Tim Pigott-Smith (recently seen in Enron) will replace Larry Lamb opposite Laura Dos Santos in Educating Rita, while Meera Syal will reprise her role in Shirley Valentine.
The revivals, which finished at the Chocolate Factory earlier this month, coincide with the 30th anniversary of Educating Rita, the two-hander that centres on an under-privileged hairdresser who goes to University and develops a special relationship with her tutor. Originally commissioned by the RSC in 1980, it was made into film, starring Julie Walters and Michael Caine, in 1983.
Shirley Valentine (1986) covers similar thematic territory, comprising a monologue delivered by a bored middle-aged Liverpool housewife who seeks escape and adventure abroad. It also successfully made the transition to the big screen, in 1989, starring Pauline Collins in the title role.
Educating Rita is directed by Jeremy Sams, while Shirley Valentine is directed by Glen Walford, who commissioned and directed the original 1986 Liverpool Everyman production. Both have designs by Peter McKintosh, lighting by Paul Anderson and sound by David Ogilvy.
The Willy Russell Season will be presented in the West End by David Babani for Chocolate Factory Productions and Sonia Friedman Productions, Tanya Link, Bob Bartner and Bob Boyett.
Currently at Trafalgar Studios, Australian import Holding the Man, which features Kath and Kim star Jane Turner, continues to 3 July.