American Oscar nominee Michael Lerner (pictured) will join pop superstar Madonna when she makes her West End debut next month in the UK premiere of David Williamson's Up for Grabs. The comedy has a strictly limited ten-week season from 9 May to 13 July 2002 at Wyndham's Theatre, with a - no doubt, star-studded - opening night of 23 May. Also in the seven-strong cast are Megan Dodds, Sian Thomas, Debora Weston, Tom Irwin and Danny Pino.

Lerner, who actually began his acting career while on a Fulbright scholarship in London, is perhaps best known from the Coen Brothers' film Barton Fink, for which he earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Amongst more than 40 feature films, his other recent credits include The Mummy, My Favorite Martian, Radioland Murders and The Road to Welville. His stage credits include the Los Angeles production of Hurlyburly, opposite Sean Penn and Danny Aiello.

Amongst the other ladies in the cast, Dodds is a familiar television face in the UK from Love in a Cold Climate and Sword of Honour and has previously starred in the West End in the premiere of Ben Elton's Popcorn. British actress Thomas' many West End credits include Feelgood, House and Garden, Sleep With Me, A Delicate Balance and King Lear, while Weston has recently been seen in The Seven Year Itch, Stop Kiss and Popcorn as well as the films Possession and Patriot Games.

American Tom Irwin has performed in and directed numerous productions for Chicago's renowned Steppenwolf Theatre, while his Broadway credits include My Thing of Love. Danny Pino has previously appeared on American television in shows including Baseball Wives.

Up for Grabs, in which Madonna plays an art dealer pitting her various customers against one another in a bidding war over a Jackson Pollock painting, is directed by Laurence Boswell and produced in the West End by Sonia Friedman and Theatre Royal Bath Productions.

The limited season apparently sold out within days of its announcement at the end of February, with demand intensified following the cancellation last month of all matinee performances due to Madonna's recording commitments. Tickets are now reportedly changing hands for £150 or more.

- Terri Paddock