David Suchet (pictured), Victoria Hamilton and Marcia Warren are amongst the stellar stage ensemble being assembled for the Edward Hall’s upcoming National Theatre revival of George S Kaufman and Moss Hart’s 1930s Broadway comedy Once in a Lifetime, which enters the NT Olivier repertoire on 15 December 2005 (previews from 5 December).

As the talkies hit the headlines, three New York actors abandon their clapped-out vaudeville act to make it big in Hollywood. Jerry and May have a brilliant idea: a voice school for the brainless stars of the silent movies. Their sweet pal, George, tags along for the ride. He’s dumb enough to impress the mighty Glogauer, head of Glogauer Studios, and when Jerry and May are drummed out of town, George comes up smelling of roses.

Edward Hall has previously staged A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and the Kenneth Branagh-led Edmond in the Olivier as part of the Travelex £10 Season. His many other credits include The Winter’s Tale, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Rose Rage with his all-male Shakespeare company Propeller.

Suchet, who will play studio boss Herman Glogauer, is well known to TV fans for his portrayal of Agatha Christie's Poirot. He was seen in the West End earlier this year in Man and Boy. His other major London stage credits include Amadeus (directed by Edward Hall’s father, Sir Peter), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Oleanna.

Hamilton’s many stage credits include A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, for which she won a Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Actress and was Olivier and Tony-nominated, As You Like It, Home and Beauty, Sweet Panic and last year’s Sheffield production of Suddenly Last Summer, which transferred to the West End where she was nominated for another Olivier. She plays May Daniels. Warren, who plays Mrs Walker, won a 2002 Best Supporting Actress Olivier for the NT production of Humble Boy and was most recently seen in the West End in Arsenic and Old Lace and We Happy Few.

Other cast members so far confirmed for Once in a Lifetime include Adrian Scarborough (The False Servant) as George Lewis, Caroline Sheen (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) as Susan Walker, Propeller regular Jonathan McGuinness (The UN Inspector at the NT) as Lawrence Vail , and Hall’s wife Issy Van Randwyck (Calico, Song of Singapore) as Helen Hobart. The production is designed by Mark Henderson with lighting by Hugh Vanstone and sound by Paul Groothuis.

- by Terri Paddock