OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 12 May 2008, at the Royal Albert Hall for two nights only, American crooner Josh Groban and Tony and Whatsonstage.com Award winner Idina Menzel lead an all-star cast in the highly anticipated 21st anniversary concert presentation of Chess, which centres on a Cold War love triangle at a World Chess championship. Groban and Menzel are joined by Kerry Ellis, Adam Pascal, Marti Pellow, David Bedella and Clarke Peters in the revival of the musical by Tim Rice and Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson (See News, 29 Feb 2008).
ALSO TONIGHT (previews from 8 May), Harold Pinter’s modern masterpiece The Birthday Party marks its 50th anniversary at west London’s Lyric Hammersmith, where it premiered in May 1958 - and famously closed after a critical mauling and just eight performances. Artistic director David Farr directs a cast that includes Sheila Hancock and Nicholas Woodeson (See News, 3 Apr 2008). The production continues until 24 May, with a special birthday gala performance, hosted by Pinter, on 19 May.
OPENING TUESDAY, 13 May 2008 (previews from 29 April), Edward Hall’s revival of Terrence Rattigan’s 1953 drama about obsessive love, The Deep Blue Sea arrives for a limited West End season at the Vaudeville Theatre following a regional tour, starring Greta Scacchi, Simon Williams and Dugald Bruce Lockhart (See News, 27 Mar 2008).
ALSO ON TUESDAY, Cheek by Jowl’s Russian ensemble performs Alexander Pushkin’s Boris Godunov at the Barbican Theatre until 17 May 2008 only.
OPENING WEDNESDAY, 14 May 2008 (previews from 7 May), Jane Horrocks (pictured) stars in David Harrower’s new translation of Bertolt Brecht’s 1949 play The Good Soul of Szechuan (See News, 27 Dec 2007), playing good-hearted prostitute Shen Te, who is the subject of a celestial bet. Richard Jones directs the production, which continues until 21 June 2008.
ALSO ON WEDNESDAY (previews from 12 May), Philip Madoc plays the First Voice in the London Theatre Company’s staging of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood, which is at north London’s Tricycle Theatre until 24 May 2008.
ALSO ON WEDNESDAY (preview 13 May), Frantic Assembly presents the London premiere of Bryony Lavery’s Stockholm at north London’s Hampstead Theatre, where it runs until 24 May. Samuel James and Georgina Lamb play a perfect couple whose relationship starts to unravel on a trip to the Swedish capital.
OPENING THURSDAY, 15 May 2008 (previews from 7 May), following its Whatsonstage.com Award-winning run last year at the Theatre Royal Bath, the Peter Hall Company’s critically acclaimed production of George Bernard Shaw’s 1916 classic Pygmalion transfers to the Old Vic (where the company once resided) for a summer season to 2 August (See News, 2 Nov 2007). Tim Pigott-Smith and Michelle Dockery (pictured) recreate their performances as phonetics professor Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle, the cockney flower girl he transforms into a duchess.
ALSO ON THURSDAY, Linda McLean’s stage adaptation of Laura Esquivel’s best-selling Mexican novel and film Como Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate) receives its London premiere at Southwark Playhouse, where it runs until 31 May as part of a seven-week tour (See News, 16 Apr 2008). The Theatre Sans Frontieres production is directed by John Cobb and performed in Spanish.
- by Terri Paddock