What’s Hot in London: Feb. 11–17

London News   What’s Hot in London: Feb. 11–17
Sunset Boulevard will tour the U.K.; and The Ferryman and Young Frankenstein are both West End bound.
What’s Hot in London
What’s Hot in London

Sunset Boulevard announces a New U.K Tour
Dates have been announced for the new U.K. tour of Sunset Boulevard, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical that opened on Broadway February 9 starring Glenn Close reprising her Tony-winning performance as Norma Desmond. The show, directed by Lonny Price, arrives on Broadway following an acclaimed 2016 West End production. Nikolai Foster directs the new touring production, which will star Ria Jones, the understudy who stepped in for Close when she fell ill during the London revival. The new U.K production will launch at Curve in Leicester from September 16, then visit Edinburgh (from October 3) and continue on to cities across Britain and Ireland.

Jez Butterworth
Jez Butterworth Joseph Marzullo/WENN

New Jez Butterworth play lines up West End transfer
The Ferryman, the latest play by Jez Butterworth that is set to bow at the Royal Court theatre April 24, has already lined up its West End transfer. The entire Royal Court run sold out in a single day, making it the fastest-selling show in the theatre’s history. Co-producer Sonia Friedman, who developed the play, commented: “It became clear to us even then that there was a far larger demand to see the play than the Court run could ever accommodate. We have therefore worked at speed to find the production another home as quickly as possible.“ Butterworth’s previous plays Jersualem and The River were both seen on Broadway; The Ferryman will begin performances on the West End at the Gielgud Theatre June 20.

Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein also lines up West End date
A new, revised staging of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein has also announced a West End transfer. The production will play an out-of-town try-out at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal from August 26, helmed by original Broadway director Susan Stroman. It will then move to the Garrick Theatre from September 28. Brooks is set to be awarded this year’s BAFTA Fellowship, the highest honor that the Academy bestows, in recognition “an outstanding and exceptional contribution” to film. In a statement, Brooks commented: “I am not overwhelmed, but I am definitely whelmed by this singular honor.” He added that he felt that “BAFTA has made a strangely surprising yet ultimately wise decision.”

Production, personnel and casting news
Ahead of announcing the details of their summer season on February 16, which will be reported by Playbill.com in full, the Chichester Festival Theatre has confirmed news of a revival of Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s 2004 Broadway musical Caroline, or Change in the Minerva theatre in May. Sharon D Clarke, soon to star in the London premiere of The Life at Southwark Playhouse and an Olivier Award winner for The Amen Corner at the National in 2014, will star.

Benji Sperring, who last year directed the London premiere of Toxic Avenger, is to direct a London revival of Frank Loesser’s How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying at Wilton’s Music Hall from April 8-22. Sperring has also been newly hired as associate director at north London’s King’s Head Theatre, where he will direct one show a year as part of the venue’s drive to produce new work. He has commented: “Musical theatre in the capital is stronger than ever, and there is much hunger out there for new work as well as fresh spins on established classics. Whether it is The King and I on LSD, a new musical about religion, repentance and hardcore pornography, or even the next Hamilton, I am confident the King’s Head will be breaking new ground in all sorts of ways. I can’t wait to play.”

Veteran West End playwright Ray Cooney will have his 70th anniversary in show business marked with an updated version of his 1990 West End parliamentary comedy Out of Order, that Cooney will direct himself at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnold Theatre from March 8 before it heads on tour. He has said: “Having directed my Olivier Award-winning play in London and all over the world, and hearing all that wonderful raucous laughter from audiences, it has become one of my favorite plays. I’ve updated it to present day and, fortunately, the basic premise of a philandering politician is as likely today as it was when the play was originally written.”

The central London fringe Jermyn Street Theatre—a 70-seat space located a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus station—will see Tom Littler replace Anthony Biggs as artistic director. Littler, who is currently associate director there, has dubbed the venue an “art-house jewel in the West End’s crown” and said he was inheriting a “thriving, much-loved venue.”

Also departing soon: Kerry Michael, who has been at the helm of Theatre Royal Stratford East for the last 12 years, has announced that he stepping down at the end of 2017.

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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