April 26 UPDATE: What’s returning and what’s new in the months ahead

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This weekly column keeps track of the shows that are coming back, or are newly being announced, as theatres prepare to re-open from next month onwards. It 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.

NB: CHANGES SINCE LAST WEEK ARE INDICATED BY:
>>NEW or >>UPDATED

ALSO: PRESS CONTACTS HAVE BEEN ADDED TO ALL NEW ENTRIES.

LONDON’S WEST END AND BEYOND
(Dates shown are for first performances, with press nights separately indicated where announced)

RETURNING SHOWS:

  • The Mousetrap (St Martin’s) Resuming performances May 17, 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.” Press Contact: David Bloom a Storyhouse PR. www.uk.the-mousetrap.co.uk
  • Death Drop (Garrick Theatre) Resuming performances May 19, 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. Press contact: Jack Collins, at Neil Reading PR. 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. Press contact: Jo Allan PR. www.EverybodysTalkingAboutJamie.co.uk
  • Les Miserables — 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, Press contact: Janine Shalom at Premier. ww.lesmis.com
  • Six 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.” Press contact: Kevin Wilson PR. www.sixthemusical.com
  • Prince of Egypt (Dominion Theatre) Resuming performances from July 2. The epic stage version of the film musical that tells the Moses story, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (‘Wicked’, ‘Pippin’, ‘Godspell’). Press contact: Amanda Malpass PR. https://www.theprinceofegyptmusical.com
  • Pretty 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. Press contact: Simon Raw, Emily Webb, Stacey Pedder at Raw PR. https://prettywomanthemusical.com/
  • Come from Away (Phoenix Theatre). Resuming performances from July 22, with a cast that includes Jenna Boyd, James Doherty, Mark Dugdale, Alice Fearn, Kate Graham, Alasdair Harvey , Jonathan Andrew Hume, Harry Morrison, Emma Salvo and Cat Simmon. Press contact: Lewis Jenkins at Storyhouse PR.

  • Witness for the Prosecution (London County Hall, Belvedere Road, London, SE1) Resuming performances August 3, Agatha Christie’s courtroom drama returns to the former council debating chamber of what used to be the seat of London’s local governance. Lucy Bailey’s production (pictured above) had already run for over two and a half years and had just played to its 1000th performance when Covid forced it to suspend performances. Press contacts: Laura Myers and Chloe Pritchard-Gordon at About Grace PR. http://www.witnesscountyhall.com/

  • >> NEW ENTRY: Leopoldstadt (Wyndam’s Theatre). Resuming performances from August 7, for a run to October 30. Tom Stoppard’s latest (and arguably most personal) play, which premiered in February 2020 before having its run abbreviated when the pandemic shut down theatres the following month, returns to complete its run. In a press statement, producer Sonia Friedman comments, “I am deeply relieved that after a year of immense loss and struggle for so many, including the unthinkable shutdown of our theatre industry, to announce the new dates for the return of Tom’s astonishing play to the West End. Leopoldstadt is a passionate drama of enduring love and familial bonds that asks us to bear witness to our pasts, no matter how painful that may be. The audience response throughout our seven weeks of sold-out performances before the pandemic struck in March 2020 was incredibly moving and humbling to witness. Over a year later and now having won the 2020 Olivier Award for Best New Play, Leopoldstadt could not be more pertinent. I so look forward to returning to the Wyndham’s Theatre, to welcome back our very special audiences as we continue to share this epic, truly great new play.” Press contact: Janine Shalom at Premier Communications. https://leopoldstadtplay.com/

  • >> NEW ENTRY: The Woman in Black (Fortune Theatre) Resuming performances from September 7. The West End’s second-longest running play (after The Mousetrap) returns. In response to the show’s enduring popularity with young people, the producers have announced that those aged 18 and under will be able to see the West End production free of charge, alongside each full paying adult ticket. Additionally, persons aged 25 and under will be eligible for a £25 ticket rate. A new national tour will also embark from Cambridge’s Arts Theatre  from June 17. Press contacts: Emily Webb or Simon Raw at Simon Raw PR.
  • & Juliet (Shaftesbury Theatre) Resuming performances from September 24. The new Shakespearean musical based on the back catalogue of pop hit maker Max Martin, including such iconic songs as ‘Baby One More Time’, ‘Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)’, ‘Love Me Like You Do’ and ‘Can’t Feel My Face scored three Olivier Award wins for cast members Miriam-Teak Lee (Best Actress in a Musical) as Juliet, with Cassidy Janson and David Bedella winning Best Actress and Actor in a Musical in a supporting role respectively. https://www.andjulietthemusical.co.uk/

  • >>NEW ENTRY: Only Fools and Horses (Theatre Royal, Haymarket) Resuming performances from October 1. As the TV show it is based on celebrates its 40th anniversary year (it first aired on September 8, 1981 on the BBC), the musical version returns, with Paul Whitehouse returning as Grandad, alongside Tom Bennett as Del Boy and Ryan Hutton as Rodney. In a press statement, Whitehouse comments: “I’m over the moon because, finally, the West End is coming back to life and Only Fools and Horses The Musical will return to the Theatre Royal Haymarket this October. The last year or so has been very difficult for a lot of people, so I know I speak for the whole cast when I say that we genuinely cannot wait to get back on stage in front of a live audience – we’ve missed it so much. Roll on 1st October, we can’t wait to see you. Mange tout!” Press contact: Neil Reading PR. https://onlyfoolsmusical.com/

NEW PRODUCTIONS:

  • Flight (Bridge Theatre) May 17-,June 6. Return run for a theatre installation by Vox Motus, which made its London debut at the Bridge last year before lockdown halted the run.  Audiences are seated individually and given headphones for this intimate experience staged by Candice Edmunds and Jamie Harrison who is magic and illusions designer for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  Like a 3-D graphic novel brought to life, the revolving scenes contain detailed sets and figures which are accompanied by binaural sound and narration. Press contact: Freddie Todd Fordham at Barbican Centre. https://bridgetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/flight/
  • 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; cast: Cory English, Tiffany Graves, Aimee Hodnett, Melanie La Barrie, Ako Mitchell, Bryce Pinkham and Scarlett Strallen); * The Man In the Ceiling (with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, and book by Jules Feiffer; cast: Matthew Croke, Jazz Jenkins, Andrew Lippa and Sharon Rose) * Tony! The Tony Blair Rock Opera (with music by Steve Brown, and book and lyrics by Brown and Harry Hill, cast: Jenna Boyd, Scott Garnham, Gemma Knight Jones, Marie Lawrence, Simon Lipkin, Nicola Sloane and Paul Thornley); * #50days (Created and written by Thabo Stuck; cast: Aminita Francis, Nadine-Rose Johnson, Reuben Joseph, Kyran Mitchell-Nanton, Robert Saunders, Cleve September), * Millennials (Music, Book & Lyrics by Elliot Clay; cast: Luke Bayer, Allie Daniel, Beth Hinton-Leve, Nathan Lorainey-Dinner, Tim Mahendran, Grace Mouat, Jodie Steele) * Cake (By McManus, Lloyd Malcolm & Taylor-Johnson; cast: Tori Allen-Martin, Emma Kingston, Phoebe Panaretos, Sebastien Torkia), * Housefire (by P Burton-Morgan & Felix Hagan; cast: Alex Cardall , Eleanor Kane and Robin Simões da Silva) * Daisy (by Caroline Kay; cast: Jessica Cervi , Chris Chung, Caroline Kay and Sharon Sexton). Press contact: Emma Holland PR. https://www.theturbinetheatre.com/whatson
  • Harm (Bush Theatre) May 17-June 26, opens May 21. Phoebe Eclair-Powell’s comedy on the corrosive effects of social media and isolation, a filmed version of which was broadcast on BBC4 on April 13 and is now available on iPlayer as part of BBC Arts Lights Up season which partnered with theatres across the country to produce plays for audience at home. Press contact: Martin Shippen. https://www.bushtheatre.co.uk/event/harm/

  • 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.” Press contact: Chloe Pritchard-Gordon and Laura Myers at About Grace PR. 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.” Press contacts: Claudia Conway at Claudia Conway, or Jessica Strawson at the Globe. https://www.shakespearesglobe.com/whats-on/a-midsummer-nights-dream-2019/
  • Amélie The Musical (Criterion Theatre) From May 20, opens June 2. Michael Fentiman’s production of the 2017 Broadway musical version of the 2001 film, first seen in London at the Other Palace Theatre in 2019, transfers to the West End, with Audrey Brisson reprising her performance in the title role. Press contact: Arabella Neville-Rolfe at ANPR. https://ameliethemusical.com

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. Press contact: Kate Morley PR. www.KilnTheatre.com

  • >>UPDATED WITH CASTING: Abba Mania! (Shaftesbury) May 21-June 6. Long-touring Abba tribute concert show, which previously played an 18 week West End season at the Strand (now the Novello Theatre, and home to Mamma Mia!), returns to town for a short season. The cast will comprise Rhiannon Porter, JoJo Desmond, Edward Handoll and Loucas Hajiantoni. PR: Chloe Nelkin Consulting. https://www.abbamania.com/

  • Re-Emerge season: Walden (Harold Pinter Theatre, May 22-June 12): New season of plays introducing new voices and fresh talent to the West End, curated by Sonia Friedman Productions (who are producing) and Ian Rickson, opens with Amy Berryman’s Walden. Press contact: Kate Morley PR. Sign up for priority booking:  www.sfp-reemergeseason.co.uk.

  • Here Come The Boys (London Palladium), May 25-June 9, press night May 26. Aljaž Škorjanec, Pasha Kovalev, Graziano di Prima, Robin Windsor, and Strictly finalist Karim Zeroual are joined by special guest star Nadiya Bychkova. Gareth Walker directs and choreographs. Press contact: Kevin Wilson PR. https://lwtheatres.co.uk/whats-on/here-come-the-boys-2/

  • Shaw Shorts: How He Lied to Her Husband and Overruled (Orange Tree Theatre, May 22-June 26, press night May 26) Orange Tree artistic director Paul Miller directs two short plays by Shaw, whose plays Candida, Misalliance, The Philanderer and Widowers’ Houses he has previously directed here to acclaim. Press contact: Riona Kelly/Freya Cowdry at Kate Morley PR. https://orangetreetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/shaw-shorts

  • Public Domain (Vaudeville) May 27-30, press night May 27. Verbatim musical, co-written and performed by Francesca Forristal and Jordan Paul Clarke, originally seen as a livestream digital version only direct from Southwark Playhouse, now transfers to the West End for a run of five performances only. Press contact: Kevin Wilson Public Relations. https://www.nimaxtheatres.com/shows/public-domain/

  • Death of a Black Man (Hampstead Theatre, main house), May 28-July 10, opens June 3. Dawn Walton directs a revival of Alfred Fagon’s play that was originally premiered at Hampstead in 1975. Fagon was a soldier, boxing champion, a welder, actor, poet and playwright.  The Alfred Fagon Award, the leading theatre award for Black British writers, is named in his honour. Press contact: Clare McCormack at Hampstead Theatre. https://www.hampsteadtheatre.com/whats-on/2021/the-death-of-a-black-man/

  • Forever Plaid (Upstairs at the Gatehouse) June 1-27, opens June 3. John Plews directs the Off-Broadway revue of 50s classics, sung by a vocal close harmony group that includes Cameron Burt, George Crawford and Alex Zane. Press contact: Katie Plews at Upstairs at the Gatehouse. https://www.upstairsatthegatehouse.com/forever-plaid
  • 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

  • Alyssa, Memoirs of A Queen! (Vaudeville Theatre) June 7-13. Alyssa Edwards (pictured above), star of the 5th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race and recently seen in the Netflix series Dancing Queen, Alyssa Edwards brings her ” fully realized autobiographical extravaganza, complete with iconic costumes, high kicks and splits, phenomenal dancers and outrageous tongue pops” to the West End for a week. Press contact: Kevin Wilson Public Relations. https://www.nimaxtheatres.com/shows/alyssa-memoirs-of-a-queen/

  • Raya (Hampstead Theatre Downstairs), June 11-July 24, opens June 17. World premiere of a play by Deborah Bruce, whose play Godchild was previously produced at Hampstead Downsatirs. Artistic director Roxana Gilbert directs a cast that comprises Claire Price, Bo Poraj and Shannon Hayes. Press contact: Clare McCormack at Hampstead Theatre. https://www.hampsteadtheatre.com/whats-on/2021/raya/
  • 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. Press contact: Amanda Malpass PR. http://www.jerseyboyslondon.com/

  • Re-Emerge season: J’Ouvert (Harold Pinter Theatre, June 16-July 3): New season of plays introducing new voices and fresh talent to the West End, curated by Sonia Friedman Productions (who are producing) and Ian Rickson, continues with Yasmin Joseph’s J’Ouvert. Press contact: Kate Morley PR. www.sfp-reemergeseason.co.uk.
  • 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

  • Shedding a Skin (Soho Theatre) June 17-July 17, press night June 22. Soho Theatre re-opens with Amanda Wilkins’s play, which she also performs (pictured above), that won Soho’s 2020 Verity Bargate Award and is described as being “about joy, healing and protest. And having a good belly laugh.” Press contact: Diana Whitehead at Fourth Wall PR. https://sohotheatre.com/shows/shedding-a-skin/
  • Romeo and Juliet (Open Air Theatre), June 17-July 24, press night June 23. Kimberley Sykes directs the opening production of this year’s Open Air Theatre season. Press contact: James Lever at Jo Allan PR. https://openairtheatre.com/production/romeo-juliet

  • Constellations (Vaudeville) June 18-September 12. Four new casts. One relationship. Infinite Possibilities.Four different casts take turns to journey through the multiverse exploring the infinite possibilities of a relationship; each refracting the play afresh, in Michael Longhurst’s revival of his original Royal Court production of Nick Payne’s play that subsequently transferred to the West End’s Duke of York’s and Broadway. The couples (pictured above) are Sheila Atim and Ivanno Jeremiah (18 June – 1 August) Peter Capaldi and Zoë Wanamaker (23 June – 24 July), Omari Douglas and Russell Tovey (30 July – 11 September), and Anna Maxwell Martin and Chris O’Dowd (6 August – 12 September). Press contact: James Lever at Jo Allan PR. https://www.donmarwarehouse.com/production/10047/constellations/

  • Heathers (Theatre Royal, Haymarket) June 21-September 11. Originally seen at the Other Palace before transferring to the Haymarket in 2018, Heathers now returns for another season to the Haymarket for a limited season; while a new touring production hits the road, opening in Leeds from July 28. Press contact: Emma Holland. https://trh.co.uk/whatson/heathers-the-musical/
  • 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. Press contact: David Bloom at Storyhouse PR. https://www.hairspraythemusical.co.uk/

  • Bach & Sons (Bridge Theatre) June 23-September 9, press night June 29. Simon Russell Beale returns to the Bridge, where last year he appeared in A Christmas Carol, to play JS Bach in the world premiere of Nina Raine’s play, directed by Nicholas Hytner. Press contact: Janine Shalom, Premier Communications. https://bridgetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/bach-and-sons/
  • Cinderella (Gillian Lynne Theatre, pictured at the top of this section, 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. Press contact: David Bloom at Storyhouse PR. https://andrewlloydwebberscinderella.com/
  • 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. Press contacts: Claudia Conway at Claudia Conway, or Jessica Strawson at the Globe. 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. Press contacts: Claudia Conway at Claudia Conway, or Jessica Strawson at the Globe. 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. Alexandra Burke has been newly announced to play the Narrator. Press contact: David Bloom at Storyhouse PR. 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 whims the market? Tony Jayawardena returns to play Imam Salem again, with Scott Karim as Bashir. Press contact: Kate Morley PR. https://kilntheatre.com/whats-on/the-invisible-hand/

  • Last Easter (Orange Tree Theatre, July 3-August 7, press night July 7) Tinuke Craig directs the London premiere of Bryony Lavery’s play about the true nature of friendship. Press contact: Riona Kelly/Freya Cowdry at Kate Morley PR. https://orangetreetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/last-easter

  • Lava (Bush Theatre) July 9-August 7, press night July 14. Debut play by Congolese-British writer Benedict Lombe that started life in 2020 as part of the Bush Theatre’s The Protest Series, a digital artistic response to the murder of George Floyd. It has now been re-imagined as a full-length play for the stage. Press contact: Martin Shippen. https://www.bushtheatre.co.uk/event/lava/

  • Re-Emerge season: Anna X (Harold Pinter Theatre, July 10-August 4) New season of plays introducing new voices and fresh talent to the West End, curated by Sonia Friedman Productions (who are producing) and Ian Rickson, concludes with Joseph Charlton’s Anna X.  www.sfp-reemergeseason.co.uk.

  • Wonderment (Palace Theatre) July 16-August 30, press night July 19. Described as “a vaudevillian journey of illusion”, Wonderment will feature mind-reader Chris Cox and magician Josephine Lee (who starred in Britain’s Got Talent in 2017), both of whom starred in The Illusionists. Press contact: Chloë Abley, Chloé Nelkin Consulting. https://www.wondermentlive.com/
  • 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. Press contact: Neil Reading PR. https://www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/2021/event/anything-goes
  • Carousel (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park) July 30-September 18, opens August 9. Artistic director Timothy Sheader directs with choreography by Drew McOnie, reuniting the team behind the theatre’s hit production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Press contact: James Lever, Jo Allan PR. 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. Press contact: David Bloom at Storyhouse PR. 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. Press contact: Amanda Malpass PR. 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 (pictured above). Press contact: Kate Morley PR. https://lwtheatres.co.uk/whats-on/frozen-musical/

  • The JMK Award-winning production (Orange Tree Theatre, August 28-October 2, press night September 2) The annual JMK Award for emerging theatre directors showcases a contemporary play staged by this year’s winner. The finalist directors are still to be announced; they will choose a play from a list that includes plays by Alice Birch, Athol Fuguard, Franz Xaver Kroetz, Sharman Macdonald, Mustapha Matura, Winsome Pinnock and Roland Schimmelpfennig. Press contact: Riona Kelly/Freya Cowdry at Kate Morley PR. https://orangetreetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/jmk-award-winning-production/about/

  • The Last 5 Years (Vaudeville Theatre), September 17-October 13, press night September 23. Southwark Playhouse’s 2020 production, which played two runs there last March and September but was shut down on both occasions early by the arrival of lockdowns, moves to the West End, with Molly Lynch and Oli Higginson reprising their roles in Jonathan O’Doyle’s production. Press contact: Alexandra Buchanan at Amanda Malpass PR. https://www.nimaxtheatres.com/shows/the-last-five-years/

  • 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.” Press contact: Emma Hardy at Young Vic. 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. Press contacts: Claudia Conway at Claudia Conway, or Jessica Strawson at the Globe. https://www.shakespearesglobe.com/whats-on/metamorphoses-2021/

  • White Noise (Bridge Theatre) October 5-November 13, press night October 12. Polly Findlay directs the European premiere of Suzan-Lori Parks’s new play, originally premiered at New Yorl’s Public Theater in 2019. Press contact: Janine Shalom at Premier Communications. https://bridgetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/white-noise/

  • Rice (Orange Tree Theatre, October 9-November 13, press night October 13) Matthew Xia directs the UK premiere of an award-winning Australian play about globalisation, politics and family by Asian-Australian writer Michele Lee. Press contact: Riona Kelly/Freya Cowdry at Kate Morley PR. https://orangetreetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/rice/about
  • 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’. Press contact: Ben Chamberlain at Bread and Butter PR. https://getupstandupthemusical.com

  • 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. Press contact: David Bloom at Storyhouse PR. https://www.nimaxtheatres.com/shows/the-drifters-girl/
  • While the Sun Shines (Orange Tree Theatre, November 20-January 8, press night November 24) Orange Tree artistic director Paul Miller’s 2019 production of Terence Rattigan’s 1943 play set during the London blitz returns. Press contact: Riona Kelly/Freya Cowdry at Kate Morley PR. https://orangetreetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/while-the-sun-shines/about
  • Bring It On (Queen Elizabeth Gardens) December 8-January 22, 2022. The Broadway cheerleading musical, due to run here last Christmas, has been re-booked for this Christmas, starring Amber Davies and Olympic gymnast Louis Smith. The songs are by Hamilton composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Next to Normal’s Tom Kitt, plus lyricists Jeff Whitty (Avenue Q) and Amanda Green. PR: Emily Webb or Simon Raw at Raw PR. https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/bring-it

REGIONAL THEATRE OPENINGS (at selected venues only)

  • >> NEW ENTRY: Neville’s Island (Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch, from May 20-June 12 and June 22-July 3, press night May 22) Emma Baggot returns to Hornchurch, where she previously directed Misfits and Stiletto Beach, to stage a new production of Tim Firth’s Olivier winning play., with a cast that includes Beruce Khan, Philip Cairns, Sean Michael Verey and Stephen Leask. Press contact: Sarah Soliman at the Queen’s Theatre. https://www.queens-theatre.co.uk/whats-on/show/nevilles-island/

  • 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. Press contact: Lewis Jenkins at Bread and Butter PR. https://www.theatreroyal.org.uk/event/four-quartets/

  • >> NEW ENTRY: Touching the Void (Bristol Old Vic, May 26-29) Tom Morris’s production, which originated at Bristol in 2018 when it re-opened the theatre after its redevelopment, before touring and transferring to the West End, returns home for a one-week run to re-open the theatre again after lockdown. The West End cast, including Josh Willimas, Angus Yellowlees, Patrick McNamee and Fiona Hampton, return for this run that will also be live-streamed nightly. Press contact: Amanda Adams at Bristol Old Vic. https://bristololdvic.org.uk/touching-the-void

  • >> NEW: Tell Me on a Sunday (Malvern Festival Theatre, June 15-19, then touring) The Watermill, Newbury’s production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s one-act musical for one actor, portraying a single British woman’s romantic (mis)adventures in New York, is revived for a tour, with Jodie Prenger reprising her performance as Emma. Press contact: Simon Raw, Stacey Pedder or Emily Webb at Raw PR. https://tellmeontour.co.uk/

  • >>NEW ENTRY: The Woman in Black (Cambridge’s Arts Theatre, from June 17-26, then touring) The West End’s second-longest running play (after The Mousetrap) launches a new national tour (and will also resume in the West End in from September 7, see above). Following Cambridge, it will visit Bath, Guilford, Oxford, Malvern, Shrewsbury, Manchester, Brighton, Glasgow, York, Blackpool, Stoke and Edinburgh, with further tour dates to be announced. Press contacts: Emily Webb or Simon Raw at Simon Raw PR.

  • 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

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  • Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, June 23-July 3, then touring). Tour, first launched in September 2019, resumes in Cheltenham, before continuing to Leeds, Hull, Oxford, Bath, Northampton, Glasgow, Wimbledon, Birmingham, Southend, Leicester, Bristol and Southampton, prior to a much hoped for return to the West End”, according to the press release. Press contacts: Hannah Clapham at HC Publicity, Ben Chamberlain at Bread and Butter PR. http://priscillauktour.com/

  • >> NEW ENTRY: Hairspray (Theatre Royal, Plymouth, June 24-July 3, then touring). Paul Kerryson’s production, with choreography by Drew McOnie, that was first seen at Leicester’s Curve in 2015 and then toured twice, embarks on a new tour. This is a different production to the original Broadway production that is being revived at London’s Coliseum in June (see above). After Plymouth, it will visit Southampton, Manchester, Sheffield, Ipswich, Aylesbury, Edinburgh, Bradford, Brighton, Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham, Wolverhampton, Leicester, Nottingham, Wolverhampton, Dublin, Belfast, Woking, Milton Keynes, Blackpool, Sunderland, High Wycombe, Northampton, Bromley, Edinburgh and Dartford. Press contacts: Hannah Clapham at HC Publicity, Ben Chamberlain at Bread and Butter PR. www.hairsprayuktour.com
  • 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, joined by Sally Anne Triplett. Press contact: David Burns PR. https://nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/events/piaf/

  • South Pacific (Chichester Festival Theatre, from July 5-August 28). Artistic director Daniel Evans directs Gina Beck as Nellie Forbush, Julian Ovenden 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. Press contact: Lucinda Morrison at Chichester Festival Theatre. https://www.cft.org.uk/whats-on/event/south-pacific

  • >> NEW ENTRY: Rent: The Concert (Curve, Leicester, August 10-21) Artistic director Nikolai Foster directs a concert version of Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer and Tony winning musical in the Curve’s reconfigured in-the-round auditorium. In a press statement, Foster and chief executive Chris Stafford comment, “As we emerge from this pandemic, it feels timely to reflect on the resilience and courage which defined the lives of so many during the 1980s HIV/AIDS pandemic. Jonathan Larson’s astonishing Pulitzer Prize winning musical RENT represents one of musical theatre’s greatest triumphs, defining an entire era through its blazing music and iconic characters. It is simply one of the greats and we are thrilled to present it in a staged concert at Curve, in our epic, in-the-round arena. Celebrating community, the exhilarating joy of music, the power of artists and the sheer life force of young people, we are looking forward to literally raising the roof this summer at Curve.” Press contact: Arabella Neville-Rolfe at ANPR. https://www.curveonline.co.uk

  • >> NEW ENTRY: Waitress (New Wimbledon Theatre, September 4-11, then touring) Jessie Nelson and Sara Bareilles’s Broadway musical, whose West End run was curtailed by Covid, launches a UK national tour, with Lucie Jones and Evelyn Hoskins reprising the roles of Jenna and Dawen respectively that they played at the Adelphi, joined by Sandra Marvin as Becky and Matt Willis (from the pop group Busted) as Dr Pomatter. After Wimbledon, it will tour to Leeds, Crawley, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Eastbourne, Sunderland, Manchester, Aberdeen, Stoke-on-Trent, Northampon, Edinburgh, Leicester, Hull, Bristol, Woking, Bromley, Belfast, Newcastle, Plymouth, Llandudno, Inverness, Glasgow, Oxford, Liverpool, Birmingham, Southampton, Cardiff, Dublin, Torquay, Wolverhampton, Dartford, Brighton, Nottingham, Bradford, Canterbury, Southend and Norwich. Though Lucie Jones is announced for the whole tour, there will be cast changes after Hull. Press Contact: Simon Raw, Stacey Peddler, Emily Webb at Raw PR. https://www.waitressthemusical.co.uk/
  • The Cherry Orchard (Theatre Royal, 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/

  • >>NEW: What’s New Pussycat? (Birmingham Rep, October 8-November 14) Luke Sheppard, who is represented by the Max Martin jukebox hit & Juliet in the West End, directs Joe DiPietro’s new musical that folds the hits of Welsh troubadour Tom Jones into Henry Fielding’s comic novel The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling, including such hits as Green, Green Grass of Home, It’s Not Unuusal, Delilah and the title track. Arlene Phillips will choreograph. Presented by Birmingham Repertory Theatre in association with Flody Suarez, Joshua Andrews and Stuart Galbraith from Kilimanjaro Theatricals, with Donna Munday as Executive Producer. Press contact: Ben Chamberlain at Bread and Butter PR. https://www.birmingham-rep.co.uk

  • Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical (Hall for Cornwall, Truro) October 13-30. World premiere of a new musical based on the true story of the Cornish singing sensations and the hit 2019 film, reopening Hall for Cornwall after a period of closure for a multi-million-pound transformation. Written by Brad Birch, directed by James Grieve, designed by Lucy Osborne and with musical supervision by David White, it will feature hit shanties made famous by the band including Keep Haulin’, Nelson’s Blood, No Hopers Jokers & Rogues and Sweet Maid Of Madeira. The show will be produced by Royo, in association with Hall for Cornwall’s new in-house producing company, Cornwall Playhouse Productions. Press contact: Amanda Malpass. https://www.fishermanonstage.com/

  • The Wiz (Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester, November 24-January 16, 2022) Matthew Xia directs a new outing of the 1975 Broadway re-telling of The Wizard of Oz story, with an all-black cast, that has music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls, book by William F. Brown and original orchestrations by Harold Wheeler. Press Contact: Jo Allan PR. https://hopemilltheatre.co.uk/events/the-wiz

  • Les Miserables (Glasgow’s King’s Theatre, November 24-January 1, then touring) National tour resumes for the blockbuster musical, in the production that was first conceived in 2009 to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary year. After Glasgow, in 2022 it will visit Liverpool, Dublin, Southampton, Salford, Milton Keynes, Plymouth, Hull, Bristol, Birmingham, Norwich, Canterbury, Sunderland, Leeds and Cardiff (running into 2023). https://www.lesmis.com/uk-ireland-tour

  • Dreamgirls (Liverpool Empire, December 14-January 1, then touring) The 1981 Broadway musical embarks on its first-ever UK tour, in the production first seen at the West End’s Savoy Theatre in 2016, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw. Nicole Raquel Dennis, a finalist on the 2019 season of The Voice and who was in the original London cast of Dear Evan Hansen, will play Effie White. Following Liverpool, it will tour into 2022 to Bristol, Milton Keynes, Sunderland, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Wimbledon, Nottingham, Norwich, Leeds, Canterbury, Plymouth, Lladudno, Aberdeen, Manchester, Oxford, Glasgow, Blackpool, Southampton, Northampton, and Birmingham, with further dates to be announced in 2023. Press contact: Lewis Jenkins at Storyhouse PR. https://www.dreamgirlsthemusical.co.uk/

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.
  • Life of Pi (Wynham’s)  Lolita Chakrabarti’s stage version of Yann Martel’s epic story of endurance and hope, first seen at Sheffield’s Crucible in 2019 in a production directed by Max Webster, is finally due to transfer to the West End in November, after being delayed by COVID-19.

ARTS FESTIVALS

  • Edinburgh Fringe Festival (August 6-30): Show registration for this year’s Fringe will open May 5, and events will be published and bookable on https://www.edfringe.com/. According to a press release issued April 14, “As Scotland navigates its roadmap out of lockdown, much is still unknown about what the Fringe will look like this August. However, a range of scenarios are being prepared for, from socially distanced live events to digital offerings. The Fringe Society is supporting artists and audiences to find and book work online across a range of platforms, including the brand-new Fringe Player. This online platform aims to bring some festival magic into homes across the world, while providing a secure platform for artists, companies and venues to host their shows. The platform is available to any registered 2021 Fringe show or venue to use if they wish”. Press contact: Rebecca Monks at Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society.

  • Edinburgh International Festival (August 7-29): A ‘re-imagined’ EIF for 2021 will use ‘bespoke outdoor venues to safely reunite artists and audiences to rediscover the magic of live performance.’ According to a press release issued April 13, “a selection of performance spaces across the city will include three temporary outdoor pavilions designed especially for live performance. The pavilions will be situated at iconic city locations including Edinburgh Park and the University of Edinburgh’s Old College Quad [pictured above in an artist impression] and will feature covered concert stages and socially distanced seating.” Full details of the 2021 programme, which spans opera, orchestral and chamber music, theatre and contemporary music, will be announced June 2, before general booking opens June 11. Press contacts: Emma Goodacre (media manager), Hugo Mintz (head of communications). https://www.eif.co.uk/

ONE-OFF PERFORMANCES & OTHER LIMITED RUNS (NEW SECTION)

  • Roles We’ll Never Play (Vaudeville Theatre) May 22-23, 7.30pm. Tom Duern, who previously presented a night at the Apollo in December 2020, now reprises this concert presentation featuring actors singing songs outside their casting brackets. Some cast members will appear both nights, including Christopher Howells, Luke Bayer, Alan Richardson, Lauren Byrne and Danny Becker. Apearing on Saturday only will be Rebecca Rideout, Caroline Kay and Tim Mahendran; appearing on Sunday only will be Jodie Steele, Sam Tutty and Emmanuel Kojo. https://www.nimaxtheatres.com/shows/roles-well-never-play/

  • The Show Must Go On! (Palace Theatre) June 2-6. A concert celebrating the wealth of West End talent with all profits going to Acting For Others and The Fleabag Support Fund. All of the 16 shows which appear on the iconic ‘The Show Must Go On!’ design are confirmed to perform, including cast members from Hamilton, The Book of Mormon, Wicked, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, & Juliet, Come from Away, Dear Evan Hansen and The Prince of Egypt. https://www.nimaxtheatres.com/shows/the-show-must-go-on-live-at-the-palace/

  • West End Musical Celebration Live at the Palace Theatre (Palace Theatre), June 10-13, 7pm, with additional matinees June 12-13 at 2pm. Shanay Holmes & Chris Steward for West End Musical Productions in association with Nica Burns for Nimax Theatres present a concert that is due to feature Sophie Evans, Alice Fearn, Ben Forster, Rachel John, Jamie Muscato, Shanay Holmes, Trevor Dion Nicholas and Layton Williams. https://www.nimaxtheatres.com/shows/west-end-musical-celebration/

  • West End Live Lounge – The Greats (Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue) June 14, 7.30pm) An event that began at Southwark’s Union Theatre in 2017 now comes to the West End, with proceeds to be split between two theatrical-based charities Equity Charitable Trust and the Graham Martin Bursary Appeal. Samuel Holmes will host, with artists due to appear (subject to availability) set to include Zoe Birkett, Louise Dearman, Trevor Dion Nicholas, Alice Fearn, Joel Harper-Jackson, Emma Hatton, Sophie Isaacs, Rachel John, Christina Modestou and Cedric Neal. Press contact: Shaun McCourt (producer). https://www.nimaxtheatres.com/shows/west-end-live-lounge-the-greats/

  • The Distance You Have Come (Apollo Theatre), June 21 & 28, 7.30pm. A song cycle of songs by composer/lyricist Scott Alan, originally premiered at Marylebone’s Cockpit Theatre in 2018, comes to the West End for two nights only, with original cast members Andy Coxon, Adrian Hansel, Emma Hatton, Jodie Jacobs, Dean John-Wilson and Alexia Khadime newly joined by Alice Fearn. https://www.nimaxtheatres.com/shows/the-distance-you-have-come/

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