London Theatre Preview: Fall 2017

Special Features   London Theatre Preview: Fall 2017
What to see across the pond this fall.

Outside of Broadway, London is the world’s largest hub for commercial theatre in the English-speaking world. And if you frequent Broadway, you’ve likely seen your fair share of London transfers to the Main Stem—including this past season’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses, The Play That Goes Wrong, Groundhog Day The Musical, and Sunset Boulevard. Still, there are shows that play exclusive London runs or shows that transfer to London from Broadway if you live across the pond (or are traveling over there and missed the New York run).

Stephen Sondheim’s legendary Follies began previews August 22 and will officially open September 6, starring Imelda Staunton as Sally Durant Plummer, Janie Dee as Phyllis Rogers Stone, Peter Forbes as Buddy Plummer, and Philip Quast as Ben Stone. The production, directed by Dominic Cooke, will be broadcast November 16.


Next up is the musical revue Five Guys Named Moe at the Marble Arch Theatre. The show, featuring jazz hits like “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie” and “Early in the Morning,” premiered in London in 1990 and earned the 1991 Olivier Award for Best Entertainment preceding a Broadway transfer in 1992, earning Tony nominations for Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical. This production begins previews August 29 and opens September 14.

Waiting for Godot will play an extremely limited engagement at the Arts Theatre beginning September 5, opening September 7, and closing September 23. Last revived on Broadway in 2014, the Samuel Beckett classic stars Patrick O’Donnell, Paul Kealyn, Nick Devlin, and Conor Donelan.

From the producer of Groundhog Day, King Charles III, and more comes Ink, a play by James Graham about Rupert Murdoch’s aim to establish Britain’s most influential newspaper back in 1969. Currently playing the Almeida, the show will transfer to the Duke of York’s Theatre with performances beginning September 9 and an official opening September 19. Starring Bertie Carvel (Broadway’s Matilda The Musical) and Richard Coyle, the production is directed by Almeida Artistic Director Rupert Goold (King Charles III, American Psycho).

The musical Footloose will run for a stint from September 12 to September 30 at the Peacock Theatre, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express will run three performances in this special concert-style workshop September 14–16 at The Other Palace.

The English-language world premiere of Florian Zeller’s The Lie debuts at the Menier Chocolate Factory. The translation by Christopher Hampton (Sunset Boulevard) is directed by Lindsay Posner and begins performances September 14 with an official opening September 27. The cast features Tony nominee Samantha Bond, James Dreyfus, Tony Gardner, and Alexandra Gilbreath.


September will also see the world premiere of James Graham’s new work, Labour of Love. Directed by Jeremy Herrin (Broadway’s Noises Off and Wolf Hall Parts One and Two), the show stars The Hobbit’s Martin Freeman and Sarah Lancashire in this political comedy about Britain’s Labour Party. Performances begin September 15 with an official opening set for September 25. The National Youth Theatre presents a new adaptation of Jekyll & Hyde by award-winning playwright Evan Placey, which bows at the Ambassadors Theatre September 27.

In musicals, Off-Broadway’s The Toxic Avenger transfers from the West End’s Southward Playhouse to the Arts Theatre for a limited run beginning September 29. The Barbican presents its usual roster of Shakespeare from the Royal Shakespeare Company with Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, Antony & Cleopatra, and Titus Andronicus.

The first Broadway transfer of the London season is the hit Mel Brooks musical Young Frankenstein, playing the Garrick Theatre beginning September 28 with a highly anticipated opening October 10 followed by the 2017 Tony Award-winning Best Play, Oslo. The political thriller by J.T. Rogers tells the story of the emotional back channel negotiations that led to the 1993 Oslo Accords between the Israelis and Palestinians. Directed again by Tony winner Bartlett Sher, the play is also being adapted into a feature film. This production begins September 30 and opens October 11 at the Harold Pinter Theatre.


Two plays begin previews October 3: Chekhov’s The Seagull at the Lyric Hammersmith, starring Lesley Sharp, and Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle at Wyndham’s Theatre. Tony-nominated Best Play Venus in Fur will play a strictly limited engagement at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, starring Natalie Dormer and David Oakes. The West End premiere begins performances October 14 with an official opening October 17 and must close December 9.

Oscar Wilde’s A Woman of No Importance will see a revival from October 6 through December 30 at the Vaudeville Theatre. Tackling issues of class, family, and culture, the show features Eve Best, Eleanor Bron, and William Gaunt.

In lighter fare, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax returns to the Old Vic after earning an Olivier nomination for Best Entertainment and Family Show. As the Once-ler hacks down truffula trees to feed the fad of thneeds—the garment everyone needs—The Lorax tries to speak for the trees. Adapted by David Greig and directed by Max Webster, the musical begins previews October 15 and opens October 20.

Broadway’s Big Fish makes it to London’s The Other Palace, bowing November 1. Golden Globe-winning and Tony-nominated actor Kelsey Grammer stars in the London premiere of Andrew Lippa’s wildly fanciful musical based on the movie of the same name.

Finally, the moment everyone has been waiting for: Hamilton hits London before the close of 2017. The hip-hop musical written by Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner Lin-Manuel Miranda begins performances November 21 at the Victoria Palace Theatre—following its extensive renovation—with an official opening December 7. Currently running on Broadway and in Chicago with a national tour out, the London show is the first international production of the phenomenon. Hamilton will be played by Jamael Westman.


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