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Opening: Luck, Polish, Song, Barbara & New Maria

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Amongst the major openings in London this week are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 3 March 2008 (previews from 26 February), Summer Strallen takes over from Connie Fisher as the new Maria von Trapp in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music at the London Palladium, having been ‘cast’ by the show’s producer Andrew Lloyd Webber via the Channel 4 teen soap Hollyoaks (See News, 1 Feb 2008).

OPENING TUESDAY, 4 March 2008, artistic director Nicholas Hytner directs George Bernard Shaw’s 1905 classic Major Barbara at the National Theatre, with Hayley Atwell in the title role, Simon Russell Beale as her father Andrew Undershaft and Clare Higgins as Lady Britomart Undershaft (See News, 18 Dec 2007). The production launches the NT’s sixth annual Travelex £10 Season in the NT Olivier.

ALSO ON TUESDAY, Melvyn Bragg and Howard Goodall’s 1984 musical The Hired Man is revived at Greenwich Theatre. Set in rural Cumbria in the early years of the 20th century, the musical tells the story of a young married couple and their struggle to carve a living from the land. It runs for a week only until 8 March, presented by New Perspectives Theatre Company.

OPENING WEDNESDAY, 5 March 2008, a new production of Arthur Miller’s rarely seen 1944 play The Man Who Had All the Luck opens at the Donmar Warehouse directed by Sean Holmes and with Andrew Buchan as David Beeves (See News, 31 Oct 2007). Following the run at the Covent Garden venue, where it continues until 4 April, the production will tour to the Lowry in Manchester, Liverpool Playhouse and then on to Cornwall.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY (previews from 28 February), A Couple of Poor, Polish-Speaking Romanians, the debut play by 24-year-old Polish writer Dorota Maslowska, premieres at Soho Theatre in a limited season to 29 March 2008. Dzina and Parcha are on a road trip, hitchhiking and hijacking their way across Poland while coming down from a drug-fuelled party. Andrea Riseborough, who was Whatsonstage.com Award-nominated this year for playing an Eastern European immigrant in The Pain and the Itch at the Royal Court, and Andrew Tiernan star.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY (previews from 4 March), Heroes TV star Leonard Roberts heads the cast in the UK premiere of Daniel Joshua Rubin’s The Viewing Room, which runs at the Arts Theatre until 29 March 2008. The play is featured in Amnesty International's sequence of events to mark the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights.

OPENING THURSDAY, 6 March 2008 (previews from 3 March), the UK premiere of the Off-Broadway revue Make Me a Song, celebrating the music of Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist William Finn, opens at the New Players Theatre for a month. The company of West End veterans are: Sally Ann Triplett, Frances Ruffelle, Ian H Watkins, Louise Dearman, Gareth Snook and Simon Thomas.

ALSO ON THURSDAY (previews from 4 March), Gay Soper plays TV’s art nun Sister Wendy Beckett in The Sister Wendy Musicalm which is at east London’s Hackney Empire until 23 March 2008.

OPENING SATURDAY, 8 March 2008, Winsome Pinnock’s Mules opens at the Young Vic’s Clare Studio, directed by Amy Hodge. The play tells the story of the women who lend their bodies to smuggle drugs across borders. The production runs until 15 March.

ALSO ON SATURDAY, for one night only, Ridiculusmus presents two productions from their repertoire at the Barbican Pit, How to Be Funny and Yes, Yes, Yes.

OPENING SUNDAY, 9 March 2008, the Showbiz Pops Orchestra, made up of 30 leading professional musicians from across the West End and featuring singers Katy Secombe and Scott Davies, celebrate the golden age of musical theatre with Something Wonderful at the Broadway Theatre Catford.

- by Tom Atkins


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