WhatsOnStage Logo

Top 5 theatre openings: 1 - 7 May

From ''Angels in America'' to ''The Ferryman'' there are some very big shows opening this week

WhatsOnStage logo

Frances Barber and Miriam Margolyes
© Mark Douet

5. Madame Rubinstein

Park Theatre, 3 to 27 May

There's not one, but two excellent reasons to head down to this world premiere about the life of cosmetics entrepreneur Helena Rubinstein: Frances Barber and Miriam Margolyes. Expect some delightful turns from two national treasures at the heart of John Misto's play, which is directed by Park boss Jez Bond.

Lenny Henry in rehearsals for The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui
© Jack Sain

4. The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

Donmar Warehouse, 2 May to 17 June

Lenny Henry stars in Brecht's chilling allegory on Nazi Germany where he has Hitler and his allies appear as Al Capone-esque gangsters in '30s Chicago. Simon Evans' production transforms the Donmar Warehouse into a speakeasy bar, complete with cabaret tables. Henry stars as the titular big baddie Arturo Ui.

Catherine McCormack as Mrs Robinson and Jack Monaghan as Benjamin
© Manuel Harlan

3. The Graduate

West Yorkshire Playhouse, 3 to 27 May

Superb director Lucy Bailey turns her hand to this new adaptation of the classic novel, which was made into a famous film in 1967 starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft. Here Catherine McCormick takes on the role of Mrs Robinson, while Jack Monaghan will play Benjamin, the young student who starts a relationship with his mother's friend.

2. The Ferryman

Royal Court, 24 April to 20 May

Angels in America (see below) and this make two monumental theatre openings in one week and we just can't decide which one we're most excited about. The Ferryman is Jez Butterworth's new play, directed by Sam Mendes, which features Paddy Considine's first professional stage role. Set in rural Derry in 1981, the piece follows a farmhouse preparing for the annual harvest. There's a vast cast flooding the Royal Court stage and early buzz has been very promising. Will it top Butterworth's biggest Court smash-hit Jerusalem? There's only one way of finding out - buy tickets to this, or to the show's already announced West End transfer to the Gielgud Theatre from 20 June to 7 October.

Andrew Garfield and Amanda Lawrence in the first part of Angels in America, Millennium Approaches
© Helen Maybanks

1. Angels in America

National Theatre, 4 May to 19 August

One of the most hotly anticipated revivals in recent years is finally here. Tony Kushner's epic saga about life in New York in the '80s amidst an AIDs crisis is being directed by Marianne Elliott with an astonishing cast including Andrew Garfield, Nathan Lane, Denise Gough and Russell Tovey. It's in two parts - Millennium Approaches and Perestroika - and it's sold out. But fear not - there are still ways to get to see the show. You can enter a ballot for cheap tickets, or queue for day seats (although apparently the queue starts at 5.30pm the day before) or you can hold out for the NT Live screening of the shows on 20 and 27 July.