London Preview: Winter 2017

Special Features   London Preview: Winter 2017
Broadway transfers, original works, and star turns—including Cherry Jones, Daniel Radcliff, Damian Lewis and more—happening across the pond.

New York may be the theatre capital of the U.S., but across the pond, London continues to put up top-quality stagings both in and around the West End. We provide a list of select shows coming to London (the dates below are the dates of the first preview performance).

Especially of note, Broadway is sending Cherry Jones to the West End for the first time to reprise her turn in The Glass Menagerie, and both Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope will reprise their performances in the London bow of An American in Paris. The first London productions of Death Takes a Holiday, Ugly Lies the Bone, and Speech & Debate arrive and a double dose of new homegrown productions of Stoppard (Tom Hollander in Travesties and Daniel Radcliffe in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead) and Albee (with Imelda Staunton in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Damian Lewis in The Goat) will bow.

December 22: Matthew Spangler’s stage version of Khaled Hosseini’s best-selling 2003 novel The Kite Runner, originally produced at San Jose Repertory in 2009, transfers to the West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre after a regional U.K. run at Nottingham Playhouse and a subsequent tour, for a run to March 11. (Opening night: January 10)

January 16: Carly Wijs’ Edinburgh Fringe First winner Us/Them, telling of the 2004 terrorist attack on a school in Beslan in which hundreds of children were taken hostage and many left dead after a three-day siege, transfers to the National’s Dorfman Theatre for a season to February 18 only. (Opening night: January 20)

January 16: Maxwell Caulfield, Zoë Doano and Chris Peluso star in the European premiere of the Maury Yeston scored 2011 Off-Broadway musical Death Takes a Holiday, in which Death disguises himself as a handsome young prince to try to understand why life is so precious and death so feared. It plays at Charing Cross Theatre for a run to March 4. (Opening night: January 23)

January 26: Cherry Jones makes her long-overdue West End debut, reprising her 2013 Broadway performance as Amanda Wingfield in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, directed by John Tiffany and also featuring Michael Esper, Brian J. Smith, and Kate O’Flynn. It runs at Duke of York’s Theatre to April 29. (Opening night: February 2)

January 28: The Girls, a new musical by Gary Barlow (Finding Neverland) and Tim Firth based on Firth’s 2003 film Calendar Girls, comes to the West End’s Phoenix Theatre. The show was originally scripted by Firth and previously adapted as a hit stage play. Based on the true story of a group of ladies who decide to appear nude for a Women’s Institute calendar in order to raise funds for their local hospital, the cast includes Debbie Chazen, Sophie-Louise Dann, Michele Dotrice, Claire Machin, Marian McLoughlin, Claire Moore, and Joanna Riding. (Opening night: February 21)

February 3: Tom Stoppard sees his 1974 play, Travesties, transfer from the Menier Chocolate Factory to the Apollo. Tom Hollander plays the minor British diplomat remembering —and mis-remembering—his encounters with James Joyce, Tristan Tzara, and Lenin in 1917 Zurich. It runs to April 29. (Opening night: February 15)

February 13: The St. James Theatre re-opens as the Other Palace as a home exclusively for musicals with a production of Michael John LaChiusa’s The Wild Party. First seen on Broadway in 2000, this production stars Frances Ruffelle as Queenie with Donna McKechnie as Dolores and John Owen-Jones as Burrs, for a run to April 1. (Opening night: February 20)

February 15: Simon Godwin directs Tamsin Greig as a transformed Malvolia (instead of Malvolio) in Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night at the National’s Olivier Theatre. The art also features Oliver Chris, Phoebe Fox, Doon Mackichan, and Daniel Rigby. (Opening night: February 22)

February 16: Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is revived at London’s Young Vic, with Joe Hill-Gibbins directing Anastasia Hille as Titania and Leo Bill as Bottom. John Dagleish and Jemima Rooper play Lysander and Hermia. It runs to April 1. (Opening night: February 23)

February 17: Andrew Scott stars in the title role of Hamlet at the Almeida, in a production directed by Robert Icke , running to April 7. Jessica Brown Findlay, Juliet Stevenson, and Luke Thompson round out the cast. (Opening night: February 28)

February 22: Indhu Rubasingham directs the European premiere of Lindsey Ferrentino’s Ugly Lies the Bone, first produced at Roundabout Underground in 2015, at the National’s Lyttelton Theatre, with Kate Fleetwood as a woman who has completed three tours in Afghanistan and months in a severe burn unit as she finally returns home to Florida. (Opening night: March 1)

Jason Fuchs, Sarah Steele and Gideon Glick in Stephen Karam's <i>Speech and Debate</i>.
Jason Fuchs, Sarah Steele and Gideon Glick in Stephen Karam's Speech and Debate.

February 22: A second Roundabout Underground play coincidentally comes to London on the same day. Stephen Karam sees his 2007 play Speech & Debate receive its U.K. premiere at London’s Trafalgar Studios 2 for a run to April 1. The play revolves around homophobia, teenage alienation and the limits of online privacy. (Opening night: February 24)

February 22: Eden Espinosa, best known for her Broadway roles as Elphaba in Wicked (which she also played in Los Angeles and San Francisco) and Brooklyn (in which she originated the title role), stars in the U.K. premiere of a new rock musical, Lizzie, at Greenwich Theatre, for a run to March 12. (Opening night: February 24)

February 22: Imelda Staunton and Conleth Hill star in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Harold Pinter Theatre, for a run to May 27. James Macdonald directs (Opening night: March 9)

February 25: Daniel Radcliffe and Joshua McGuire star in the 50th anniversary production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead that made the young Tom Stoppard’s name when it debuted at the Old Vic, and now returns to the same stage in a new production by David Leveaux, for a run to April 29. (Opening night: March 7)

March 1: Olivier winner Maria Friedman directs Amanda Holden, Angela Griffin, and Nicola Stephenson in a new production of Richard Harris’ 1984 comedy Stepping Out, set in the world of amateur theatre, at the Vaudeville Theatre for a run to June 17. It was seen on Broadway in 1987 in a production directed by Tommy Tune before it was filmed in 1991 with a cast that included Liza Minnelli, Shelley Winters, and Julie Waters.

March 2: Limehouse, a new play by Steve Waters, examines the 1981 split in the U.K.’s Labours Party, imagining what happened when the “Gang of Four” met in 1981 to break from Labour and form the Social Democratic Party (SDP). It runs at the Donmar Warehouse to April 15. (Opening night: March 8)

March 2: The Off-Broadway musical whodunit Murder for Two receives its London premiere at the Other Palace Studio, for a run to March 18. (Opening night: March 6)

March 4: The Broadway musical version of the 1951 Vincente Minnelli film An American in Paris comes to the West End’s Dominion Theatre with New York City Ballet principal Robert Fairchild and the Royal Ballet dancer Leanne Cope. The two reprise the roles of Jerry Mulligan, an American G.I., and the beautiful young dancer he falls in love with, that they originated on Broadway. (Opening night: March 21)

A scene from <i>The Frogs.</i>
A scene from The Frogs. Paul Kolnik

March 14: Stephen Sondheim and Burt Shevelove’s rarely-seen The Frogs, a contemporary update of Aristophanes’ work, is revived in London in a U.K. premiere. The revised, expanded version—written by Nathan Lane for the 2004 Broadway production of the show that Lane starred—runs at Jermyn Street Theatre to April 8. (Opening night: March 16)

March 15: Simon McBurney directs a new play, The Kid Stays in the Picture, based on the life of influential Hollywood producer Robert Evans at the Royal Court, for a run to April 8 (Opening night: March 15).

March 17: David Tennant returns to the West End stage to star in the title role of a new production of Patrick Marber’s Don Juan in Soho at Wyndham’s Theatre, running to June 10. Loosely based on the Molière tragicomedy Don Juan, it transposes the action to contemporary London and follows the final adventures of its debauched protagonist, a cruel seducer who lives only for pleasure. (Opening night: March 28)

March 20: Mark Bramble directs a revival of 42nd Street that he originally co-authored, coming to the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane with a cast led by Sheena Easton—the Grammy Award-winning artist who has sold over 20 million records around the world—as Dorothy Brock. (Opening night: April 4)

March 24: Damian Lewis and Tony winner Sophie Okonedo (A Raisin in the Sun) star in a new West End production of Edward Albee’s 2002 Tony-winning play The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, for a run to June 24. (Opening night: April 5)

March 25: The Life, the 1997 Broadway musical that has music by Cy Coleman, receives its London premiere at Southwark Playhouse. Helmed by Michael Blakemore, who also directed its original Broadway outing, it runs to April 29 starring Sharon D. Clarke. (Opening night: March 29)

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