Sarah Crompton: ten shows I'm looking forward to in 2017
Here's a heads up on the shows to book for in 2017
1) The Glass Menagerie
Duke of York's Theatre, from 26 January
John Tiffany's production of Tennessee Williams' play does what a revival should; it makes you see and feel the play afresh. Partly this is thanks to a definitive performance by Cherry Jones, a Broadway star making her West End debut mystifyingly late in her career. She turns Amanda Wingfield from a monster into a woman holding her family together with love.
Almeida Theatre, from 17 February
Who knows what director Robert Icke will make of Shakespeare's tragedy? The thrill of his work is that you never quite know where it will take you next. Add to that the fact that the mesmeric Andrew Scott of Moriaty fame is making his professional Shakespearean debut in the play and you have a recipe for one of the most exciting productions of the year.
3) The Hypocrite
Hull Truck Theatre from 24 February, then Swan Theatre, Stratford upon Avon, from 31 March
Richard Bean is one of our best, funniest and most rebarbative playwrights so this new play to mark the Hull City of Culture by telling the story of the worst day in the life of Sir John Hotham, governor of Hull around 1642, is one to catch. It was the day he triggered the English Civil War. Mark Addy and Caroline Quentin lead the cast - and everyone will be hoping for a success on the scale of One Man, Two Guvnors.
4) My Country; A Work in Progress
Dorfman Theatre then touring, from 28 February
Carol Ann Duffy, poet laureate, is collaborating with Rufus Norris, artistic director of the National Theatre, on the first post-Brexit state of England play – a verbatim drama based on the words of people living across the UK in the days following the EU referendum. It will hopefully be timely and pertinent; it is certainly ambitious.
Sherman Theatre Cardiff from 24 March, then Royal Court Theatre from 25 May
The team that brought us the shattering Iphigenia in Splott – playwright Gary Owen, director Rachel O'Riordan – return with a play about a controversial new gaming experience which encourages players to torture and kill their victims, yet is sold as being highly moral. It sounds fascinating.
6) Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes
Lyttelton Theatre, from 11 April
For those of us who missed it first time around, Tony Kushner's Angels in America has acquired almost mythological status. Its epic scale means it is rarely stage, so the chance to see it directed by Marianne Elliott, with a cast that includes Andrew Garfield, Denise Gough, Nathan Lane, James McArdle, and Russell Tovey is mouth-watering.
7) The Ferryman
Royal Court Theatre, from 24 April
The return of two theatrical legends – playwright Jez Butterworth famous for Jerusalem and The River, and director Sam Mendes, who has not staged a play in London since he took on the James Bond franchise in Skyfall and Spectre – makes this one of the theatrical events of the year. It is set at the time of the hunger strikes in Northern Ireland and is described by Royal Court artistic director Vicky Featherstone as "a mighty family epic."
The Old Vic, from 6 May
The presence of Star Wars' John Boyega in the cast has guaranteed maximum attention for this production directed by Joe Murphy. But the fact that Jack Thorne, on a roll after Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in the theatre and Public Enemy on TV, is adapting Georg Buchner's classic play and setting it in 1980s Berlin is an equal cause to think this is going to be a production worth seeing. If you can beg a ticket.
9) Anatomy of a Suicide
Royal Court Theatre, from 3 June
In an exceptionally strong season at the Royal Court, this new work by Alice Birch about three generations of women looks intriguing. That's partly because it is directed by Katie Mitchell who is currently engaged only in working on pieces that have something to say about women and their place in the world.
Olivier Theatre, from July
Stephen Sondheim's most evocative and beautiful musical, full of lost hopes and vanished dreams, gets a Rolls Royce National Theatre staging by Dominic Cooke with a cast that includes Imelda Staunton, Janie Dee and Philip Quast. Likely to be heaven.