Ten West End productions coming in 2017
2016 has not been a stellar year for the West End, but nevertheless there were many delights. 2017 already promises a sea of riches, and a very diverse and plentiful sea at that. It is actually hard to pick a list of ten productions because there are so many planned which offer theatrical challenge and excitement, but these are the ones which seem most likely to deliver rewards. Another personal list, in alphabetical order.
An American In Paris
Directly following celebrated engagements in New York and Paris, this critically acclaimed and multi Tony Award-winning Broadway musical of love and hope lights up the West End from Saturday 4 March at the Dominion Theatre. Featuring its original, award-winning Broadway stars, and an exceptional company of 50 actors, dancers and musicians, An American In Paris tells the story of a young American soldier striving to make it as a painter in the aftermath of war. Staged by some of the most celebrated theatre-makers in the world (including director and choreographer Christoher Wheeldon and designer Bob Crowley, together with the writer Craig Lucas), this breathtakingly beautiful production was called “a dazzling, transporting musical that turns Paris into a kaleidoscope of romance” by the New York Times.
Don Juan in Soho
David Tennant returns to the West End. Reason enough to book a ticket, but, combined with the sharp writing of Patrick Marber, irresistible.
Loosely based on Molière’s tragicomedy Don Juan, this modern update transports the action to contemporary London and follows the final adventures of its debauched protagonist – a cruel seducer who lives only for pleasure.
Marking ten years since its acclaimed run at the Donmar Warehouse, David Tennant leads an electrifying cast, including Adrian Scarborough and Gawn Grainger, at Wyndham’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.
Andrew Scott will make his Almeida debut in the title role and Juliet Stevenson returns to the Almeida to play Gertrude in a production directed by Almeida Associate Director Robert Icke (1984; Mr Burns; Uncle Vanya; Oresteia; Mary Stuart) opening in February 2017.
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead
Half a century after its premiere on The Old Vic stage, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, the play that made a young Tom Stoppard’s name overnight, returns to The Old Vic in its 50th anniversary celebratory production.
Against the backdrop of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, this mind-bending situation comedy sees two hapless minor characters, Rosencrantz (Daniel Radcliffe) and Guildenstern (Joshua McGuire), take centre stage. Increasingly out of their depth, the young double act stumble their way in and out of the action of this iconic drama. In a literary hall of mirrors, Stoppard’s brilliantly funny, existential labyrinth sees us witness the ultimate identity crisis.
The Glass Menagerie
Tennessee Williams’ classic play The Glass Menagerie returns to London for a limited season in 2017.
Directed by John Tiffany, it features movement by Steven Hoggett, design by Bob Crowley, lighting by Natasha Katz. sound design by Paul Arditti and original music by composer Nico Muhly.
This production The Glass Menagerie opened on Broadway in September 2013 at the Booth Theatre, was nominated for seven 2014 Tony Award nominations, including Best Revival of a Play and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for Cherry Jones.
The Girls is the true story of the Yorkshire Calendar Girls a group of ordinary ladies who achieved something extraordinary.
This new musical comedy has brought together the writing talents of Gary Barlow and Tim Firth who grew up in the same village in the North of England and have been friends for 25 years.
The Girls originally opened at The Grand Theatre in Leeds.
The Kite Runner
Based on Khaled Hosseini’s international best-selling novel, this powerful story has been adapted into a stunning new stage production. A haunting tale of friendship which spans cultures and continents, it follows one man’s journey to confront his past and find redemption.
Afghanistan is a divided country on the verge of war and two childhood friends are about to be torn apart. It’s a beautiful afternoon in Kabul and the skies are full of the excitement and joy of a kite flying tournament. But neither Hassan nor Amir can foresee the terrible incident which will shatter their lives forever.
Having mesmerized audiences across the country, this unforgettable production will be flying high at Wyndham’s Theatre for a strictly limited season until 11th March 2017.
The Wind In The Willows
Kenneth Grahame’s wild tale about the thrill-seeking, lovable menace Mr Toad comes to life in a brand new stage musical with a book by Oscar-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and Olivier Award-winning composer and lyricist George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.
This riotous comedy follows the impulsive Mr Toad whose insatiable need for speed lands him in serious trouble. With his beloved home under threat from the notorious Chief Weasel and his gang of sinister Wild Wooders, Toad must attempt a daring escape leading to a series of misadventures and a heroic battle to recapture Toad Hall.
Featuring eye-poppingly beautiful design, exuberant choreography and a gloriously British score, The Wind in the Willows brings an explosion of anarchy, humour and heart to the world-famous London Palladium.
Following a sell-out run at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Patrick Marber’s revival of Tom Stoppard’s award-winning play Travesties transfers to the West End. Starring Tom Hollander as Henry Carr, the war-time comedy received rave reviews from audiences and critics alike.
Set primarily in Zürich, Switzerland, Travesties follows English diplomat Henry Carr during the First World War. Living in the city, Henry surrounds himself with beloved characters, including communist revolutionary Lenin, Tristan Tzara and Irish writer James Joyce – as well as Gwendolen and Cecily from Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Henry knows he was Algernon in a production of the play, but as this dazzling comedy reaches a mind-boggling climax, you begin to wonder just what he truly remembers – or misremembers.
Travesties opens at the Apollo Theatre, beginning performances in February 2017.
Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf
Edward Albee’s play examines the breakdown of the marriage of a middle-aged couple living in American academia, George, an associate history professor and Martha, the daughter of the college president. Late one evening following a university faculty party, they invite a younger couple Nick and Honey to be their guests. They’re unwittingly draw into George and Martha’s bitter and explosive relationship and watch on as the pair spat and fire verbal abuse at each other throughout the evening. It’s a profound and explosive example of theatre of the absurd mixed with powerful realism.
Triple Olivier Award-winning actress Imelda Staunton stars in the role of Martha, alongside Olivier Award-winner and Tony nominee Conleth Hill as George.
Directed by James Macdonald, it will run at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London’s West End from 22 February 2017.