Amongst the major shows opening in London this week are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 29 November 2004 (previews from 19 November), Grand Hotel is revived at the Donmar Warehouse, featuring Julian Ovenden, Daniel Evans, Helen Baker and Hollywood Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. In 1928 Berlin, the guests and staff at Grand Hotel are suffering from an excess of hope and optimism as the stock market booms.

Grand Hotel is based on the Vicki Baum novel, which the musical's book writer Luther Davis found in a second-hand bookshop. Music and lyrics are by Robert Wright and George Forrest (Kismet), with additional material by Maury Yeston. The musical was revived to great acclaim on Broadway in 1989 and subsequently opened at the West End's Dominion Theatre in 1992.

This new production of Grand Hotel is directed by Donmar artistic director Michael Grandage. It continues its limited season until 12 February 2005.

ALSO TONIGHT, Joe Hill-Gibbins directs Robert Evans new play, A Girl in a Car With a Man at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, as part of the Young Playwrights’ Season.

OPENING TUESDAY, 30 November 2004 (previews from 25 November), Nilo Cruz’s Pulitzer Prize winner Anna in the Tropics, receives its British premiere at north London’s Hampstead Theatre, where it continues until 8 January 2005.

Set in 1929 Tampa, Florida, a handsome new 'lector' causes a stir when he arrives at a family-run cigar factory to read Anna Karenina to the workers. In the heat of the crowded factory floor, Tolstoy's words of 19th-century Russian romanticism inflame desires, inspire jealousies and force the family to look to its future. Indhu Rubasingham directs a cast that includes Diana Quick, Rachael Stirling, Peter Polycarpou and Enzo Cilenti.

OPENING WEDNESDAY, 1 December 2004 (previews from 19 November), is By the Bog of Cats at the West End’s Wyndham's Theatre, which sees the second of the week’s Hollywood heavy hitters making her London stage debut. Holly Hunter (The Piano, Raising Arizona, Broadcast News and currently the voice of Mrs Incredible in The Incredibles) stars as Irish ‘tinker’ Hester Swane, who fights for her right to remain on the land she loves, in an often brutal play by Marina Carr.

This new production, directed by Royal Shakespeare Company associate director Dominic Cooke, also features, Sorcha Cusack, Brid Brennan, Barbara Brennan and Trevor Cooper.

OPENING THURSDAY, 2 December 2004 (previews from 26 November), at west London’s Lyric Hammersmith is The Firework-Maker's Daughter, an adaptation of a story by His Dark Materials author Philip Pullman. The production, presented by arrangement with Matthew Byam Shaw, continues until 22 January 2005 ahead of a regional tour.

- by Daniel Routledge