Weekly News Roundup: KILLER JOE Opens + New Chicago Cast, WEST END LIVE lineup & More!

Orlando Bloom looks pretty happy with that gun, but if he seems a little deranged, it’s only because he’s playing a killer-for-hire in Tracy Letts’ blackly comic thriller Killer Joe. New production photos were just released for the show, which opened at Trafalgar Studios earlier this week.

And that’s only one of the many happenings in the world of London theatre this week. Scroll on down to find out where you can catch Andrew Scott, Martin Kemp, Lenny Henry, and more.

It’s not every actor that gets a play written specifically for them, but if you’re Andrew Scott, it apparently happens. Simon Stephens’ solo play Sea Wall – an exploration of faith in the face of sudden loss – was written just for Scott. After a number of critically acclaimed performances at the Bush Theatre, in Dublin, and at The National Theatre, Scott is returning to Stephens’ play in a new production at The Old Vic, from 18 to 30 June. In his own words:

“I’m so excited to return to The Old Vic. Sea Wall, to my mind, is a stunning piece of writing, and the idea of performing Simon’s beautiful play in this most magical of theatres makes me really happy.”

If you haven’t yet seen Cuba Gooding Jr. in Chicago, your window is closing. Starting 2 July, Martin Kemp will take over the role of Billy Flynn from Gooding. Kemp is probably best known as a member of the band Spandau Ballet. He’s also played Steve Owen in EastEnders.

Who’s ready for West End LIVE 2018???? This year, you’ll have the chance to see stars from: Tina, Strictly Ballroom, Eugenius!, Little Shop Of Horrors, Chicago, Heathers, Kiss Me Kate, Six, Knights Of the Rose, Brief Encounter, Circolombia, Madagascar, The Lion King, Aladdin, Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Dreamgirls, Mamma Mia!, Kinky Boots, Matilda, Motown, Bat Out Of Hell, Thriller Live, and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. Did you get all that? This year’s West End LIVE will take place 16 and 17 June in Trafalgar Square.

A new theatre is always a good thing, right? This autumn, we’ll be getting a new one in Wembley Park. And it sounds like it will be awesome. We’re talking a flexible 1,000 to 2,000 seats, a space that can transform from a proscenium arch to an in-the-round or immersive layout, and a bar, open air terrace, and restaurant. Troubadour Theatres will manage the space, and the theatre’s first production will be announced in the next few months.

As You Like It Regent's Park London

“All the world’s a stage…” and so is all of Regent’s Park! Max Webster’s open air production of As You Like It (to be performed in Regent’s Park) is cast! Olivia Vinall will play the indomitable Rosalind, with Edward Hogg opposite her as the love-struck Orlando. They will be joined by Keziah Joseph (Celia), Beruce Khan (Oliver), Danny Kirranne (Touchstone), and Maureen Beattie (Jaques). The production will feature original compositions by Noah and the Whale songwriter Charlie Fink.

Also cast is Katie Prince’s production of Sylvia at The Old Vic. The new musical, which chronicles the Suffragette movement, will star the Olivier-nominated Beverley Knight as famous suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst. John Dagleish will play Keir Hardie, with Carly Bawden as Adela Pankhurst and Delroy Atkinson as Winston Churchill.

Theatre Royal Stratford East announces its 2019 season. Perhaps the most exciting announcement is the return of comedian actor Lenny Henry to the London stage: he’ll play Elmore in August Wilson’s King Hedley II. Henry is widely known for his comedy, and King Hedley is regarded as August Wilson’s most tragic play, so we’ll see how that pans out.

Theatre Royal Stratford East will also present an adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s novel Noughts and Crosses, an ENO co-production of Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fludde, and the previously announced Equus.