American actor Brendan Fraser (pictured) will head the cast for a major new West End outing of the Tennessee Williams' classic, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. According to the Society of London Theatre, the long-awaited production will open at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue on 18 September 2001, with previews from 5 September. Film actress Frances O'Connor is also confirmed to star, and tickets are on sale now.

Fraser stars in the film The Mummy Returns which opened earlier this year. O'Connor, who co-starred on screen with Fraser in last year’s Bedazzled, will appear in Spielberg's latest movie AI: Artificial Intelligence due out in the UK this autumn. Anthony Page will direct the Cat On a Hot Tin Roof company, which will also include Ned Beatty, Gemma Jones, Clive Carter and Abigail McKern.

Fraser's acting career began on the American stage in such dramas as Waiting for Godot and A Midsummer Night's Dream. He was also a member of Seattle's Intiman Theater, although a move to California brought success in televison roles including the drama Guilty until Proven Innocent. He is now best known as the star of films which, in addition to the above, include The Mummy, Blast from the Past, Gods and Monster, George of the Jungle and Airheads.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was first produced at Broadway's Moroso Theatre in 1955, directed by Elia Kazan. The story concerns an affluent Southerner, Big Daddy Pollitt, who is dying of cancer. As his extended family gathers at his Mississippi mansion, a number of dramatic interplays begin to surface. An Oscar-nominated film version was made in 1958, starring Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is produced in the West End by Bill Kenwright.

Mostly Sondheim, Barbara Cook’s solo revue, is currently at the Lyric Theatre and is booking until 11 August 2001.

- by Gareth Thompson