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John Lithgow plays Magistrate with Nancy Carroll in NT winter

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Hollywood’s John Lithgow will play the title role in a new National Theatre revival of Arthur Wing Pinero’s 1885 English farce The Magistrate, opposite Olivier Award winner Nancy Carroll as his wife. The new production, helmed by Open Air artistic director Timothy Sheader, replaces the National’s postponed Richard Bean adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo, which was also due to be directed by Sheader. The Magistrate will open on 21 November 2012 (previews from 14 November) in the NT Olivier.

Lithgow made his UK stage debut in 2007, playing Malvolio in Twelfth Night for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, and brought his one-man theatrical memoir Stories by Heart to the National in 2009. He’s best known for his screen credits including Third Rock from the Sun on TV and the film The World According to Garp, Footloose, Terms of Endearment, Blow Out, Twilight Zone, Harry and the Hendersons, Cliffhanger, Shrek, Kinsey and Dreamgirls, but he’s also a stage veteran. Since winning a Tony Award for his 1973 debut in David Storey’s The Changing Room, his many Broadway credits have included, earlier this year, The Columnist, as well as Trelawny of the Wells, Comedians, Once in a Lifetime, Bedroom Farce, The Front Page, M. Butterfly, Retreat from Moscow and the musicals Sweet Smell of Success and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. He’s also the author of numerous children’s books.

Also newly announced for the NT’s September 2012 to February 2013: Alex Jennings will play Alan Bennett in the playwright’s two “recollections” Hymn and Cocktail Sticks, which will run alongside the premiere of Bennett’s sixth play for the National, People; Marianne Elliott will revive Simon Stephens play Port, which she premiered in 2002 at Manchester’s Royal Exchange; and 1927 company’s family hit The Animals and Children Took to the Streets will return for a Christmas season in the Lyttelton.

Further dates and casting have also been released for People and other previously announced productions of Lucy Prebble’s The Effect for Rupert Goold and Headlong and Katie Mitchell’s new devised version of Hansel and Gretel.

In The NT Olivier

The Magistrate opens the new season on 21 November (previews from 14 November) -- directed by Timothy Sheader, artistic director of the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, the farce by Arthur Wing Pinero which sees a respectable magistrate engulfed in scandal by the antics of his wife and her son. It will participate in the National Theatre Live scheme and be broadcast in cinemas on 17 January 2013.

The Magistrate will also be broadcast to cinemas worldwide as part of the National Theatre Live scheme on 17 January 2013.

In The NT Lyttleton

As previously announced, Francis de la Tour and Linda Bassett will star in People, a new play by Alan Bennett. Details of the production were previously kept secret by NT artistic director Nicholas Hytner, who also directs -- but it has now been revealed to centre on the treasures and revelations brought forth by an attic sale. The show opens 7 November 2012 (previews from 31 October).

Also at the Lyttleton at this time is a duo of supporting Alan Bennett pieces - Hymn and Cocktail Sticks. Hymn, a 30-minute series of Bennett memoirs coupled with music, to be performed by members of Southbank Sinfonia, runs at the theatre from 22 November. Its stable-mate Cocktail Sticks, a one-hour "oratorio without music" is based on Bennett's memoir A Life Like Other People's and stars NT associate Alex Jennings.

It is succeeded on 12 December by The Animals and Children Took to the Streets, which had a run at the National last winter and returns for 15 performances. The show, by the 1927 company, combines live music, performance and storytelling with film and animation, and is billed as "is a theatrical journey of startling originality, like a giant graphic novel...". Its action centres on the life of a mother and daughter in a notorious tenement block.

Port, a 2002 play by prolific playwright Simon Stephens follows on 28 January 2013 (previews from 22 January), directed by long-time Stephens collaborator Marianne Elliott, who is currently heading his adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the NT Cottesloe. It is a family drama centred on the Manchester suburb of Stockport, with lead characters aged 6 and eleven. The show is billed as "a richly colourful portrait of a town with the everyday writ large."

In The NT Cottesloe

The Cottesloe season leads with the previously-announced new play The Effect, starring Billie Piper under the direction of Rupert Goold, which opens on 13 November 2012 (previews from 6 November). The play is billed as a "funny and moving" piece which "explores questions of sanity, neurology and the limits of medicine."

The second and final announcement is children's show Hansel and Gretel, directed by Katie Mitchell. Opening on 13 December 2012 (previews from 7 December), the show retells the classic story of two breadcrumb-trailing children's adventure in the woods.

The season also marks the tenth year of the Travelex ticket scheme, which provides a large number of discount tickets, currently priced at £12, to National productions. The theatre will celebrate the collaboration through an event with Nicholas Hytner hosting a "10 years of Travelex Tickets" event on 15 October 2012.


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