Focusing on themes of justice, power and gender, this new play from Lucy Kirkwood stars Maxine Peak, Cecilia Noble and Ria Zmitrowicz. In 18th-century rural Suffolk, a woman is sentenced to hang for a heinous murder. When she claims to be pregnant, a jury of 12 matrons are tasked with deciding whether she’s telling the truth. With only one midwife prepared to defend the woman, and a mob baying for blood outside, a great responsibility rests on their shoulders.
National Theatre, South Bank, SE1 9PX; until 23th May
Tom Stoppard’s new play Leopoldstadt arrives in the West End at the end of the month. At the beginning of the 20th century, Leopoldstadt was the old, crowded Jewish quarter of Vienna. But Hermann Merz, a manufacturer and baptised Jew married to Catholic Gretl, has moved up in the world. It is Hermann’s extended family who are at the centre of this drama, as Austria passes through the convulsions of war, revolution, impoverishment, annexation by Nazi Germany and – for Austrian Jews – the Holocaust in which 65,000 of them were murdered. It is for the survivors to pass on a story which hasn’t ended yet.
Wyndham's Theatre, Charing Cross, WC2H 0DA; 25th January-13th June
Samuel Beckett’s macabre comedy has been brought back to life. Starring Daniel Radcliffe and Alan Cumming, Endgame is one of Beckett’s finest, and most absurd, plays. Cumming plays Hamm, who is trapped at home with his servant Clov (Radcliffe). Hamm is blind and cannot stand, whereas Clov cannot sit down. Expect standout, transfixing dialogue that will leave you with an unsettling sense of strangeness. The play is presented in a double bill with Beckett’s short play Rough for Theatre II, which sees two men discuss the fate of another man in the room, who never speaks.
The Old Vic, Waterloo, SE1 8NB; from 27th January
The Prince of Egypt
The Prince of Egypt is a new musical from three-time Academy Award-winner Stephen Schwartz, the man behind Wicked. Journey through the wonders of Ancient Egypt as two young men, raised together as brothers in a kingdom of privilege, find themselves suddenly divided by a secret past. One must rule as Pharaoh, the other must rise up and free his true people; both face a destiny that will change history forever. Based on the acclaimed animated film, The Prince of Egypt is set to be a powerful and joyous celebration of belief and the human spirit.
Dominion Theatre, Bloomsbury, W1T 7AQ; 5th February-12th September
Pretty Woman: The Musical
One of Hollywood’s most-loved stories arrives in the West End next month. Pretty Woman: The Musical features direction and choreography by two-time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde, Hairspray) and an original score by Grammy winner Bryan Adams. The play focuses on Vivian and Edward, unlikely soulmates who overcome all odds to find each other, and themselves.
Piccadilly Theatre, Soho, W1D 7DY; 14th February-2nd January
Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) makes her West End debut as Nina in Anya Reiss’ modernisation of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, with direction by Jamie Lloyd. A young woman is desperate for fame and a way out. A young man is pining after the woman of his dreams. A successful writer longs for a sense of achievement. An actress wants to fight the changing of the times. In an isolated home in the countryside where dreams are in tatters, hopes dashed, hearts are broken and there is nowhere left to turn, the only option is to turn on each other.
Playhouse Theatre, Charing Cross, WC2N 5DE; 11th March-30th May
Sunday in the Park with George
Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal and Tony Award winner Annaleigh Ashford are set to star in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece Sunday in the Park with George. The show follows painter Georges Seurat (Gyllenhaal) in the months leading up to the completion of his most famous painting, ‘A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’. Consumed by his need to ‘finish the hat’, Seurat alienates the French bourgeoisie, spurns his fellow artists, and neglects his lover Dot (Ashford), not realising that his actions will reverberate over the next 100 years.
Savoy Theatre, Strand, WC2R 0ET; 11th May-5th September
To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee’s enduring story of racial injustice and childhood innocence has sold more than 45m copies worldwide, and 2020 marks the 60th anniversary of its publication. Set in Alabama in 1934, To Kill a Mockingbird centres on one of the most venerated characters in American literature, the small-town lawyer Atticus Finch (played by Rhys Ifans). Directed by The West Wing’s Aaron Sorkin, the play narrows in on Atticus’s daughter Scout, her brother Jem, their housekeeper and caretaker Calpurnia, their visiting friend Dill, a mysterious neighbour – the reclusive Arthur “Boo” Radley – and the other indelible residents of Maycomb, Alabama.
Gielgud Theatre, Soho, W1D 6AR; 21st May-5th September
The Glass Menagerie
Stage and screen star Isabelle Huppert plays Amanda in Tennessee Williams’s masterpiece about loneliness, lost dreams and illusions. Well-bred but having fallen on hard times, Amanda is locked in a life she never imagined with her two adult children. Aspiring poet Tom works in a factory as the main provider, slipping away to the movies whenever he can to escape his mother’s oppressive nostalgia. Laura, a fragile, self-conscious soul never leaves home, contenting herself with a collection of tiny glass animals. Until, one night, the arrival of a ‘gentleman caller’ holds the promise of so much more.
Barbican, Clerkenwell, EC2Y 8DS; 5th-11th June
This spring, Old Vic will present Amy Herzog’s Pulitzer Prize for Drama-nominated 4,000 Miles. Directed by Matthew Warchus, the much-anticipated play will star Eileen Atkins and Timothée Chalamet in the lead roles. The tale focuses on 21-year-old Leo, who sets out from the West Coast to cycle across America with his best friend. After weeks of radio silence, no one is more surprised than his 91-year-old grandmother Vera when Leo turns up on her Manhattan doorstep in the middle of the night. His life just starting, hers nearly ending, and in a faded Greenwich Village apartment their griefs collide.
Old Vic, Waterloo, SE1 8NB; 6th April-23rd May
A Doll’s House
Continuing Jamie Lloyd’s season at the Playhouse Theatre, The Help and Zero Dark Thirty’s Jessica Chastain will star in Frank McGuinness’s version of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. The play, which caused uproar on its publication in 1879, follows a woman as she struggles through the misogynistic world around her. Chastain’s arrival at the Playhouse will mark her West End debut. Expect a fresh interpretation of this strikingly relevant classic.
Playhouse Theatre, Charing Cross, WC2N 5DE; 10th June-5th September
Life of Pi
After a cargo ship sinks in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, there are five survivors stranded on a lifeboat: a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, a Royal Bengal tiger and a 16-year-old boy named Pi. Time is against them and nature is harsh: who will survive? Based on the Man Booker Prize-winning book, this new play features incredible puppetry and state-of-the-art visuals. The ultimate story of endurance and hope.
Wyndham's Theatre, Charing Cross, W1D 6LA; 22nd June-4th October
The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage
Seventeen years after his ground-breaking production of His Dark Materials at the National Theatre, Nicholas Hytner returns to Phillip Pullman’s parallel universe to direct a gripping adaptation by Bryony Lavery. Pullman’s The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage takes place 12 years before the Dark Materials trilogy. Two young people and their dæmons, with everything at stake, find themselves at the centre of a terrifying manhunt. In their care is a tiny child called Lyra Belacqua, and in that child lies the fate of the future. As the waters rise around them, powerful adversaries conspire for mastery of Dust: salvation to some, the source of infinite corruption to others.
Bridge Theatre, Tower Bridge, SE1 2SG; 11th July-10th October
Sister Act The Musical
Academy Award-winning actress Whoopi Goldberg is back as Deloris Van Cartier, with Bafta award-winner Jennifer Saunders in the role of Mother Superior, as Sister Act The Musical comes to London for 39 performances this summer. This tribute to the universal power of friendship, sisterhood and music tells the story of the disco diva whose life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses a murder. Under protective custody, she is hidden in the one place she won’t be found – a convent. Disguised as a nun and under the suspicious watch of Mother Superior, Deloris helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers her own.
Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, W6 9QH; 29th July- 30th August
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