As previously announced, Michael Sheen will star in the title role of Hamlet, to be directed by Ian Rickson, and Patrick Stewart will reprise his role as William Shakespeare in Edward Bond's Bingo that he has previously played at Chichester's Minerva Theatre. The theatre will also revive its hit productions of Kurt Weill's Street Scene and Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane, in what artistic director David Lan calls "one of the strongest line-ups we've ever had."
In a press statement, Lan continued, "Some of the world’s great actors, writers, directors, designers will be with us – Michael Sheen, Patrick Stewart, Julian Barratt, Jon Fosse, Martin McDonagh, Edward Bond, Simon Stephens, Ian Rickson, Patrice Chéreau, Richard Jones, Benedict Andrews, Miriam Buether, Jeremy Herbert, John Fulljames, Joe Hill-Gibbins, Ultz and many more."
Hamlet will begin performances Oct. 28, prior to an official opening Nov. 9, for a season through Jan. 21 2012. Lan commented, "Michael Sheen and Ian Rickson are both old colleagues and friends. I have long hoped to have them with us here. To have them together on Hamlet is a gift. It can’t help but be one of the events of the year." The production marks the Shakespearean directorial debut of Rickson, who is shortly to be represented on Broadway by the transfer of his Royal Court production of Jerusalem. He is currently directing The Children's Hour with Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss at the West End's Comedy Theatre. Sheen was last seen on Broadway in Frost/Nixon (reprising his performance as Nixon interrogator David Frost that he originated at the Donmar Warehouse, and also played in the subsequent film version); other Broadway appearances include Mozart in Peter Hall's revival of Amadeus. The production will be designed by Jeremy Herbert, with costumes by Nicky Gillibrand, lighting by Adam Silverman, sound by Gareth Fry and music by Stephen Warbeck.
Edward Bond's Bingo begins performances Feb. 16, 2012, prior to an official opening Feb. 23, for a run through March 31. A Young Vic/Chichester Festival co-production, it has Patrick Stewart playing William Shakespeare in Angus Jackson's revival of his own production first seen at Chichester last year. The play, set in Stratford-upon-Avon in the final chapter of Shakespeare's life, finds him there with the glory years of London behind him, where he is in a moral dilemma. Faced with the same situation as his greatest creation King Lear, what should he do with his land and his power? Stewart, who is soon to play Shylock for the Royal Shakespeare Company as part of the 50th anniversary season at Stratford-upon-Avon, was last seen at the Young Vic in a production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, before his "Star Trek" days. In a press statement, Lan commented, "It’s far too long since Patrick Stewart was at the Young Vic. The world knows he’s a great Shakespearean actor. Now we’ll see him as Shakespeare himself in Edward Bond’s magnificent - and timely - Bingo." The production is designed by Robert Innes-Hopkins, with lighting by Tim Mitchell and music by Stephen Warbeck.
The new season will also see the return of the Young Vic hit productions of Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane (beginning performances July 20, prior to an official opening July 26, for a run through Sept. 3) and Kurt Weill, Elmer Rice and Langston Hughes' Street Scene (beginning performances Sept. 15, prior to an official opening Sept. 20, for a 14-performance run through Oct. 1), co-produced with the Opera Group, and originally produced with Watford Palace Theatre. The Beauty Queen of Leenane will see Rosaleen Linehan reprising her performance as the cantankerous Mag, newly joined by Irish actress Derbhle Crotty (seen in the film "Notes on a Scandal"), in Joe Hill-Gibbons' production. Other casting is to be announced.
The Opera Group/Young Vic's production of Street Scene, directed by John Fulljames, won the 2008 Evening Standard Award for Best Musical. It features an 80-strong ensemble with singers drawn from the world of theatre and opera, a local community chorus of young people and a chamber orchestra of 31. During the run the production will feature both the BBC Concert Orchestra and Southbank Sinfonia, and conductors Keith Lockhart and Tim Murray.
Other new season announcements include Tom Brooke and Jack Laskey performing in Patrice Chéreau’s international co-production of Jon Fosse's I am the Wind, in a new adaptation by Simon Stephens (beginning performances April 26, prior to an official opening May 3, for a run through May 21). It is co-produced with Théâtre de la Ville-Paris, and co-commissioned by Wiener Festwochen, les Nuits de Fourvière / Département du Rhône, Festival Grec 2011 – Barcelona and Festival d’Avignon.
Julian Barratt (of TV and live comedy duo "The Mighty Boosch") and Doon Mackichan ("Smack the Pony") will star in David Harrower's new version of The Government Inspector, directed by Richard Jones. It begins performances June 3, prior to an official opening June 9, for a season through July 9. It is co-produced with Warwick Arts Centre.
Priority booking for Friends of the Young Vic opens Feb. 1, with public booking from Feb. 15. To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7922 2922, or visit www.youngvic.org.