In this week’s production news round-up, Paul Merton is set to make his West End musical debut in Hairspray, and Richard Gadd’s Baby Reindeer will transfer to the Ambassadors Theatre.
Comedian Paul Merton is set to make his West End musical debut in Hairspray, starring as Wilbur Turnblad. He will perform in the show, which runs for 18 weeks at the London Coliseum, from April 23. He is joined by Rita Simons and Jonny Amies.
Authors: Mark O’Donnell (book), Marc Shaiman (music), Scott Wittman (lyrics)
Director: Jack O’Brien
Choreographer: Jerry Mitchell
Producers: Adam Spiegel Productions and Fiery Angel
Magic Goes Wrong has extended its West End booking period until August 30. The show, which is created with magicians Penn and Teller, is the second production as part of Mischief Theatre‘s residency at the Vaudeville Theatre.
Director: Adam Meggido
Design: Will Bowen, Roberto Surace (costume), David Howe (lighting), Paul Groothuis (sound), Duncan McLean (video and projection design), Ali James (movement)
Composer: Steve Brown
Producer: Mischief Theatre
The world premiere of Stages, a video-game musical, will run from March 3 to 8 as part of London’s Vault Festival.
Author/composer: Christian Czornyj
Director: Adam Lenson
Design: Libby Todd (set and costume), Christina Fulcher (movement), Alex Drofiak (lighting), Christian Czornyj (sound)
Rachel Tucker will join the Broadway cast of Come from Away, performing the roles of Beverley, Annette and others at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Currently performing in the West End run of the musical, her final performance will be on February 8.
Authors: Irene Sankoff and David Hein (book, music and lyrics)
Director: Christopher Ashley
Producers: UK by Junkyard Dog Productions and Smith & Brant Theatricals
Casting for Girls Just Wanna Have Fun has been confirmed. Linda Nolan, Jess Wright, Stephanie Dooley, Nicki Evans and Leanne Jones will star in the new musical, which opens at the Stafford Gatehouse on April 10, prior to a national tour.
Authors: Julie Coombe and John McIsaac
Director: John McIsaac
Choreographer: Hayley Jane Simmons
Producer: Red Entertainment
Casting has been announced for The Last Five Years, which will run at Southwark Playhouse. Molly Lynch will play the role of Cathy, opposite Oli Higginson as Jamie. The musical opens on February 28, running until March 28 with a press night on March 4.
Author/composer: Jason Robert Brown
Director: Jonathan O’Boyle
Design: Lee Newby, Jamie Platt (lighting), Adam Fisher (sound), Sam Spencer-Lane (choreography)
Producers: Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment in association with Edward Prophet and People Entertainment Group
Michael Longhurst has unveiled his second season as artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse, which includes a stage adaptation of the film Force Majeure and a double bill of plays about the climate crisis. Longhurst will direct the world premiere of Force Majeure, based on Ruben Östlund’s 2014 black comedy of the same name, which has been adapted by Tim Price. The Contingency Plan, co-produced by the Donmar and Theatr Clwyd, will comprise two plays by Steve Waters and will open at Theatr Clwyd in Mold before running in London at the Donmar. The season runs from April 17 to September 26.
Alfred Enoch and Nadia Nadarajah are set to star as part of the new 2020 summer season at Shakespeare’s Globe. Enoch will play Romeo in the season’s opening show, directed by Ola Ince, while Nadarajah will star in Antony and Cleopatra, in a production with the Globe Ensemble. The season also features productions of Twelfth Night, directed by associate artistic director Sean Holmes, and Much Ado about Nothing, directed by Eleanor Rhode. The programme runs from April 14 to October 3.
Following its run at Southwark Playhouse, Shook will transfer to the West End, playing at Trafalgar Studios from April 8 to May 9, with a press night on April 14. The play, which won the 2019 Papatango prize, follows three young men serving prison sentences while undergoing parenting lessons.
Author: Samuel Bailey
Director: George Turvey
Design: Jasmine Swan (set and costume), Johanna Town (lighting), Richard Hammarton (sound)
Producers: Papatango Theatre Company and James Quaife Productions, in association with Rupert Henderson and London Limelight
Following its run at the Bush theatre, Baby Reindeer will transfer to the West End for a 4-week run at the Ambassadors Theatre. The one-man show, which dramatises the author’s experience of a stalker, will run from April 2 to May 2, with a press night on April 6.
Author/cast: Richard Gadd
Director: Jon Brittain
Design: Celia Carey, Keegan Curran (sound), Peter Small (lighting), Ben Bull (video)
Producers: Francesca Moody Productions, Sonia Friedman Productions in association with Bush Theatre
The world premiere of Everywoman will run at London’s Bunker theatre from February 17 to 22, with a press night on 18. The play, which recounts a woman’s “darkest thoughts about motherhood”, is part of the venue’s closing season. Free childcare will be provided at all matinee performances for audience members with young children, and all performances will be in a relaxed environment and baby-friendly.
Director: Amelia Sears
Producer: Imy Wyatt Corner
The 4th Country, a play exploring neighbourly relations and history in Northern Ireland, will run from February 11 to 16 at the Crypt, as part of London’s Vault Festival. It is presented by Plain Heroines theatre company, which seeks to “tell the stories of the plain heroines of the world, whose lives may be messy and seemingly un-extraordinary, or those whose stories have been hidden and forgotten.”
Author: Kate Reid
Director: Gabriella Bird
Comedy thriller Crimes, Camera, Action has confirmed its UK spring tour, running at Bath’s Ustinov Studio from March 12 to 28. Inspired by the writing of Agatha Christie, Noel Coward and PG Wodehouse, the show explores a crime with a multi-roling cast, set in Hollywood’s golden era. It will play at venues including Yeovil’s Octagon Theatre, Theatre Royal Winchester and Frome’s Merlin Theatre, where it closes on June 7.
Author: Feargus Woods Dunlop
Director: James Farrell
Cast includes: Kirsty Cox, Heather Westwell, Feargus Woods Dunlop
Design: Connie Watson (set, costume), George Seal (lighting), Fred Riding (sound), Guy Hughes (music)
Casting has been confirmed for Rockets and Blue Lights at Manchester’s Royal Exchange. Kiza Deen, Karl Collins and Paul Bradley will lead the production, which explores Great Britain’s role in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. The play runs from March 12 to April 4, with a press night on March 17.
Author: Winsome Pinnock
Director: Miranda Cromwell, Femi Temowo (composer/musical director)
Design: Laura Hopkins, Jessica Hung Han Yun (lighting), Elena Peña (sound)
Producer: Royal Exchange
Poet Luke Wright has confirmed a national tour of his new play, The Remains of Logan Dankworth. The play, which examines marriage, Thatcherism and the legacy of New Labour and is performed in verse, will play from January 30 at venues including Wiltshire’s Pound Arts Centre, Manchester’s Edge Theatre and Arts Centre and Holt’s Auden Theatre, where the show closes on July 29.
Author/cast: Luke Wright
Director: Alex Thorpe
Design: Joe Price
Score: Polly Wright
A theatrical staging of the anime film The Garden of Words will run at London’s Park Theatre from July 16 to August 15, as part of the 2019-20 Japan Season of Culture. Adapted from Makoto Shinkai‘s film, the production will explore “invisible disability” and “loss of human connection in a digital world” through a female-led project. The production will include puppetry, movement and projection art, and will be performed in English with occasional Japanese.
Authors: Makoto Shinkai, Whole Hog Theatre (adaptation)
Director: Alexandra Rutter
Producers: Whole Hog Theatre in association with Park Theatre
Ben Forster, Kerry Ellis and John Owen-Jones will star in A Night at the Musicals at Tonbridge Castle on July 5.
Producer: Bravo Productions
WhiteWitch, an immersive rock musical, will tour the UK following its premiere at Birmingham’s King Edward’s Hall on March 20. Audiences will experience the story of Alicia, born into a world of black magic, featuring popular rock songs. The tour will include performances in Edinburgh and Nottingham, with exact dates and venues to be confirmed.
Author: Paul Levin
Musical Director: Abi Moore, James Maynard (arrangements)
Following its 2018 premiere and 2019 tour, The Little Prince is set for a second UK tour. Based on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry‘s children’s book, the dance show will play at venues including Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, London’s Artsdepot and Babylon Arts, Ely.
Author/director: Luca Silvestrini
Cast includes: Karl Fagerlund Brekke, Andrew Gardiner, Donna Lennard, Faith Prendergast
Design: Yann Seabra, Jackie Shemesh (lighting), Daniel Denton (video), Frank Moon (composer)
Producer: Luca Silvestrini’s Protein
The original cast members of Love Story the musical, Michael D Xavier, Emma Williams and Peter Polycarpou, are set to reunite for a concert, celebrating its 10th anniversary. Based on the novel by Erich Seagal, the musical premiered at Chichester Festival Theatre in 2010, before running in the West End. The concert will feature numbers from the musical and will take place at London’s Cadogan Hall on May 17.
Authors: Stephen Clark (book and lyrics), Howard Goodall (music and additional lyrics)
Directors: Samuel Hopkins, Andrew Linnie (musical)
Producers: Ben Lockwood, Samuel Hopkins and Andrew Linnie
Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! has announced further dates for its 2020 UK tour. The production, which opens at Theatre Royal Plymouth on November 16, will play at the Lowry, Salford from November 24 and Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin from December 2, ahead of a Christmas season at London’s Sadler’s Wells, from December 8.