What’s to look forward to in theatre in 2013?
It’s only early January but the calendar for many West End theatres already seems to be full, not only with actual productions that are certain to go ahead but also with plenty of rumours.
Seeing as the Wyndham’s Theatre seemed to be quiet at the end of last year, I shall start by plugging their full year. The Christmas filler Dreamboats and Petticoats closes on 19th January, before previews commence for the revival production of Simon Gray’s Quartermaine’s Terms on 23rd January for a limited 12-week run. It is directed by Richard Eyre and produced by Michael Codron along with the Theatre Royals in Bath and Brighton and will mark Rowan Atkinson’s return to the West End since playing Fagin in 2009. Following that, there will be a limited run of Doktor Glas which will star Swedish actor Krister Henriksson and have English surtitles, prior to welcoming Lindsay Posner’s production of Alan Aykbourn’s Relatively Speaking with Felicity Kendal, Jonathan Coy and Kara Tointon for the summer. Seeing out the year will be what has been billed as a new and diabolically funny comedy by Clive Exton, Barking in Essex, which will star Lee Evans and Sheila Hancock.
2013 will also see Helen Mirren return to her role of Elizabeth II in The Audience at the Gielgud next month as well as seeing Kristen Scott Thomas return to the Harold Pinter Theatre in another Harold Pinter play, Old Times. Similar to Betrayal, Old Times is another memory play and three-hander. Interestingly, Scott Thomas and Lia Williams will alternate roles and at some performances, the toss of a coin will decide who plays which role with Rufus Sewell only finding out who is in which role only when they are on stage.
The Duke of York’s will shortly be home to the Hampstead Theatre’s production of The Judas Kiss with Rupert Everett reprising his role as Oscar Wilde and then house the West End revival of Passion Play, starring Zoe Wanamaker. Furthermore, Michael Grandage continues his season with John Logan’s new play Peter and Alice starring Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw.
The National Theatre continue their success with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time transferring to the Apollo in March as well as a possible West End transfer of the Alan Bennett shorts Hymn and Cocktail Sticks. If this does happen, I imagine it will go into the Duchess Theatre. The NT also celebrates its 50th anniversary this summer and there are rumours that a revival of Gypsy starring Imelda Staunton could be on the cards.
There are rumours of the Royal Court’s production of Jez Butterworth’s The River transferring to the West End as well as Chichester’s production of Private Lives. Outside of the West End, the Rose Theatre, Kingston-Upon-Thames is putting on Coward’s The Vortex starring James Dreyfus and there’s an exciting season at the Old Vic in which to look forward. Along with the highly publicised Mark Rylance production of Much Ado About Nothing with Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones towards the end of the year, there is also Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth with Kim Cattrall and Terrence Rattigan’s The Winslow Boy (will this star Kevin Spacey?) as well as a touring production of the highly acclaimed Noises Off.
Other highlights include the Donmar Warehouse’s revival of Conor McPherson’s intimate play The Weir and Lindsay Posner is back with the stage adaption of The Turn of the Screw at the Almeida. No doubt I have missed things out, but these are just a few.
Moving on to musicals, Shrek the Musical will soon make way for Sam Mendes’ Charlie and the Chocolate Factory starring Douglas Hodge at Drury Lane and Broadway biggies, The Book of Mormon and Once will also start their West End runs – both of which have no doubt done well in advanced sales.
2013 will also be the year where we find out how successful Viva Forever will be – despite the bad reviews I can imagine it seeing out its run until July but am weary as to whether it will extend or not. It will also be interesting to see if other musicals which didn’t receive brilliant reviews such as Let It Be (soon to be transferring to the Savoy) and The Bodyguard (at the Adelphi) will end or extend their runs this year. What with Rock of Ages transferring to the smaller Garrick Theatre later this month and rumours of Billy Elliott the Musical being on its way out at the Vitoria Palace, there could be many new shows coming into Theatreland.
Could it be that the Crucible’s My Fair Lady will transfer and if it does, will Dominic West still be able to do The River? I wouldn’t be surprised if the Menier Chocolate Factory’s production of Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along gets a commercial life and the same goes with Gypsy if that does go ahead. There are also reports of Damian Lewis being interested in Me and My Girl and it looks as if Chichester could well be reviving Barnum. Fittingly, this could be produced in their temporary ‘tent-like’ auditorium whilst their theatre gets refurbished. Seeing as I forgot to mention this in my last post, I will also say how their production of Goodnight Mister Tom will leave the Phoenix on 26th January.
Regionally, Curve is producing the first production of Piaf since the playwright Pam Gems’ death as well as housing the 25th anniversary production of Hot Stuff and they will most likely announce their Christmas show soon as well. Con O’Neill returns to a Willy Russell piece of work with One for the Road at the Royal and Derngate in Northampton next month and I’m sure there will also be exciting seasons from The Crucible and Chichester.
There will be touring productions of Blood Brothers (with Maureen Nolan and Marti Pellow), Ghost, The Lion King, Wicked, War Horse, Hairspray (with Mark Bennett), The Woman in Black, The Mousetrap, The Pitmen Painters, Evita and many more.
What are you looking forward to in 2013? You can now follow us on Twitter @nobillington