London Theatre Weekly Round-up: Broadway musical heads to London, Lulu cast in 42nd Street, and more!

Photo of Lulu Lulu. Photo credit: Matt Crockett

Don’t miss a single act! We’ve got your round-up of all the news swirling around the London theatre world this week. Among other things, find out about a certain Broadway musical set to light up the West End, and which theatre role Gary Oldman has his sights set on.

Singer and actress Lulu joins the cast of 42nd Street, making her return to the West End after 30 years. She’ll play Dorothy Brock starting 19 March. Joining her as a newcomer to the cast is Ashley Day, playing Billy Lawlor.

Good news for British fans of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812! While rumors of a London transfer have been floating around for a while, plans are now definitely in place for a production of Dave Malloy’s musical in the West End. We don’t know the details yet, but supposedly the production will reunite the show’s Broadway designers.

Charity Mousetrap Theatre Projects announces the line-up for its 21st anniversary gala at the Prince of Wales Theatre. Hosted by Harriet Thorpe and Christopher Biggins, the program will feature performances from The Lion KingDreamgirlsMamma Mia!Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, and Mischief Theatre.

To mark the centenary of Armistice Day, the touring production of War Horse returns to the National Theatre starting 8 November.

Production still from War Horse at the National Theatre
War Horse. Photo credit: Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

And the National Theatre announces casting for multiple plays:

  • In Brian Friel’s Translations, Colin Morgan will be joined by Ciaran Hinds, Dermot Crowley, Aoife Duffin, Adetomiwa Edun, Michelle Fox, Laurence Kinlan, Seamus O’Hara, Judith Roddy, and Rufus Wright. Ian Rickson directs.
  • Julie (Polly Stenham’s updating of Strindberg’s Miss Julie) will feature Vanessa Kirby, Eric Kofi Abrefa, Thalissa Teixeira, Thomasin Gulgec, Dak Mashava, Beatriz Meireles, Michela Meazza, Ashley Morgan-Davies, Yuyu Rau, and Petra Söör. The play takes place in contemporary London (unlike Strindberg’s original, set in 19th century Sweden).
  • An Octoroon, directed by Ned Bennett, will feature Cassie Clare, Emmanuella Cole, Celeste Dodwell, Iola Evans,Ken Nwosu, Vivan Oparah, Alistair Toovey, and Kevin Trainor, with cellist James Douglas.

Gary Oldman would like to return to the London stage, and he’s got a role in mind: Crocker-Harris in Terence Rattigan’s play The Browning Version. Of course, at this point it’s just a wish. But we’d certainly be happy to see the Darkest Hour and Harry Potter actor come back to the West End!

Speaking of wishes, Sir Cameron Mackintosh apparently wants to demolish the historic 1913 Ambassadors Theatre. Or at least, demolish everything but the building’s facade and create a more modern, flexible space in its place. Apparently the theatre as it currently stands is small and restricted, prompting the Theatres Trust to observe that the Ambassadors will need to adapt if it wants to stay viable. Mackintosh wants to turn the theatre into a place for shows that otherwise wouldn’t get a West End transfer. But the Victorian Society says the destruction of the theatre would be a great loss. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? We decline to comment.

Hampstead Theatre (celebrating its 60th birthday next year) announces three new plays for its spring/summer season, including two world premieres and one UK premiere:

  • UK premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s Describe the Night, directed by Lisa Spirling
  • World premiere of Jemma Kennedy’s Genesis Inc., directed by Laurie Sansom
  • World premiere of Fiona Doyle’s The Strange Death of John Doe, directed by Edward Hall (Hampstead’s artistic director)

Iris Theatre announces that its celebrated outdoor summer season will begin with Shakespeare’s The Tempest in June. Oh wonder!

Finally, don’t forget about the WhatsOnStage awards this Sunday! We’ll be publishing the winners on Monday.