Updated weekly, this feature includes details on returning and new productions in the West End, elsewhere in London, around the UK and at festivals, and on Broadway
This weekly column keeps track of the shows that are coming back, or are newly being announced, as theatres return. Yesterday both The Observer and the Sunday Times had full columns of live theatre reviews — with Culture in the Sunday Times even back to a trio of critics beyond chief critic Quentin Letts, reviewing live openings also at the Globe, Kiln and Sadler’s Wells (a dance event). I didn’t make it to the Globe or Kiln myself last week — I’d planned to go to the Globe, but my husband had surgery that day and I had to pick him up from the hospital, so that took priority. But essentially it feels as if we’re edging back to normality… even as The Guardian was reporting last night:
So I fear that the idea that theatre will be able to operate without any social distancing in place after June 21 to be unlikely.
This list will, nevertheless, continue to be updated every Monday to reflect the shows that are returning that week, plus the ones currently scheduled to open in the next months
PRESS NIGHTS THIS WEEK (May 31-June 6)
Wednesday June 2
- Amélie The Musical (Criterion Theatre) Previews began 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
- Take Off Your Cornflakes (White Bear Theatre) June 2-12. Mark Lockyer adapts and performs Rose Henderson and Pat Nolan’s story about a couple where the husband is diagnosed with early on-set dementia at only 53. Press contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. https://www.whitebeartheatre.co.uk/whatson/Take-Off-Your-Cornflakes
- >> UPDATED WITH FREE LIVE STREAM INFORMATION: The Show Must Go On! (Palace Theatre) June 2-6. A concert featuring members of the casts of 18 current and yet-to-open West End shows, with all profits going to Acting For Others and The Fleabag Support Fund. The last night on June 6 will be live streamed worldwide for free, and available for seven days afterwards, on https://www.youtube.com/theshowsmustgoon. Bonnie Langford and Trevor Dion Nicholas will host, with appearances from actors that will include Lucy St Louis and Rhys Whitfield, yet to begin performances in The Phantom of the Opera, John Owen Jones from Les Miserables, Christine Allado and Alexia Khadime from Prince of Egypt, Alice Fearn from Come from Away, Jordan Luke Gage from & Juliet, Dom Simpson and Tom Xander from The Book of Mormon and Zizi Strallen from Mary Poppins. Olly Dobson, soon to star in Back to the Future, will debut a song from the show. Also featured will be a choir of 16, made up of Musical theatre graduates from 2020d. https://www.nimaxtheatres.com/shows/the-show-must-go-on-live-at-the-palace/
Thursday June 3
- 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. The cast has now been announced, and will comprise Nickcolia King-N’da, Natalie Simpson and Toyin Omari-Kinch. 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
Friday June 4
- The Sun, The Moon and the Stars (Theatre Royal Stratford East) June 2-19, press night June 4. Nadia Fall, the theatre’s artistic director, directs Dipo Baruwa-Etti’s play about trauma, rage and the extent a woman called Femi (played by Kibong Tanji) will go in her quest for justice, after her brother is murdered. It will also be streamed from June 15-20. Press contact: Hannah Stockton at Jo Allan PR. https://www.stratfordeast.com/whats-on/all-shows/the-sun-the-moon-and-the-stars
- After Life (National’s Dorfman Theatre) June 2-July 24, opens June 9. 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. https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/after-life
SHOWS AHEAD AFTER THIS WEEK: LONDON’S WEST END AND BEYOND
(Dates shown are for first performances, with press nights separately indicated where announced)
RETURNING SHOWS FURTHER AHEAD
- The Play That Goes Wrong (Duchess Theatre). Resuming from June 18, “with a shambolic new-ish cast”. Press contact: Hannah Stockton at Jo Allan PR. https://www.nimaxtheatres.com/shows/the-play-that-goes-wrong/
- Prince of Egypt (Dominion Theatre) Resuming performances from July 1. The epic stage version of the film musical that tells the Moses story, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (‘Wicked’, ‘Pippin’, ‘Godspell’). The original cast returns, but Clive Rowe will temporarily replace Gary Wilmot (from July 1 to October 16) while Wilmot stars in Anything Goes at the Barbican Theatre. Press contact: Amanda Malpass PR. https://www.theprinceofegyptmusical.com
- The Comeback (Noel Coward Theatre) Resuming performances for a run from July 7-25. After having its original West End run curtailed by the imposition of the December lockdown following only nine performances, comedy duo The Pin (Ben Ashenden and Alex Owen, pictured above) return to complete the season of their backstage comedy. Press contact: Clair Chamberlain/ Ben Chamberlain at Bread and Butter PR, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. https://thecomebackcomedy.co.uk/
- 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 Simmons. Press contact: Lewis Jenkins at Storyhouse PR.
- The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s). Resuming performances from July 27. Though Andrew Lloyd Webber promised that the original production would return to Her Majesty’s (after it was revealed that the original set had been removed from the theatre and the entire existing cast and orchestra had been released from their contracts), it is not quite the original that is returning, but a newly-revised version created for its last national tour. In the words of co-producer Cameron Mackintosh, “Although many of our brilliant original creative colleagues including, Hal Prince, Maria Björnson and Gillian Lynne are sadly no longer with us, their work lives on inspiring our new creative team to stage the Phantom afresh, as if it was a brand new production.” This includes the reduction of the orchestra from 27 players to 14, and what Lloyd Webber calls “our first entirely new cast for The Phantom of the Opera in London in over 35 years”, led by Killian Donnelly in the title role (who was playing the role on the national tour that had just launched before Covid shut it down), Lucy St Louis as Christine and Rhys Whitfield as Raoul. (They are pictured above: left to right are Whitfeld, St Louis and Donnelly). Press contact: Simon Raw/Emily Webb at Simon Raw PR, email@example.com. https://uk.thephantomoftheopera.com
- Tina — The Tina Turner Musical (Aldwych Theatre). Resuming performances from July 28, with a cast led by by Aisha Jawando in the title role (pictured), and Jammy Kasongo as Ike. In a press statement, Turner has commented, “Music has had the power to pull me out of my darkest moments and rejoice during my happiest. To announce the re-opening of our West End show, where my musical had its premiere, means so much to me. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Tina family and our fans from around the world for their continued love and support during these unprecedented times. Let my story be a celebration, a reminder of our resilience and our ability to overcome hardship together.” Press contact: Janine Shalom at Premier Communications, Janine.firstname.lastname@example.org. https://tinathemusical.com/uk/
- 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/
- 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
- Mary Poppins (Prince Edward Theatre). Resuming from August 7, Cameron Mackintosh and Disney’s co-production of their stage version of the hit film returns to its original London home, where it was originally premiered in 2004, before being revived there in 2019. Zizi Strallen and Charlie Stemp return in the title role and Bert respectively. Press contact: Janine Shalom/Ella Taibel at Premier Communications. https://www.marypoppinsonstage.co.uk/
- Hamilton (Victoria Palace Theatre). Resuming from August 19, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical returns to London. As the composer has stated, “For over a year the lights on the West End have been dark and our friends, family and colleagues on and off the stage have been out of work. It is with tremendous gratitude that we announce the return of Hamilton to London’s Victoria Palace Theatre this August. We will safely gather to tell this story again. We’ll be back.” Press contacts: Janine Shalom at Premier Communications/ Simon Raw at Raw PR. https://hamiltonmusical.com/london/home/
- Mamma Mia! (Novello Theatre) Resuming performances from August 25. https://mamma-mia.com/london-tickets.php
- 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.
- Wicked (Apollo Victoria) Resuming performances from September 15, with a celebratory performance planned for September 28 to mark its imminent 15th anniversary in the West End. Casting is yet to be announced. Press contacts: Rebecca Byers/David Bloom at Storyhouse PR. https://www.wickedthemusical.co.uk/
- Matilda The Musical (Cambridge Theatre) Resuming performances from September 16, as this autumn marks its 10th anniversary since its transfer to the West End. Press statement from Catherine Mallyon, executive director of The RSC: “It is fantastic to see London’s West End re-opening and for our company, freelance colleagues, and creative team to be back at the Cambridge Theatre, preparing for performances in the autumn. We all know how challenging the past year has been, and that makes this moment even more special and important. We will not only celebrate 10 brilliant years of Matilda The Musical in the West End but also that our audiences can join us once again to experience the power of live theatre.” Press contact: Chloe Pritchard-Gordon, at About Grace PR.
- >> NEW ENTRY: Blithe Spirit (Harold Pinter Theatre) September 16-November 6, press night September 21. After its original West End transfer from Bath’s Theatre Royal to the Duke of York’s was curtailed after 12 performances in March 2020, following the arrival of the first lockdown, Richard Eyre’s production of the Noel Coward play returns with Jennifer Saunders reprising her role as the preposterous clairvoyant Madame Arcati. She is joined by original cast members Geoffrey Streatfeild as Charles Condomine, Lisa Dillon as Ruth Condomine, Simon Coates as Dr Bradman, Lucy Robinson as Mrs Bradman, and Rose Wardlaw as Edith. Press contact: Lewis Jenkins at Storyhouse PR. https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/blithe-spirit/harold-pinter-theatre/
- & 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/
- 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/
- Dear Evan Hansen (Noel Coward Theatre) Resuming performances from October 26, the 2020 Olivier winning musical will also return to Broadway, re-opening at its original home the Music Box from December 11, five years after its opening there. The US national tour will also re-launch its tour on December 7. In a press statement, producer Stacey Mindich has commented, “It’s a remarkable feeling to put plans in place to relaunch all three Dear Evan Hansen companies, though we, like everyone in the theater industry, are facing considerable challenges. We will proceed safely and smartly to ensure a safe and equitable workplace for everyone when we return, and protect our cast, crew and audiences amidst a world forever changed and continuously evolving due to both the global pandemic and the cultural and racial reckoning. We hope that Dear Evan Hansen’s message of human connection and acceptance will feel more vital than ever.” Press contact: Janine Shalom at Premier Communications.
NEW PRODUCTIONS FURTHER AHEAD (From June 7 onwards)
- 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/
- 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. Originally seen at Theatre 503, the play is set at the Notting Hill Carnival, in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy. In a FT feature, it is described as “a play flecked with grief and anger, but one that bursts with the defiant joy and love of its young female characters as they assert their right to be there. It needs to spill over and embrace the audience, says [playwright Yasmin] Joseph — including in the West End. ‘The audience always felt like the final character in this play. So it’s trying to find ways to dispel the idea of the well-behaved audience and telling them, Yes, you are allowed to laugh, you are allowed to call out, sing, laugh and shout back. On a night when that clicks, it can be magical’.” Press contact: Kate Morley PR. www.sfp-reemergeseason.co.uk.
- >> NEW ENTRY: and breathe…. (Almeida Theatre, June 16-July 10, press night June 21)
Miranda Cromwell directs David Jonsson in a live theatrical adaptation of poems, taken from Nigerian British writer, performer and facilitator Yomi Ṣode’s forthcoming collection, Manorism (to be published in spring 2022 by Penguin Press), exploring family relationships, bonding and culture. It tackles the unspoken, between what we leave unsaid to protect each other and how we internalise the world. It features music composed and performed live by Femi Temowo. Press contact: Alexander Milward at the Almeida. https://almeida.co.uk/whats-on/and-breathe%E2%80%A6/16-jun-2021-10-jul-2021
- Under Milk Wood (National’s Olivier Theatre) June 16-July 24, press night June 22. Michael Sheen, Karl Johnson and Siân Phillips feature in Lyndsey Turner’s production of Dylan Thomas’s poetic masterpiece. https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/under-milk-wood
- >> NEW ENTRY: seven methods of killing kyle jenner (Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, June 16-July 27, press night June 22): Jasmine Lee-Jones’ debut play, premiered at the Royal Court in 2019 when it won her both the Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Most Promising Playwright Awards as well as the Alfred Fagon Award, returns for a 6-week run, directed by Milli Bhatia and performed by Tia Bannon and Leanne Henlon. The play explores cultural appropriation, queerness, friendship and the ownership of black bodies online and IRL. In a press statement, Lee-Jones has commented: “It’s been nearly two years since my first play opened at the Royal Court. In that time the world has been filled with all number of storms – and not just of the Twitter variety. In that time, like many of us, I’ve often questioned the value of both theatre and storytelling as a whole. What is its purpose? Where does it fit in a world ravaged by death in the wake of COVID and all other manner of institutional violences? To that question one answer seemed to ring loud and clear. As a writer, it’s my job to dream. And, in my experience, even when one is in seemingly the most dire of circumstances the capacity to dream is the only thing that can help us imagine a reality that transcends our current circumstances and, in doing so, give us the faith to face another day.” Press contact: Anoushka Warden at the Royal Court. https://royalcourttheatre.com/whats-on/sevenmethods/
- 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. Casting includes Isabel Adomakoh Young (Juliet) and Joel MacCormack (Romeo), with Cavan Clarke (Mercutio), Emma Cunniffe (Nurse), Peter Hamilton Dyer (Friar Lawrence) and Michelle Fox (Tybalt). 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/
- >> UPDATED WITH CASTING: Heathers (Theatre Royal, Haymarket) June 21-September 11, press night June 28. 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. The West End cast will be led by Christina Bennington as high school geek Veronica Sawyer and Jordan Luke Gage as the dark and moody teen, Jason Dean (JD), with Jodie Steele returning as ‘mega bitch’ Heather Chandler, alongside Bobbie Little as Heather Duke and Frances Mayli McCann as Heather McNamara. They are joined by Lauren Ward, Madison Swan, Simon Bailey, Joaquin Pedro Valdes and Steven Serlin. Press contact: Emma Holland. https://trh.co.uk/whatson/heathers-the-musical/
- Hairspray (London Coliseum) June 21 to September 29, with press night on June 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. Further casting will include Les Dennis as Wilbur Turnblad, Marisha Wallace as Motormouth, Rita Simons as Velma Von Tussle and Jonny Amies as Link Larkin, 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. He is joined by Samuel Blenkin, Pandora Colin, Ruth Lass, Douggie McMeekin, Racheal Ofori and Pravesh Rana. Press contact: Janine Shalom, Premier Communications. https://bridgetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/bach-and-sons/
- Bad Nights and Odd Days (Greenwich Theatre) June 23-July 10, press night June 25. A trio of short, rarely-seen Caryl Churchill plays (Abortive, Seagulls, and Three More Sleepless Nights) re-open Greenwich Theatre, with artistic director James Haddrell directing a cast that includes Paul McGann. Press contact: Daniel O’Carroll at Chloe Nelkin Consulting. https://greenwichtheatre.org.uk/events/bad-nights-and-odd-days/
- Staircase (Southwark Playhouse). June 23-July 17, press night June 25. Charles Dyer’s play about a long-term gay couple, at a time when same-sex relationships were illegal, is revived for the first time since it originally premired in the late 60s. Paul Rider and John Sackville appear in a Two’s Company production directed by its artistic director Tricia Thorns. Press contact: Rachael Beaty at Chloé Nelkin Consulting. https://www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/show-whats-on/staircase/
- Cinderella (Gillian Lynne Theatre) 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. Also newly announced, the principals also include Rebecca Trehearn as The Queen, Georgina Castle and Laura Baldwin as Cinderella’s stepsisters Marie and Adele, and Gloria Onitiri as The Godmother. Press contact: David Bloom at Storyhouse PR. https://andrewlloydwebberscinderella.com/
- Romeo and Juliet (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park) June 26-July 24, opens July 2. Kimberley Sykes directs. Press contact: James Lever at Jo Allan PR. 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. 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/
Be More Chill (Shaftesbury Theatre) June 30-September 5, press night July 6. The 2019 Broadway cult musical, whose cast album has been streamed more than 611 million times, returns to London with the transfer of the 2020 production that was running at the Other Palace when the pandemic shut it down. The original London cast will reprise their original roles: Blake Patrick Anderson (as Michael Mell), Miracle Chance (Christine Canigula), Stewart Clarke (The Squip), Eloise Davies (Brooke Lohst), Scott Folan (Jeremy Heere), Christopher Fry (Mr Heere, Mr Reyes and others), James Hameed (Rich Goranski), Gabriel Hinchliffe (Ensemble), Renée Lamb (Jenna Rolan), Eve Norris (Ensemble), Millie O’Connell (Chloe Valentine), and Miles Paloma (Jake Dillinger). Press contacts: Dee McCourt/Rachel Wingate at Borkowski. https://www.bemorechillmusical.com/
Extinct (Theatre Royal, Stratford East) June 30-July 17, press night July 2. Kirsty Housley directs a play about the climate emergency by April de Angelis, based on a tapestry of testimonials from members of the Extinction Rebellion community. It will also be streamed from June 15-20. Press contact: Hannah Stockton at Jo Allan PR. https://www.stratfordeast.com/whats-on/all-shows/extinct
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 will play the Narrator. UPDATE: Linzi Hateley — who played the narrator in the 1991 production — will return to that role for some performances. Also in the adult company are Steffan Lloyd Evans as Reuben and Bobby Windebank as Simeon, with Femi Akinfolarin, Jabari Braham, Gemma Buckingham, Thalia Burt, Jasmin Colangelo, Jonathan Cordin, Francessca Daniella-Baker, Alexander Day, Andre Fabien Francis, Llandyll Gove, Abigayle Honeywill, Blythe Jandoo, Danny Nattrass, Perry O’Dea, Georgina Parkinson, Emily-Ann Potter, Jon Reynolds, Rochelle Sherona, Katie Singh and Callum Train. 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
- The Dumb Waiter (Old Vic from July 7-10). Jeremy Herrin directs Daniel Mays and David Thewlis in Pinter’s two-hander, presented as the sixth production in the globally live-streamed “Old Vic: In Camera” series, but now presented with a live “studio audience” for the first time. Press contacts: Hannah Stockton, Kitty Greenleaf, Jo Allan at Jo Allan PR. https://www.oldvictheatre.com/whats-on/2021/watch-at-the-theatre/the-dumb-waiter-studio-audience
- My Night with Reg (Turbine Theatre, July 7-August 21, press night July 13) Kevin Elyot’s play, originally premiered at the Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs before transferring to the West End in 1994 and also since revived at the Donmar Warehouse in 2014 a production that also transferred, is revived again, this time under the direction of Matt Ryan. Press contact: Emma Holland/Georgie Robinson at EHPR.
- Changing Destiny (Young Vic Theatre) July 9-August 21, 2021, press night July 16. The Young Vic re-opens with a new adaptation of the 4,000 year-old Egyptian poem of Sinuhe the Warrior King by Ben Okri, directed by Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah and designed by award-winning architect Sir David Adjaye. In a press statement, Kwei-Armah comments: “This pandemic has wielded an unquantifiable wound to theatre-makers and theatres, the repercussions of which we will continue to feel for a long time. We have seen a year of racial reckoning reverberate through our sector, a cry of pain and a call to do better. To announce a new season of work fills my heart with optimism, as it comes with the hope that artists can return to their craft, and as we rebuild, we improve on what was good, and take time to undo the broken systems and structures. My message with this new season is Welcome Back and Welcome Home. The Young Vic is a civic centre and a home-away-from-home for our community. It is a space for us to hear extraordinary stories told by the world’s finest artists that help us see the world through someone else’s eyes. With Ben Okri’s Changing Destiny and Shakespeare’s Hamlet we bring you the tales you thought you knew, and present them afresh. These stories have withstood the test of time because they continue speak to what it means to be human, and I believe now, more than ever, they deliver messages we need to hear. ” Press contact: Emma Hardy at the Young Vic. https://www.youngvic.org/whats-on/changing-destiny
- 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. First seen at the Vaults (below Waterloo station), it is (in the words of a feature in the FT), about “a con artist who passes herself off as a super-rich art curator and the tech CEO behind an exclusive dating app. Inspired by (but not about) the fake heiress Anna Delvey, it becomes a sort of Great Gatsby for our era, exploring self-reinvention through the internet, Instagram fame and what constitutes success.” The cast includes Emma Corrin, who played Princess Diana in Netflix’s The Crown. 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/
- >> NEW ENTRY: Hymn (Almeida Theatre, July 16-August 13, press night July 20) Previously performed in a live stream in February during lockdown from the stage of the Almeida, Lolita Chakrabarti’s play returns to be performed in front of a live audience for the first time. Adrian Lester and Danny Sapani return to reprise their performances in Blanche McIntyre’s production. Press contact: Alexander Milward at the Almeida. https://almeida.co.uk/whats-on/hymn/23-jul-2021-14-aug-202
- The Two Character Play (Hamsptead Theatre) July 17-August 28, press night July 26. Tennessee Williams’ two-hander, which received its world premiere at Hampstead in 1967, is revived there in a new production by director Sam Yates, who comments: “I am excited to present this production to audiences following the show’s cancellation last year. The Two Character Play is form-busting and unique, celebrating the very process of making theatre. The Company and I look forward to presenting our interpretation of Tennessee’s daring play this summer.” Press contact: Clare McCormack at Hampstead Theatre. https://www.hampsteadtheatre.com/whats-on/2021/the-two-character-play
- Bagdad Cafe (Old Vic, July 19-August 21, press night July 28, followed by Old Vic: In Camera live streamed version, August 25-28). Emma Rice, whose company Wise Children debuted its first show (also called Wise Children) at the Old Vic in 2018, returns to the theatre to offer the world premiere of her stage adaptation of Percy and Eleonore Adlon’s iconic 1987 film Bagdad Cafe, which she also directs. As the press release puts it, “After a long year apart, we invite you to join us for a joyful celebration of togetherness, hope and friendship.” After its Old Vic run, it will live streamed as part of the Old Vic’s In Camera series. Press contacts: Hannah Stockton, Kitty Greenleaf, Jo Allan at Jo Allan PR. https://www.oldvictheatre.com/whats-on/2021/watch-at-the-theatre/bagdad-cafe-live-audience
- Anything Goes (Barbican Theatre) July 23-October 17. Sutton Foster, who won the 2011 Tony Award for playing Reno Sweeney in the original outing of Kathleen Marshall’s production of this Cole Porter classic, has stepped in for Megan Mullaly who has withdrawn following a reported injury, with Robert Lindsay as Moonface Martin, Felicity Kendal as Evangeline Harcourt and Gary Wilmot as Elisha Whitney. Press contact: Neil Reading PR. https://www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/2021/event/anything-goes
- Jersey Boys (Trafalgar Theatre) July 28-January 2. The Broadway hit musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, originally due to start performances June 2, now returns to London from July 28 to re-open the newly-reinstated Trafalgar Theatre (formerly Trafalgar Studios, when it had been converted into two auditoria from the Whitehall Theatre; now it will once again be one theatre). The show will also embark on a new national tour at Wimbledon from November 25. Press contact: Amanda Malpass PR. http://www.jerseyboyslondon.com/
- Jon & Jen (Southwark Playhouse) July 28-August 21, press nights August 2/3. Andrew Lippa and Tom Greenwald’s musical two-hander about a brother and sister, performed by Lewis Cornay and Rachel Tucker, directed by Guy Retallack. Press contact: Kevin Wilson Public Relations. https://www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/show-homepage/john-jen/
- 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. Principal casting with feature Carly Bawden and Declan Bennett (returning to the Open Air after playing the title character in Jesus Christ Superstar) as Julie Jordan and Billy Bigelow, John Pfumojena as Enoch Snow, Joanna Riding as Nettie Fowler and Natasha May Thomas plays Louise Bigelow. Press contact: James Lever, Jo Allan PR. https://openairtheatre.com/production/carousel
- >> UPDATED WITH FURTHER CASTING: Singin’ in the Rain (Sadler’s Well) 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. He is joined by Kevin Clifton as Cosmo Brown, Faye Tozer as Lina Lamont, Charlotte Gooch as Kathy Selsdon and Cavin Cornwall as RF Simpson.Press contact: David Bloom at Storyhouse PR. https://www.sadlerswells.com/whats-on/2021/singin-in-the-rain/
- Big Big Sky (Hamspead Downstairs) July 30-September 11, press night August 5. World premeire of a play by Tom Wells, with Tessa Walker, newly appointed associate director at Hampstead, directing a cast that comprises Jennifer Daley, Jessica Jolleys, Sam Newton and Matt Sutton. Press contact: Clare McCormack at Hampstead Theatre. https://www.hampsteadtheatre.com/whats-on/2021/big-big-sky/
- >> NEW ENTRY: The Song Project: Some things can only be sung (Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, August 17-28, press night August 20) Conceived by Royal Court associate designer Chloe Lamford and award-winning Dutch singer and composer Wende, in collaboration with composer Isobel Waller-Bridge, choreographer Imogen Knight and playwrights E.V. Crowe, Sabrina Mahfouz, Somalia Nonyé Seaton, Stef Smith and Debris Stevenson, these artists and playwrights were brought together to co-create in a new way, starting with the idea that some things can only be sung. In a press statement, Wende (one of the most successful artists in the Netherlands) comments, “We were so ready last year May to perform The Song Project, and now I have kept the show under my pillow a whole year and can’t be more ready to finally be able to share the beautiful collaboration, the words, the songs, the music, that we have created for you, and to have my debut in London!” Press contact: Anoushka Warden at the Royal Court. https://royalcourttheatre.com/whats-on/thesongproject/
- 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 by Alan 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/
- >> NEW ENTRY: Once upon a time in Nazi Occupied Tunisia (Almeida Theatre, August 21-September 18, press night August 26) Eleanor Rhode directs the world premiere of a plat about home and identity, marriage and survival, blood and feathers. Azouz’s plays include The Mikvah Project (Orange Theatre Theatre and Yard Theatre) and Buggy Baby (Yard Theatre). Press contact: Alexander Milward at the Almeida. https://almeida.co.uk/whats-on/once-upon-a-time-in-nazi-occupied-tunisia/21-aug-2021-18-sep-2021
- 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/
- Statements after an Arrest Under the Immorality Act (Orange Tree Theatre, August 28-October 2, press night September 2) The annual JMK Award for emerging theatre directors has been won by Diane Page, who will direct Athol Fugard’s classic. In a press statement, she has called it “a brilliant and poignant play that is in dialogue with the world now. Press contact: Riona Kelly/Freya Cowdry at Kate Morley PR. https://orangetreetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/statements-after-an-arrest-under-the-immorality-act/
- Camp Siegfried (Old Vic, September 7-October 30, press night September 15). Patsy Feran and Luke Thallon star in the world premiere of Bess Wohl’s story of two teenagers embarking on a first relationship a a summer camp run exclusivelyn for American youth of German descent; it is based on the real Camp Siegfried, which operated on New York’s Long Island in the 1930s. Press contacts: Hannah Stockton, Kitty Greenleaf, Jo Allan at Jo Allan PR. https://www.oldvictheatre.com/whats-on/2021/watch-at-the-theatre/camp-siegfried
- >> NEW ENTRY: Is God Is (Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, September 10-October 23, press night September 16) RoyaCourt associate director Ola Ince directs the UK premiere of Aleshea Harris’s revenge taler about two women seeking justice and taking control of their own narratives, that has previously won an Obie Award in New York. Harris has commented, “The Royal Court’s commitment to producing my play is one I receive with deep gratitude. To know that it would see the light of day on their stage has been uplifting during this past year of loss and uncertainty.” Press contact: Anoushka Warden at the Royal Court. https://royalcourttheatre.com/whats-on/isgodis/
- 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/
- Shining City (Theatre Royal Stratford East) September 17-October 23, press night September 23. Nadia Fall directs the first London revival of Conor McPherson’s play since it was riginally premiered at the Royal Court in 2004, now starring Brendan Coyle. Press contact: Hannah Stockton at Jo Allan PR. https://www.stratfordeast.com/whats-on/all-shows/shining-city
- >> NEW ENTRY: The Tragedy of Macbeth (Almeida Theatre, September 25-November 20, press night October 5). James McArdle plays the title role in Yaël Farber’s new production, with four-time Academy Award-nominated Saoirse Ronan making her UK stage debut as Lady Macbeth. Press contact: Alexander Milward at the Almeida. https://almeida.co.uk/whats-on/the-tragedy-of-macbeth/29-sep-2021-20-nov-2021
- 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
- >> NEW ENTRY: What If If Only (Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, September 29-October 23, press night October 1) James Macdonald directs a new short play (running 14 minutes) by Carol Churchill, whose plays including Cloud Nine, Top Girls, A Number and Far Away premiered at the Royal Court, as well as more recent work like Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp and Escaped Alone. Press contact: Anoushka Warden at the Royal Court. https://royalcourttheatre.com/whats-on/whatififonly/
- 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 York’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
- The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Lyric Hammersmith, October 9-November 6, with a press night on October 13) Co-produced with Chichester Festival Theatre, where this production will play first from September 3 to October 2, this revival of Martin McDonagh’s play will be directed by Rachel O’Riordan, artistic director of the Lyric Hammersmith. It will feature Ingrid Craigie and Kwaku Fortune. Press contact: Sue-Ann Chow-Seegoolam. https://lyric.co.uk/shows/the-beauty-queen-of-leenane/
- 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 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 from 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. Press contact: David Bloom at Storyhouse PR. https://www.nimaxtheatres.com/shows/the-drifters-girl/
- >> NEW ENTRY: Rare Earth Metal (Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, November 10-December 18, press night November 16) Al Smith, whose plays include Harrogate that was seen at the Royal Court, returns with what is described as a epic new play exploring risk, delusion and power. In a press statement, he comments, “We were halfway through rehearsals when the first lockdown began. I feel very fortunate to be able to return to that work we were making, and enormously grateful to the Court for their unwavering commitment to my play when everything creative felt shattered. I can’t wait to share it.” Press contact: Anoushka Warden at the Royal Court. https://royalcourttheatre.com/whats-on/rareearthmettle/
- Moulin Rouge! The Musical (Piccadilly Theatre) Previews from November 12, press night December 8. The hit 2019 Broadway version of the iconic 2001 Baz Luhrmann film transfers to the West End. With a book by playwright John Logan, direction by Alex Timbers and choreography by Sonya Tayeh, it is produced by Carmen Pavlovic and Gerry Ryan OAM for Global Creatures and Bill Damaschke. In a press statement, Timbers has commented, “The last 12 months have proven uniquely challenging in engaging with performers as we look to cast the UK production. Nevertheless we have all been astounded by the perseverance and sheer talent of those we have seen, and I am excited to see the cast coming together. It feels great to finally be confirming our UK premiere dates. I am thrilled now that we can look forward to bringing Moulin Rouge! to life in London and to welcome our audiences.” Press contact: David Bloom at Storyhouse PR. https://www.moulinrougemusical.co.uk/
- A Christmas Carol (Old Vic, November 13-January 8, 2022, press night November 24). Matthew Warchus’s now perennial stage version of Dickens returns once again, this time live after last year’s version was presented ‘In Camera’ (when it was live-streamed from the theatre starring Andrew Lincoln as Scooge). Press contacts: Hannah Stockton, Kitty Greenleaf, Jo Allan at Jo Allan PR.https://www.oldvictheatre.com/whats-on/2021/watch-at-the-theatre/a-christmas-carol-5
- 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
- Red Riding Hood (Theatre Royal Stratford East) November 27-December 31, press night December 4. This year’s pantomimehas book and lyrics by Carl MIller and music and lyrics by Robert Hyman. Press contact: Hannah Stockton at Jo Allan PR. https://www.stratfordeast.com/whats-on/all-shows/red-riding-hood
- >> NEW ENTRY: Spring Awakening (Almeida Theatre, November 30-January 22, press night December 14) Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater’s 2006 Broadway musical version of Frank Wedelind’s play about adolescent anarchy and sexual awakening, which won the 2007 Tony Award for Best Musical and subsequently also won the Olivier when it transferred to London’s Lyric Hammersmith and the West End’s Novello, is revived in a new production by Almeida artistic director Rupert Goold. The cast will include Amara Okereke as Wendla and Laurie Kynaston as Melchior. Press contact: Alexander Milward at the Almeida. https://almeida.co.uk/whats-on/spring-awakening/2-dec-2021-22-jan-2022
- Best of Enemies (Young Vic Theatre) December 2-January 22, 2022 (press night to be confirmed). The Young Vic and Headlong co-produce James Graham’s new play, inspired by the documentary by Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon. Set in 1968 — a year of protest that divided America — it revolves around the battle between the conservative William F Buckley Jr and the liberal Gore Vidal, who feuded nightly in a new television format. Little did they know that they were about to open up a new frontier in American politics, and transform television news forever. It will be directed by Jeremy Herrin. Press contact: Emma Hardy at the Young Vic. https://www.youngvic.org/whats-on/best-of-enemies
- Bring It On The Musical (Queen Elizabeth Hall) 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. UPDATE: Following the London season, it will embark on a UK/Ireland tour, beginning at Wolverhampton’s Grand Theatre from January 26-29. PR: Emily Webb or Simon Raw at Raw PR. https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/bring-it for London; for full tour dates, visit https://www.bringitonthemusicaluk.com/
- A Number (Old Vic, January 24-March 19, 2022, press night February 1). Lennie James and Paapa Essiedu play father and son(s) in Caryl Churchill’s play, directed by Lyndsey Turner. Press contacts: Hannah Stockton, Kitty Greenleaf, Jo Allan at Jo Allan PR. https://www.oldvictheatre.com/whats-on/2022/watch-at-the-theatre/a-numberhea
- >> NEW ENTRY: The Key Workers Cycle (Almeida Theatre, January 31-February 5) A cycle of nine short plays about those who keep our daily lives running, like teachers, funeral directors, delivery drivers, midwives, refuse collectors and supermarket workers, performed by a company of professional actors, local community participants and key workers. Press contact: Alexander Milward at the Almeida. https://almeida.co.uk/whats-on/the-key-workers-cycle/28-jan-2022-5-feb-2022
- Into the Woods (Old Vic, April 16-July 8, 2022, press night TBC). Terry Gilliam and Leah Hausman co-direct Sondheim and Lapine’s 1987 Broadway musical, originally seen in London (in a different production to the Broadway original) in the West End in 1990, when Richard Jones directed it at the Phoenix Theatre; it has since been revived twice in major productions in London, at the Donmar Warehouse (1998) and Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park (2010, in a production that subsequently was re-staged — with a new American cast — at Central Park’s Delacorte Theatre). Press contacts: Hannah Stockton, Kitty Greenleaf, Jo Allan at Jo Allan PR. https://www.oldvictheatre.com/whats-on/2022/watch-at-the-theatre/into-the-woods
REGIONAL THEATRE OPENINGS (at selected venues only)
- The Girl Next Door (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, June 4-July 3, press night June 8) Alan Ayckbourn directs his 85th play at his ‘home’ theatre, in a production that will rehearse two separate companies – a plan designed to keep the show running if any of the company exhibit symptoms of Covid-19. The primary company — Bill Champion, Linford Johnson, Alexandra Mathie and Naomi Petersen — will make up a bubble with their stage management team. But should any of that bubble show symptoms, the entire group will have to self-isolate – and a second bubble comprising Georgia Burnell, Michael Hobbs, Tayla Kovacevic-Ebong, Eliza McClelland and a second stage management team will be ready to step in. (That second company will also perform the show on a number of dates throughout the run) Press contact: Jennie Swales at the theatre. https://www.sjt.uk.com/event/1131/the_girl_next_door
- Six (Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, June 8-27, then touring) 2021/22 UK and Ireland tour of the cult new British musical launches at Canterbury, with a cast comprising Lauren Drew (Catherine of Aragon), Maddison Bulleyment (Anne Boleyn), Caitlin Tipping (Jane Seymour), Shekinah McFarlane (Anna of Cleves), Vicki Manser (Katherine Howard) and Elèna Gyasi (Catherine Parr), Press contact: Helen Snell PR. https://www.sixthemusical.com/uk-tour
- Copenhagen (Theatre Royal, Bath, June 9 to July 3, press night June 15, then touring to Southampton, Malvern, Cambridge and Kingston) Philip Arditti, Malcolm Sinclair and Haydn Gwynne appear in a revival of Michael Frayn’s play, originally premiered at the National, about a a clandestine encounter that is known to have taken place between two Nobel Prize winning physicists, Dane Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, a German, under the watchful eye of Bohr’s wife. Press contact: Lewis Jenkins, at LJ Publicity.
- For the Grace of You Go I (Theatr Clwyd, June 12-25, press night June 15) James Grieve directs the world premiere of Alan Harris’s comedy to launch Clwyd’s re-opening season of four world premieres. Press contact: Kate Morley. https://www.theatrclwyd.com/event/for-the-grace-of-you-go-i-1
- 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/
- 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, press night June 30). 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. Press contact: Dee McCourt, Borkowski. https://theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk/hamlet
- 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/
- 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
- Talent (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, June 30-July 24, opening night, July 2). Paul Foster, who has previously directed Annie Get Your Gun and Kiss Me, Kate at the Crucible, returns to direct the late Victoria Wood’s play with music about friendship, ambition and the lower rungs of the showbiz ladder. The cast comprises Richard Cant, Daniel Crossley, Jamie-Rose Monk, Jonathon Ojinnaka, James Quinn and Lucie Shorthouse. Press conact: James Lever/Hannah Stockton/Jo Allan at Jo Allan PR. https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/
- >> UPDATED WITH FULL CAST: 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 as Toine – Edith Piaf’s best friend and confidante. They are joined by Laura Pitt-Pulford as Marlene Dietrich, Garry Robson as Louis Leplee – the nightclub owner who discovered Piaf. — and Louis Gaunt as Piaf’s husband Theo. Also in the cast are Samuel James, Matthew Woodyatt, Joseph Prowen and Zheng Xi Yong. Press contact: David Burns PR. https://nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/events/piaf/
- >> UPDATED WITH CAST UPDATE: South Pacific (Chichester Festival Theatre, from July 5-August 28, press night July 13; streamed as live, August 4, 9, 14, 18, 21, 26, 31 and Sept 3). 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. The cast also includes Joanna Ampil as Bloody Mary, Rob Houchen as Lt Cable, and Keir Charles as Luther Billis. Owing to the news that Gina Beck is pregnant, she will now share the role of Nellie with Alex Young from August 5, who will then take over full-time from August 23 for the remainder of the run. In a press statement, Beck commented, “I’m so excited to be finally playing Nellie at Chichester, and am so grateful to CFT for all their support. I’m hoping their trailblazing attitude will spread across the industry to create a future which accommodates those women who want to start a family. When carrying my first child, I became unemployable and unpaid for 6 months of my pregnancy because I looked, well…pregnant. Like most women, I wasn’t unable to work during this time, but because of some of the industry’s more conventional attitudes, financial pressures greatly impacted my choice to return to work when my daughter was just 4 months old.” Press contact: Lucinda Morrison at Chichester Festival Theatre. https://www.cft.org.uk/whats-on/event/south-pacific
- The Comedy of Errors (Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Garden Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, July 13-September 25, press night July 20, then touring to Nottingham Theatre Royal, Canterbury’s Marlowe and Bradford’s Alhambra. Philip Breen’s new production, which was due to be part of the RSC’s 2020 season but was postponed owing to the COVID pandemic, is now launched in a specially constructed outdoor performance space (shown above), located in the Swan Theatre Gardens, flanked by the river Avon. After Stratford, it will tour to indoor venues, with London plans to be confirmed. The cast combines members of the original 2020 acting company, but with several roles re-cast. Jonathan Broadbent and Greg Haiste retain their roles as, respectively, Dromio of Syracuse and Dromio of Ephesus, whilst Hedydd Dylan (Adrianna), Guy Lewis (Antipholus of Syracuse) and Rowan Polonski (Antipholus of Ephesus) join the company. Original cast member Avita Jay will now play Luciana. Press contact: Dean Asker at the RSC.
- The Flock (Minerva Theatre, Chichester, from August 6-28, press night August 12). Guy Jones directs a new play by Zoe Cooper; he also directed her play Out of Water for the Orange Tree/RSC, which was a Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist and also saw Cooper shortlisted for the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright. Press contact: Lucinda Morrison at Chichester Festival Theatre. https://www.cft.org.uk/whats-on/event/the-flock
- 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
- Curtain Up (Theatre Clwyd, August 16-September 4, press night August 19) A three week season of 15 short plays by Welsh writers, with 10 actors a week (30 in all) performing five of those plays each week. Another twist: The audience decide who plays who and their props and costumes. Artistic director Tamara Harvey directs with associates Francesca Goodridge and Emyr John. Press contact: Kate Morley. https://www.theatrclwyd.com/event/curtain-up-week-1; https://www.theatrclwyd.com/event/curtain-up-week-2; https://www.theatrclwyd.com/event/curtain-up-week-3
- Rock of Ages (Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, August 19-21, then touring) Tour resumes for the Broadway musical comedy that features 25 classic rock anthems, directed and choreographed by Nick Winston. Press contacts: Simon Raw, Stacey Pedder or Emily Webb at Raw PR. https://www.rockofagesmusical.co.uk/
- Beauty and the Beast (Bristol Hippodrome, August 25-September 18, then touring) Brand-new production of Disney’s stage version of their animated film classic, with a cast led by Courtney Stapleton and Emmanuel Kojo in the title roles (pictured above), and also featuring Gavin Lee (Lumiere), Tom Senior (Gaston), Sam Bailey (Mrs Potts), Nigel Richards (Cogsworth), Martin Ball (Maurice), Samantha Bingley (Wardrobe), Emma Caffrey (Babette) and Louis Stockil (Le Fou). A national press night will be held at Liverpool Empire on September 29. Press contact: David Bloom at Storyhouse PR. https://www.beautyandthebeastmusical.co.uk/
- Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (The Lowry, Salford Quays, September 1-12, with dates currently booked to April 23, 2022) The national touring version of the ongoing West End hit resumes, with Layton Williams reprising the role of Jamie that he has previously played in the West End, and Shane Richie playing Hugo/Loco Chanelle (to November 20), then replaced by RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Roy Haylock (aka Bianca Del Rio, from November 23 to January 8); they are joined by Shobna Gulati as Ray. The tour includes a four week Christmas season in Brighton (Theatre Royal, December 7-January 2). Press contact: Jo Allan PR.
- The Beauty Queen of Leenane (MInerva Theatre, Chichester, September 3-October 2, press night September 9) It is directed by Rachel O’Riordan, artistic director of the Lyric Hammersmith, where this co-production with that theatre will transfer after Chichester, playing in London from October 9-November 6, with a press night on October 13). The cast will feature Ingrid Craigie and Kwaku Fortune. Press contact: Lucinda Morrison at Chichester Festival Theatre. https://www.cft.org.uk/whats-on/event/the-beauty-queen-of-leenane
- 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/
- School of Rock — The Musical (New Theatre, Hull, September 7-18, then touring to July 2022) As Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest musical Cinderella opens in the West End in July, his most recent previous show embarks on its first national tour. Originally premiered on Broadway in 2015 before transferring to the West End in 2016, it is based on the 2003 film of the same name, about a failed would-be rock star who becomes a substitute prep school teacher — and turns his students into a rock band. Press contact: David Bloom at Storyhouse PR.
- Matthew Bourne’s The Midnight Bell (Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, September 9-11, then touring, with dates booked to November 27) The world premiere of New Adventures’s latest show, inspired by novelist Patrick Hamilton. In a press statement, Bourne commented, “Patrick Hamilton’s literary world could be seen as the flip-side of his close contemporary, Noel Coward, whose witty and glamorous world of cocktails and high society made him so fashionable and successful. Hamilton, on the other hand, wrote about the lives of everyday people, full of pathos, comedy and thwarted romance. Indeed his own personal setbacks and increasingly serious drinking problem became the source from which he created his finest and most individual work. More than any other author of the time, Hamilton’s characters speak with the authentic voice of the era and it’s the raw passion and secret lives that lie beneath the conventional exterior that appeals to me so much”. The 12-strong company includes Liam Mower (one of the original trio of Billy Elliott’s when that musical first opened). It will tour to 13 venues, including a week at London’s Sadler’s Wells (October 4-9). Press contact: Simon Raw at Raw PR.
- 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). Press contact: Dee McCourt, Borkowski. https://theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk/thecherryorchard/
- Missing Julie (Theatr Clwyd, September 16-October 9, press night September 21) World premiere of a play freely adapted from Strindber’g Misss Julie by Kaite O’Reilly. The production’s director is to be recruited as part of the #OpenHire campaign. Press contact: Kate Morley
- Mum (Drum Theatre, Plymouth, September 30-October 16. then Soho Theatre, London) New play by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm (who wrote Emilia, that transferred from the Globe to the West End’s Vaudeville), that will transfer to London’s Soho Theatre after its Plymouth debut,running there from October 20-November 20, with press night on October 26. Press contact: Laura Myers at About Grace PR.
- The Long Song (Chichester Festival Theatre, October 1-23, press night October 7) Suhayla El-Bushra adapts Andrea Levy’s novel for the stage, and Charlotte Gwinner directs. Press contact: Lucinda Morrison at Chichester Festival Theatre. https://www.cft.org.uk/whats-on/event/the-long-song-1
- 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 Unusal, 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
- Home (Minerva Theatre, Chichester, October 8-November 6, press night October 13) Josh Roche directs David Storey’s 1970 play that is regarded as a modern classic. Roche won the JMK Award for his production of My Name Is Rachel Corrie at the Young Vic with Erin Doherty in the title role. Press contact: Lucinda Morrison at Chichester Festival Theatre. https://www.cft.org.uk/whats-on/event/home
- 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/
- Isla (Theatr Clwyd, October 16-November 6, press night October 21) Clwyd artistic director Tamara Harvey directs the world premiere of Welsh playwright Tim Price’s Isla. Press contact: Kate Morley.
- 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
- Jersey Boys (New Wimbledon Theatre, from November 25-27, then touring, with dates currently announced to November 12) The Broadway hit musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, also returning to the West End at the newly reinstated Trafalgar Theatre from July 28, embarks on a new national tour. Press contact: Sarah Wharton at Amanda Malpass PR. http://www.jerseyboyslondon.com/
- 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.
- Coventry UK City of Culture 2021. Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture kicks off from May 15, running for 12 months. Events include Observations on Being (June 22-August 15), a major new commission by leading art and technology studio Marshmallow Laser Feast that is an installation of music, voice, ground-breaking visual worlds, sensory effects and technologies located in Coventry’s London Road Cemetery and Charterhouse Heritage Park. Paines Plough and Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre will will present a festival of new plays (by Chris Bush, Phoebe Eclair-Powell, Frankie Meredith and Chinonyerem Odimba and community-led activities in the world’s first plug-in, pop-up and play theatre Roundabout (July 27-August 8). Press contacts: Laura Steele/ Zoe Poulton at Four Communications. For full details, visit https://coventry2021.co.uk/
- Manchester International Festival (July 1-18) The biannual festival of original new work and special events, most of which has been created in the past year, provides — in the words of the press release — “a unique snapshot of these unprecedented times. Artists have reflected on ideas such as love and human connections, the way we play, division and togetherness, equality and social change, and the relationship between the urban and the rural. As one of the first major public events in the city, MIF21 will play a key role in the safe reopening of the city’s economy and provide employment for hundreds of freelancers and artists.” Events include a new dance piece by choreographer Boris Charmatz for the opening night of the festival on July 1 called Sea Change, “a huge human flipbook sprung to life on the streets of Manchester” and Deborah Warner presenting Arcadia, a new sound and light installation that will use the immense open spaces of the site of Factory, MIF’s new home that is in the process of still being built, on July 10-11. Press contacts: Maisie Lawrence/ Kate Hassell/ Ben Chamberlain at Bread and Butter PR. https://mif.co.uk/
- 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 RUN
- Pride at the Palace (Palace Theatre) June 7, 7.30pm. A one-night concert featuring LGBTQIA+ performers from the West End and beyond, in aid of the Terrence Higgins Trust. https://www.nimaxtheatres.com/shows/pride-at-the-palace/
- Showstopper! The Improvised Musical (Garrick Theatre) Monthly Monday West End residency for the Olivier winning improvisational show, with dates on June 7 (press performance), July 5, August 9, September 13 and October 11. Press contact: Kevin Wilson PR.
- 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 Maiya Quansah-Breed (replacing Alexia Khadime, who has withdrawn owing the imminent return for Prince of Egypt in which she is part of the original cast), newly joined by Alice Fearn. https://www.nimaxtheatres.com/shows/the-distance-you-have-come/
- Jenna Russell solo concert (Cadogan Hall) November 7, 6.30pm. The Olivier winner — soon to play Piaf at Nottingham Playhouse (see regional, above) — will perform a solo show, with musical director Nigel Lilley. Also in Fourth Wall Live’s season: Shoshana Bean (December 4, 7.30pm) and Jessica Vosk (February 27, 6.30pm) will appear. Press contacts: Simon Raw or Emily Webb at Raw PR. https://cadoganhall.com/whats-on/jenna-russell-live-in-concert-2021/
- >> NEW ENTRY: Hadestown (Walter Kerr Theatre) Resuming performances from September 2, the 2019 Tony winning Best Musical is the first Broadway show to return. In a press statement, producers Mara Isaacs, Dale Franzen, Hunter Arnold, and Tom Kirdahy, commented, “For the past 15 months, ‘spring will come again,’ has become our mantra. Anaïs Mitchell’s elegant lyric has gotten us through a year of profound change, soul searching, and more than a few sleepless nights. Now, as spring is in full bloom in New York, that mantra continues to show itself in wonderful ways, as we’re able to announce not only our return to Broadway, but our North American tour, and our first-ever international production in South Korea. Bringing Hadestown back to stages all over the globe is a fundamental celebration of theater’s survival, about the power of this beloved art form, and the strength of millions of arts workers who are bringing it back to life. It will be an honor to sit in the audience on Thursday, September 2 at the Kerr and see fans welcome our cast, crew, and band back to the stage where they belong.” Press contact: Rick Miramontez / Aaron Meier at DKC/O&M. https://www.hadestown.com/#home
- Chicago (Ambassador Theatre) Resuming performances from September 14, Broadway’s longest-running American musical of all time resumes performances, as it approaches its 25th anniversary since opening on Broadway in November 1996, after transferring from New York CIty Center, where this Encores! revival was first seen earlier that summer. Press contacts: Adrian Bryan-Brown/Heath Schwarz at Boneau/Bryan-Brown. https://chicagothemusical.com/
- Six The Musical (Brooks Atkinson Theatre) Six, the British musical whose Broadway opening night was cancelled two hours before it was due to take place on March 12, 2020 when all of Broadway was shut down, will finally open officially, after resuming performances from September 17, prior to a new opening night on October 3. Press contacts: Adrian Bryan-Brown, Heath Schwartz, Imani Punch at Boneau/Bryan-Brown. http://www.sixonbroadway.com/
- >> NEW ENTRY: Girl from the North Country (Belasco Theatre) Resuming performances from October 13, the London-born hit transferred to Broadway where it opened on March 5, days before Broadway was shut down by the pandemic. In a press statement, producers Tristan Baker and Charlie Parsons commented, “Bob Dylan once said ‘You should always take the best from the past, leave the worst back there and go forward into the future’. We are thrilled to go forward by welcoming audiences safely back to The Belasco this fall and reunite with our beloved Broadway family. At the heart of Girl From The North Country is the Depression-era story about a community coming together to find hope while facing hardships during difficult and uncertain times. After the turbulent past year of experiencing great pain, suffering, and loss, the global pandemic has tested our resolve and resilience in countless ways, revealing in the process the deep divides and inequities in our society, and strengthening our commitment to change and moving forward. Girl From The North Country resonates powerfully today, and is a love letter to America celebrating its strength and resilience with the poetry of Bob Dylan’s music to unite, heal, uplift, inspire, and illuminate through the darkest of times.” Press contact: Amy Jacobs at Rubenstein. https://northcountryonbroadway.com/
- Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations (Imperial Theatre) will resume performances October 16. In a press statement, producers Ira Pittelman and Tom Hulce said, “Ain’t Too Proud has been one of the most rewarding experiences of our career, but over the past year, the Temptations’ story of strength, hope, and standing up for justice has taken on an added significance. Our return to the Imperial on Saturday, October 16 will be an epic performance full of love, laughter, and tears of joy, but we know the hard work still lies ahead and we embrace the task whole heartedly.” Press contact: Rick Miramontez / Aaron Meier at DKC/O&M. https://www.ainttooproudmusical.com/
- The Phantom of the Opera (Majestic Theatre) The longest-running musical in Broadway history — which has been running since transferring from the West End in 1987 — resumes performances from October 22. Press contact: The Publicity Office. https://us.thephantomoftheopera.com
- Mrs Doubtfire (Stephen Sondheim Theatre) The new Broadway musical version of the 1993 film comedy resumes performances from October 21, after a hiatus brought about by the closure of Broadway in March 2020, prior to an official opening December 5. Rob McClure plays the title role, originally played on screen by Robin Williams, in Jerry Zaks’ production. Press statement from producer Kevin McCollum: ““Broadway is about celebrating a shared experience together and after 18 months away there is no one better to bring us all together again than Mrs. Doubtfire. I’m thrilled that the Mrs. Doubtfire company will reunite on Broadway this fall bringing their indomitable spirit and talent to this new production based on one of the most beloved films of all time. After just three preview performances, Mrs. Doubtfire was shut down along with the rest of Broadway. Now, it’s time to re-launch this hysterical new musical comedy that reminds us there is nothing more important than love and finding your family.” Press contact: Adrian Bryan-Brown at Boneau/Bryan-Brown. https://mrsdoubtfirebroadway.com/
- Diana: The Musical (Longacre Theatre) Previews will resume November 2, prior to an official opening night on November 17 (brought forward from December 1/16 respectively) for this new musical (with book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music and lyrics by David Bryan), after its original 2020 run was curtailed by the closure of Broadway. Celebrating the life of Princess Diana and the light of her legacy that continues to shine across the world, it will premiere two months ahead of its Broadway return as a special presentation on Netflix of a filmed version of the stage production that was filmed after Broadway was locked down. In a joint press statement, the Diana producers said, “The chance to share our show, first with Netflix’s global audience, and then welcoming a live audience back on Broadway, is something we’ve all been dreaming about for more than a year. We could not be more thrilled to finally share both the film and the Broadway musical with the world.” The cast is led by Jeanna de Waal as Diana, Roe Hartrampf as Prince Charles, Erin Davie as Camilla Parker Bowles, and Judy Kaye as Queen Elizabeth. Press contact: Rick Miramontez / Pete Sanders at DKC/O&M.
- Dear Evan Hansen (Music Box Theatre) Resuming performances from December 11, five years after its opening there. The US national tour will also re-launch its tour on December 7; and will resume in the West End at the Noel Coward Theatre from October 26 (see above).
- Company (Bernard B Jacobs Theatre) Resuming preview performances (that were shut down last March ahead of the originally announced opening) from December 20, prior to a new official opening night January 9, Marianne Elliott’s production of Sondheim and Furth’s 1970 Broadway classic stars Katrina Lenk as Bobbie and Patti LuPone as Joanne (pictured above). In a press statement, Sondheim has commented, “Company is a show about connecting, about the necessity of having other people in our lives. This past year, with its isolation, has reminded us all of that need for togetherness, so I’m happy that Marianne Elliott’s startling and exhilarating production is coming back to Broadway. See it. It will make you laugh, make you care, and lift your spirits at a time when we need such things.” Elliott adds, “During the last 18 months, we have all struggled with isolation and loneliness and Company is the exact opposite of that. It is a musical about being happily together again, about celebrating each other with love, laughter, and deep joy. I have been reminded of the essential human need to be with other people and I can’t wait to share the show with our amazing New York audiences. At last!” Press contact: Rick Miramontez / Aaron Meier at DKC/ O&M.
- The Music Man (Winter Garden Theatre) Beginning performances December 20, prior to an official opening February 10, Hugh Jackman plays ‘Professor’ Harold Hill, the music man of the title, in a revival of Meredith Willson’s 1957 musical, co-starring Sutton Foster as Marian Paroo. Jerry Zaks directs, with choreography by Warren Carlyle, the same team behind the 2018 revival of Hello, Dolly! Press contact: DKC/O&M. https://musicmanonbroadway.com/
- MJ – The new Michael Jackson Musical (Neil Simon Theatre) Beginning performances December 6, prior to an official opening February 1, this musical inspired by the life of the late pop icon stars Ephraim Sykes in the title role. It has a book by Lynn Nottage, and will be directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon (whose last Broadway show An American in Paris transferred to the West End). Press contact: DKC/O&M. https://mjthemusical.com/