Frances Conroy (pictured), best known as Ruth Fisher in Six Feet Under, has joined the starry, rotating cast of former death-row murderers in The Exonerated at Hammersmith’s Riverside Studios.

Conroy’s other credits include Law and Order, Cosby, Queen and Murder in a Small Town on television, as well as films The Aviator and Scent of a Woman. Her stage appearances include Our Town, The Lady From Dubuque and Three Tall Women. She received an OBIE Award for Arthur Miller's The Last Yankee and a Tony Award nomination for the playwright's The Ride Down Mount Morgan. She has received four Drama Desk Award nominations, and garnered the award for David Hare's The Secret Rapture. Conroy will appear in The Exonerated from 16 to 21 May 2006. The production continues its London season until 11 June 2006.

** DON’T MISS our Whatsonstage.com Outing to The Exonerated, during Conroy’s stint – top ticket, FREE drink & discounted playtext for only £20 – on Wednesday 17 May 2006 only - click here for more details! **


At the Royal Court, Olivier Award winner Andrew Scott (A Girl in a Car with a Man at the Court, Aristocrats at the National) and Sian Brooke (Harvest at the Court, Absolutely perhaps} in the West End) star in the world premiere of Christopher Shinn’s {Dying City, directed by James MacDonald and running in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs from 17 May (previews from 12 May) to 10 June 2006 (See News, 11 Oct 2005).

Shinn’s previous work for the Royal Court includes Four, Other People and Where We Do Live. In Dying City, a man goes to war, leaving his wife and brother behind. A year later, only the wife and the brother remain. The play shows the effects global events have on individual lives.


At the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park, casting has now been announced for its summer repertory schedule, running from 29 May to 10 September 2006 (See News, 23 Jan 2006). The company for the first two Shakespeare productions - The Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer Night's Dream - will feature Sirine Saba, John Hodginkson, Tim Kightley, Gerard Carey, Steven Pacey, Summer Strallen, Dominic Marsh, Michael Medwin and Sheridan Smith.

For the venue’s annual musical, The Boyfriend, running from 18 July to 9 September 2006, Rachel Jerram will star as Polly Browne, the millionaire's daughter who falls in love with delivery boy Tony while attending Mme Dubonnet’s finishing school on the French Riviera in 1926. The cast will also feature Joshua Dallas as Tony, Anna Nicholas as Mme Dubonnet, Summer Strallen as Maisie and the Open Air’s artistic director Ian Talbot, who also helms this production, as Lord Brockhurst.


At the Donmar Warehouse, further casting has been confirmed for A Voyage Round My Father (See News, 6 Dec 2005). Derek Jacobi, Natasha Little, Joanna David and Dominic Rowan will be joined in the cast of John Mortimer’s autobiographical play by Christopher Benjamin, Lily Bevan, Neil Boorman, Osmund Bullock, Jamie De Courcey, Sadie Shimmin and Katie Warren. The play, about the relationship between a man and his blind barrister father - who refuses his disability to be acknowledged, is directed by Gate artistic director Thea Sharrock and has a limited season from 13 June (previews from 8 June) to 5 August 2006.


Finally, in the West End, New Zealander Martin Henderson (The Ring, Bride and Prejudice, Little Fish on screen), Larry Lamb (The Price, Art) and Joe Duttine (My Night with Reg, Little Malcolm and His Struggle against the Eunuchs) join Hollywood actress and rocker Juliette Lewis when she makes her stage acting debut next month in Lindsay Posner’s revival of Sam Shepard’s 1980 play Fool for Love at the Apollo Theatre (See News, 18 Apr 2006).

The 90-minute piece recounts a painful love story. In a seedy motel room in southern California, May (Lewis) and Eddie (Henderson) go back beyond their adult lives, back to the legacy of their parents and their parents before. As they challenge each other's versions of events, what emerges through broken images and scraps of remembered colours is a childhood which defines the rest of their lives. Fool for Love opens on 15 June 2006 (previews from 7 June).

- by Caroline Ansdell & Terri Paddock