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Opening: Playboy, Rock of Ages, Advice, Phantom 25

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Amongst the major London openings, in the West End and further afield, this week are:

OPENING TUESDAY, 27 September 2011 (previews from 17 September), Robert Sheehan, Ruth Negga and Niamh Cusack star in John Crowley’s revival of JM Synge's 1907 classic The Playboy Of The Western World at the Old Vic, where it runs until 26 November.

The play tells the story of lonely dreamer Christy Mahon (Sheehan) who takes refuge in Michael Flaherty’s pub, claiming that he has killed his oppressive father. He both charms the village women including Widow Quinn (Cusack) and captures the heart of the landlord’s fiery daughter Pegeen (Negga).

OPENING WEDNESDAY, 28 September 2011 (previews from 31 August), Rock of Ages receives its West End premiere with a gala opening at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Incorporating period glam-rock music from the likes of Bon Jovi, Journey, Whitesnake, Poison and Pat Benatar, the Broadway import includes over 20 hits such as “Sister Christian”, “I Wanna Rock”, “The Final Countdown”, “I Wanna Know What Love Is” and “Don’t Stop Believin’”,

Starring Oliver Tompsett, Amy Pemberton, X Factor winner Shayne Ward and hirsute TV and radio presenter Justin Lee Collins, it’s initially booking to 11 February 2012.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY (previews from 24 September), Billy the Kid, adapted by Tony Graham from the hit novel by Michael Morpurgo about a Chelsea football star caught up in WW2, returns to the Unicorn following its run in 2007, with Dudley Sutton and Sam Donovan reprising their roles as Billy and Sam. Until 30 October.

OPENING THURSDAY, 29 September 2011 (previews from 22 September), Caroline Quentin, Andy Nyman, Sharon Horgan and Scott Bakula star in the world premiere of Terrible Advice, the debut play by Hollywood actor Saul Rubinek, which is helmed by Hollywood director (as well as Muppets co-creator and voice of Yoda) Frank Oz and runs at the Menier Chocolate Factory until 12 November 2011.

ALSO ON THURSDAY, Jesse Britton’s Bound, following the fortunes of six trawlermen from Devon as they embark on one final voyage, comes to Southwark Playhouse following its award-winning debut at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

OPENING FRIDAY, 30 September 2011 (previews from 27 September), Ben Stock and Helena Blackman star in the Cockpit Theatre’s revival of Sheridan Morley's Noel and Gertie, crafted from diaries and letters between Noël Coward and his stage partner Gertrude Lawrence. The production, which runs until 22 October, reunites the creative team behind the recent Southwark Playhouse revival of Parade - led by producer Danielle Tarento and director Thom Southerland.

OPENING SATURDAY, 1 October 2011, Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, which has now been seen in 124 cities in 25 countries and played to over 100 million people, celebrates its 25th anniversary with two special concert performances at the Royal Albert Hall, the second of which, on Sunday 2 October, will be broadcast live to cinemas.

Producer Cameron Mackintosh has assembled a cast - led by Whatsonstage.com Award winner Ramin Karimloo as The Phantom and Sierra Boggess as Christine - and orchestra of over 200 as well as appearances from a range of special guests.


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