15 Plays And Musicals To Book This Season

This year Mary Poppins flies over the pond, plus there are star-studded performances from Sally Field, Gwendoline Christie, Clive Owen, Anne-Marie Duff, Matthew Broderick, Kelsey Grammer and John Malkovich. Here’s SL’s pick of what to book this spring…

Home, I’m Darling

Following a sold-out run at the National Theatre, Laura Wade’s hilarious new play has transferred to the West End for 11 weeks only. How happily married are the happily married? Every couple needs a little fantasy to keep their marriage sparkling. But behind the gingham curtains, things start to unravel, and being a domestic goddess is not as easy as it seems. Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd, Humans) reprises her acclaimed role as Judy in this fizzing comedy about one woman’s quest to be the perfect 1950s housewife.

Duke of York Theatre, St Martin's Lane, Covent Garden, WC2N 4BG; until 13th April

Visit NationalTheatre.org.uk

All My Sons

Jeremy Herrin directs Sally Field and Bill Pullman in Arthur Miller’s blistering drama All My Sons. America, 1947. Despite hard choices and even harder knocks, Joe and Kate Keller are a success story. They have built a home, raised two sons and established a thriving business. But nothing lasts forever and their contented lives, already shadowed by the loss of their eldest boy to war, are about to shatter. With the return of a figure from the past, long buried truths are forced to the surface and the price of their American dream is laid bare.

The Old Vic, The Cut, Waterloo, SE1 8NB; 13th April-8th June

Visit OldVicTheatre.com

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

From the team behind last year’s smash-hit Julius Caesar, Gwendoline Christie, Oliver Chris, David Moorst and Hammed Animashaun lead the cast as Titania, Oberon, Puck and Bottom in this William Shakespeare classic. The Bridge Theatre will become the forest – a dream world of flying fairies, contagious fogs and moonlight revels. Meanwhile, the seating be wrapped around the action, while the immersive tickets allow the story to be followed on foot. We can’t wait.

Bridge Theatre, 3 Potters Fields Park, Tower Bridge, SE1 2SG; 3rd June-31st August

Visit BridgeTheatre.co.uk

Bitter Wheat

David Mamet’s newest play sees John Malkovich return to the stage after 33 years. Hollywood is a hell hole. Everything in Hollywood is for sale except the awards, which are for rent. Bitter Wheat is a play about a depraved Hollywood mogul. Our hero, Barney Fein (Malkovich), is a bloated monster – a studio head, who like his predecessor, the minotaur, devours the young he has lured into his cave. His fall from power to shame is a something to behold.

The Garrick Theatre, 2 Charing Cross Road, Covent Garden, WC2H 0HH; 7th June-14th September

Visit NimaxTheatre.com

Death of a Salesman

Following her recent award-winning success for Company and Angels in America, Marianne Elliott returns to the London stage with Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer-winning play Death of a Salesman, bringing a new vision to one of the greatest plays of the 20th century. Seen through the eyes of an African-American family, Wendell Pierce (The Wire, Suits, Selma) makes his UK stage debut as businessman Willy Loman, with Olivier Award-winning Sharon D. Clarke as Linda Loman and Arinzé Kene (Misty, Been So Long) as Willy’s failed son Biff.

Young Vic, 66 The Cut, Waterloo, SE1 8LZ; 1st May-29th June

Visit YoungVic.org

Jesus Christ Superstar

Winner of the Olivier Award for ‘Best Musical Revival’, this adrenaline-pumping production is back on the London stage. Following two sell-out seasons at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s award-winning musical returns for a limited season. Originally written as a rock opera album, Jesus Christ Superstar made its explosive debut on the Broadway stage in 1971. The show transferred to the West End the following year where it ran for eight years and went on to become one of the most enduring musicals of its time. Even today, its rock musicians, contemporary design and choreography make this energetic and emotionally charged production unforgettable.

Barbican Theatre, Silk Street, Clerkenwell, EC2Y 8DS; 4th July-24th Aug

Visit Barbican.org.uk

Man of La Mancha

The universal tale of love, hope and adventure opens for a strictly limited season this April, starring Frasier’s Kelsey Grammer, Danielle de Niese, Nicholas Lyndhurst and Cassidy Janson. Grammer will star as the musical returns to the West End. Framed as a play within a play, Man of La Mancha sees Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes performing a play based on his novel Don Quixote to a group of prisoners awaiting a hearing. Known as one of the most enduring pieces of musical theatre, the play has had four revivals in New York and contains one of theatre’s most recognisable songs, ‘The Impossible Dream’.

London Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, Covent Garden, WC2N 4ES; 26th April-8th June

Visit ENO.org

Mary Poppins

Disney and Cameron Mackintosh's multi-award-winning musical Mary Poppins will return to its original West End home at the Prince Edward Theatre from 23rd October. Adapted from the wonderful stories by PL Travers and the original film, the story of the world's favourite nanny is brought to the stage with dazzling choreography, incredible effects and unforgettable songs. The show stars Zizi Strallen, returning to play the title role following acclaim on the recent sell-out international tour, and Charlie Stemp as Bert, who recently gave an award-winning performance as Arthur Kipps in Half A Sixpence.

Prince Edward Theatre, Old Compton Street, Soho, W1D 4HS; 23rd October-29th March

Visit DelfontMacKintosh.co.uk

Noughts And Crosses

This gripping Romeo-and-Juliet story by acclaimed writer Malorie Blackman and adapted by Sabrina Mahfouz is a captivating drama of love, revolution and what it means to grow up in a divided world. Sephy and Callum sit together on a beach. They are in love. It is forbidden. Sephy is a Cross and Callum is a Nought. Between Noughts and Crosses there are racial and social divides. A segregated society teeters on a volatile knife edge. As violence breaks out, Sephy and Callum draw closer, but this is a romance that will lead them into terrible danger.

Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, Stratford, E15 1BN; 24th April-4th May

Visit StratfordEast.com

Sweet Charity

Josie Rourke returns to the work of Cy Coleman with the Broadway classic Sweet Charity. With choreography from the world-renowned Wayne McGregor, Rourke reunites with Anne-Marie Duff as Charity, and Arthur Darvill makes his Donmar debut as Oscar, for her farewell production as Donmar artistic director. New York, 1967. Charity Hope Valentine is a dance hall hostess who "runs her heart like a hotel – you've got men checking in and out all the time." At the raw end of a long line of users and losers, she meets Oscar, a mild-mannered tax accountant, and Charity Hope Valentine once again puts her faith into love.

Donmar Warehouse, 41 Earlham Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9LX; 6th April-8th June

Visit DonmarWarehouse.com

The Light in the Piazza

Starring four-time Grammy winner and Tony nominee Renée Fleming and film and television star Dove Cameron making their London stage debuts, The Light in the Piazza is directed by multiple Olivier Award winner Daniel Evans. Set in Florence during the summer of 1953, this heart-wrenching love story invites us into the world of Margaret Johnson and her daughter Clara. As they take in the wonders of the city, a fateful gust of wind whisks Clara’s hat into the hands of local dreamer Fabrizio Naccarelli. It’s love at first sight, but Clara isn’t quite what she appears – soon they must all confront a secret that’s been kept in the shadows for far too long.

Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX; 14th June-5th July

Visit SouthbankCentre.co.uk

The Night of the Iguana

Clive Owen (Closer, Children of Men) stars alongside Lia Williams (Kiri, Mary Stuart) and Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad) in Tennessee Williams’ last great play. In the strange limbo of 1940, on a dilapidated hotel veranda perched high in a rainforest above the west coast of Mexico, a group of lost souls collide: a defrocked priest turned tourist guide, the grieving widow who runs the hotel, a family of jubilant Nazis and an itinerant portrait artist with her 97-year-old poet grandfather. The result is an epic battle between flesh and spirit, captivity and freedom, art and faith, heightened by a tropical rainstorm.

Noel Coward Theatre, 85-88 St Martin's Lane, Covent Garden, WC2N 4AP; 6th July-28th September

Visit DelfontMacKintosh.co.uk

The Starry Messenger

Hollywood star Matthew Broderick makes his West End debut in The Starry Messenger by Kenneth Lonergan, the Academy Award-winning writer of Manchester By The Sea. Mark Williams (Broderick) is lost. An astronomer at NYC’s Planetarium, he feels a closer connection to the infinite, starry sky than to his job or even to his wife, Anne (Elizabeth McGovern). Mark doesn't believe in fate or divine intervention, but the universe has other ideas. After a chance meeting with Angela, a young single mother, Mark feels starry-eyed. But when a catastrophic event rips through their lives, Mark is forced to re-evaluate his life, his faith and his place in the universe itself.

Wyndham's Theatre, Charing Cross Road, Covent Garden, WC2H 0DA; 16th May-10th August

Visit DelfontMacKintosh.co.uk

Three Sisters

Following her critically acclaimed production of Summer and Smoke, Almeida associate director Rebecca Frecknall directs Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters in a new adaptation by Cordelia Lynn (One For Sorrow, Lela & Co). The cast includes Patsy Ferran (Summer and Smoke), Pearl Chanda (Ink) and Ria Zmitrowicz (Dance Nation). In a room in a house in a provincial town, three sisters wait for their lives to begin. Olga, the eldest. Masha, the middle child. Irina, the youngest. Do you ever wonder what would happen if we could live our lives all over again but be fully conscious of it the second time? This play explores exactly that.

Almeida Theatre, Almeida Street, Islington, N1 1TA; 6th April-1st June

Visit Almeida.co.uk

Top Girls

For the first time, the National Theatre stages Caryl Churchill’s wildly innovative play about a country divided by its own ambitions. Marlene is the first woman to head the Top Girls employment agency in the 1980s. But she has no plans to stop there. With Maggie in at Number 10 and a spirit of optimism consuming the country, Marlene knows that the future belongs to women like her.

National Theatre, Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PX; 26th March-21st June

Visit NationalTheatre.org.uk

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