LONDON SPRING PREVIEW 2014: Miss Saigon, Fatal Attraction, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Shakespeare Turns 450

By Mark Shenton
29 Dec 2013

Robert Lindsay

Musicals
On the musicals front, the London Palladium will see the world premiere of I Can't Sing! – The X Factory Musical (from Feb. 27), with a cast that includes Nigel Harman as Simon Cowell and Cynthia Erivo. Written by Harry Hill (best known as a TV and stage comedian) with a score by Steve Brown (previously represented in the West End by the Olivier Award winning Spend Spend Spend), it is directed by Sean Foley.

There will be U.K. premieres for two Broadway musicals. At the Savoy, Jerry Mitchell will direct Tony winner Robert Lindsay (Me and My Girl), Rufus Hound and Katherine Kingsley in David Yazbeck and Jeffrey Lane's 2005 musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (from March 10, following two out-of-town engagements in Manchester from Feb. 12 and Aylesbury from Feb. 26). At the St. James Theatre, Jamie Lloyd will direct Richard Fleeshman, Jenna Russell, Jonathan Slinger and Cory English in Urinetown (from Feb. 22), originally seen on Broadway in 2001 where it was nominated for ten Tony Awards and won three, including Best Book (Greg Kotis) and score (Mark Hollman).

On the revivals front, Cameron Mackintosh will revive Boublil and Schonberg's Miss Saigon that he originally produced at Drury Lane 25 years ago. Now remounted in a new production at the Prince Edward Theatre (from May 3) by Laurence Connor that will utilize the original musical staging of Bob Avian, it stars 17-year-old American actress Eva Noblezada as Kim, a recent high school graduate who was discovered during the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York last June, with Alistair Brammer as Chris and Jon Jon Briones (an ensemble member of the original cast at Drury Lane) as the Engineer.



Chichester Festival Theatre's summer revival of the 1954 Broadway musical The Pajama Game will transfer to the Shaftesbury (from May 1), with Joanna Riding reprising her perfomrance as Babe Williams, newly joined by Michael Xavier replacing Hadley Fraser as Sid Sorokin in Richard Eyre's production.

Also being revived elsewhere, Joan Littlewood's Oh What A Lovely War returns to its original home, the Theatre Royal, Stratford East (from Feb. 1), to mark both the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War and the 50th anniversary of this show's 1963 premiere. Terry Johnson directs a cast that includes Caroline Quentin. Johnson will also direct the return of another Stratford East classic, Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be (from May 8), starring Jessie Wallace (from TV's "EastEnders") and Gary Kemp (famous for the pop group Spandau Ballet). Lionel Bart's musical, originally premiered in 1959, will be presented in a new adaptation by Elliot Davis.

On the fringe, Sam Buntrock (previously represented on Broadway by the transfer of his London production of Sunday in the Park with George) will direct the premiere of Gwyneth Herbert and Diane Samuels' The A-Z of Mrs P (at Southwark Playhouse from Feb. 20), revolving around the true story of the woman who created the London A-Z street map. The cast will include Isy Suttie as Mrs P (best known for her TV roles in "Peep Show" and "Shameless") and Frances Ruffelle (Tony winner as the original Eponine in Les Miserables) as her mother.

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For further details of all of these shows, search Playbill.com And for breaking news, as it occurs, check Playbill.com regularly.