-Charles, Amy Ellen Richardson, Matthew Whennell-Clark and Layton Williams
Casting: Will Burton
Producer: Sheffield Theatres

New casting has been announced for School of Rock, as it begins its third year in the West End. Craig Gallivan will lead the cast as Dewey Finn from August 22, with Laura Tebbutt, Alan Pearson, Michelle Francis and Jake Sharp also taking on lead roles. The musical is currently booking at the Gillian Lynne Theatre until October 20, 2019.
Authors: Andrew Lloyd Webber (music), Glenn Slater (lyrics), Julian Fellowes (book)
Director: Laurence Connor
Producers: Andrew Lloyd Webber for the Really Useful Group, Warner Music Group and Access Industries.

Rebecca McKinnis is to take over the role of Margaret New in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, replacing Josie Walker. Lee Ross is also joining the cast as Hugo. They take over from July 16, and the show is booking at the West End’s Apollo Theatre until April 6, 2019.
Authors: Dan Gillespie Sells (music), Tom MacRae (book and lyrics)
Director: Jonathan Butterell
Producers: Nica Burns, Ian Osborne, Paula Marie Black, Teresa and Craig Beech

Ramin Karimloo will headline three London concerts later this year, as part of Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway @ Leicester Square Theatre series. The musical theatre actor will perform three shows on October 5 and 6.
Producer: Mark Cortale

Belinda Davids will perform a 25-date tour of The Greatest Love of All: The Whitney Houston Show, featuring 20 of Houston’s most popular tracks. It runs from October 26, where it opens in Perth, and also runs locations including Carlisle, High Wycombe, Blackpool, Skegness and Southend.


Alexander Zeldin’s play Love is being made into a film by the BBC and National Theatre, where it premiered two years ago. It is being brought to the screen for BBC2 later this year, and for theatrical release. It is produced by Cuba Pictures, with the National Theatre, BBC Arts, BBC Films and Arts Council England.

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