Diana Rigg stars in All About My Mother
Autumn in theatreland
Our critic Mark Shenton looks forward to a rich theatrical season...
You want stars? Look no further than...
... Christian Slater, Ewan McGregor, Diana Rigg, Stockard Channing, Patrick Stewart, Charles Dance, Jonathan Pryce, Zoe Wanamaker and Mel Smith and Michael Ball - the latter two as husband and wife!
These are just some of the international and homegrown stars who will be appearing on London stages between now and Christmas.
For those in search of a musical fix, there are a few of them - including adaptations from the screen both big (Desperately Seeking Susan, opening at the Novello on 15 November) and small (Bad Girls - the Musical, opening at the Garrick on 12 September).
TV's Bad Girls gets the stage treatment
There are British premieres of two Broadway shows, Jason Robert Brown's Parade (opening at the Donmar Warehouse on 24 September) and Hairspray (based on the John Waters film which has itself been turned into a movie musical, and opening at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 30 October).
There's also the return of another Broadway modern classic, Rent (opening at the Duke of York's on 16 October), apparently "remixed" for a new generation.
Hairspray will star the aforementioned Michael Ball and Mel Smith, while Rent has Siobhan Donaghy, a founder member of Sugababes, and Leon Lopez, from Brookside and Hollyoaks.
It's plays that will dominate this autumn, kicking off with Dame Diana Rigg, Lesley Manville, Eleanor Bron and the League of Gentlemen's Mark Gatiss in the stage premiere of Pedro Almodovar's All About My Mother (opening at the Old Vic on 4 September).
Stockard Channing in rehearsals
Stockard Channing returns to the London stage where she last appeared in The Exonerated at Riverside Studios to lead the cast of Clifford Odets' 1930s family drama Awake and Sing! (opening at the Almeida on 6 September).
Christian Slater is another returning American actor, previously seen here in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and now set to star in a new stage version of the cult film about the machinations of the movie industry, Swimming with Sharks (opening at the Garrick on 16 October), amongst a cast that also includes Cold Feet's Helen Baxendale.
Ewan McGregor, last seen in the Donmar's West End production of Guys and Dolls, returns to the Donmar itself this time to play Iago in a new production of Othello, directed by Michael Grandage and featuring Chiwetel Ejiofor in the title role (opening 4 December).
Ewan McGregor will appear as Iago
There's more Shakespeare elsewhere. Patrick Stewart, who long before his Star Trek days had a 16-year stint with the RSC, has been returning to his Shakespearean roots and is now heading back to the West End in the title role of Macbeth (opening at the Gielgud on 26 September).
And at the National, Nick Hytner will direct Zoe Wanamaker and Simon Russell Beale as Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing (opening in the Lyttelton Theatre on 18 December).
Modern-day classics include Alex Jennings playing actor Garry Essendine in Noel Coward's Present Laughter, being revived at the National's Lyttleton (opening on 2 October) and Charles Dance starring as CS Lewis in a revival of Shadowlands (opening at Wyndham's Theatre on 8 October).
Charles Dance revives Shadowlands
Jonathan Pryce and Aiden Gillen will lead the cast of the return of Mamet's Glengarry Glenn Ross (opening at the Apollo Theatre on 10 October).
The Royal Court, meanwhile, is to offer new productions of Ionesco's Rhinoceros (from 21 September) in rep with Max Frisch's The Arsonists (from 1 November), while the Almeida also has Caryl Churchill's Cloud Nine being revived with a cast that includes James Fleet (opening 31 October).
We head towards Christmas and theatre for children and young adults.
The National gets in early with War Horse, based on the novel by Children's Laureate Michael Morpurgo and featuring life-sized puppets (opening in the Olivier on 17 October).
The Barbican offers its second annual panto with Jonathan Harvey scripting a version of Jack and the Beanstalk (opening on 6 December) and the Old Vic this year has Stephen Fry writing Cinderella (opening on 9 December).
last updated: 06/09/07