What’s Hot in London: January 21-27

News   What’s Hot in London: January 21-27
 
The National Theatre announces a slate of new productions for 2017-2018, including Pinocchio, and Network with Bryan Cranston.
What’s Hot in London
What’s Hot in London
John Tiffany
John Tiffany Monica Simoes

Rufus Norris announced a slate of new productions for 2017-2018 at a press conference held January 27.
Rufus Norris confirmed plans for the previously announced new stage adaptation of Pinocchio, to be directed by John Tiffany, and told the press gathering—in response to a question from Playbill—that the National’s relationship with original rights holders Disney was “quite a complex one” and “one we’ve taken quite a hard line on.” He added, “The simple fact is that we have total artistic control; it is absolutely our control. They have been incredibly supportive of that.”

He said of the creative team that includes director John Tiffany, choreographer Steven Hoggett, and musical supervisor Martin Lowe that they all have “a fantastic pedigree in the subsidized as well as commercial sector, so it felt very much to us like the sort of people we’d like to have making our family show for us. It is very important that we have, and continue to have, artistic control over it, no matter what happens. We are not talking to them at all beyond this production. But if it goes forward, we have a mutual veto—if we don’t like how it has gone, we can pull it, and so can they. It’s very much a 50/50 deal. So far, so good; Lisa Berger [the theatre’s executive director] is driving a very hard bargain with them.”

Norris also announced that its production of Duncan Macmillan’s People, Places and Things will transfer to New York’s St Ann’s Warehouse, with Denise Gough reprising her award-winning performance. The production will also embark on a major U.K. tour with a new cast in the fall, beginning performances in September in Manchester.

Other highlights on the South Bank theatre will include Ivo van Hove directing Bryan Cranston in his British stage debut in the world-premiere stage adaptation of the film Network; Macbeth, starring Rory Kinnear and Anne-Marie Duff; and Annie Baker’s John, which will receive its European premiere. Also, the recent hit revival of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus is set to return in January 2018.

The season will feature 12 new plays—50 percent of them by women—and will also see the theatre touring to 47 venues in 35 towns and cities across the U.K. in 2017-2018.

Rachelle Ann Go
Rachelle Ann Go

Hamilton announces initial casting for West End premiere.
Initial casting has been announced for the London bow of Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre in November. Though the title role is yet to be cast, Eliza Hamilton will be played by Rachelle Ann Go, who starred as Gigi in the London revival of Miss Saigon, a role she will reprise on Broadway in March before returning to London to star in Hamilton.

All seats allocated for priority sale in the first booking period through June 30 have now sold out. The other 50 percent of tickets currently available for public booking will go on sale January 30.

Further casting and production news…
Trevor Nunn is to return to London’s Menier Chocolate Factory, where he previously directed a revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love and a production of Sondheim’s A Little Night Music that transferred to Broadway, to direct productions of Terence Rattigan’s Love in Idleness (from March 9) and Peter Shaffer’s Lettice & Lovage (from May 4). The latter marks the play’s first major London revival since its original 1987 West End production that starred Maggie Smith and the late Margaret Tyzack, which subsequently transferred to Broadway.

The new season at London’s Young Vic Theatre will see Billie Piper reprising her award-winning performance in a new contemporary version of Yerma that was a sell-out hit at the theatre last year. The season will also include a new production of Brecht’s Life of Galileo, directed by Joe Wright (Oscar-nominated director of Atonement and Pride & Prejudice); and the London premiere of Arthur Kopit’s Wings, starring Juliet Stevenson.

The summer run of a new musical version of The Wind in the Willows at the London Palladium, where it opens in June, will see Rufus Hound reprising his performance as Toad from its regional premiere last year, joined by Neil McDermott as Chief Weasel. The musical is George Stiles and Anthony Drewe’s new collaboration with Julian Fellowes, with whom they previously worked on bringing Mary Poppins to the West End and Broadway stage.

In development for 2018 is Dusty, the first authorized new musical charting the life of Dusty Springfield. Originating from the notes and memoirs of the late singer’s close friend and manager Vicki Wickham, it will be written by Jonathan Harvey (Beautiful Thing), who tells the story behind this iconic artist having interviewed key people from her life including Pat Rhodes, Dusty’s lifelong personal assistant, and friend and record company executive Tris Penna. It will be directed by Maria Friedman. No theatre has been announced.

For further news…
Stay tuned to Playbill.com and follow me on Twitter @shentonstage for rolling news updates as they happen.

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