London Theatre Weekly Round-up: Thriller Live gala, more casting for True West, returning Chicago star, and more!

Production photo from Thriller Live London

This week’s news is simply thrilling! Meet the next actress to join Chicago‘s lively cast, find out which celebrities will be hosting Thriller‘s celebratory gala performance, and get casting updates for True West and Nine Night.

Denise Van Outen has played Roxie Hart on both the West End and Broadway, so starting 24 September, she’ll be stepping into the current West End production of Chicago as… Velma Kelly. (As previously announced, Alexandra Burke will play Roxie.) Van Outen’s other stage credits include Legally Blonde, Rent, and Tell Me On a Sunday. She’s currently one of the judges for Ireland’s Got Talent.

Next week, Thriller Live will see some celebrity action! In honor of the show’s 4000th performance, Peter Andre, Russell Kane, Jon Culshaw, and Kieran Alleyne (an original Thriller cast member) will join the production for a special gala performance on 12 September. Ticket sales will support The Prince’s Trust.

Joining Kit Harington and Johnny Flynn in True West at the Vaudeville Theatre will be Madeleine Potter and Donald Sage Mackay. Potter is a seasoned Broadway and West End actor, recently appearing in An Ideal Husband at the National Theatre and Broken Glass at the Tricycle Theatre. She’s also held a number of TV and film roles. Mackay is best known for his roles on the TV shows Modern Family and Deep State.

We also have casting for the upcoming Nine Night! Stepping in to play Lorraine will be none other than the writer herself: Natasha Gordon. Joining her will be veteran actors Oliver Alvin-Wilson, Michelle Greenidge, Hattie Ladbury, Rebekah Murrell, Cecilia Noble, and Karl Collins.

In case you haven’t heard, The Old Vic is celebrating its 200 year anniversary! And what better way to celebrate than with a collection of stamps? OK, but hear us out: these stamps are pretty cool.

The Old Vic 200 anniversary stamps

They celebrate some of the landmark performances The Old Vic has seen over its two-century existence. Featured actors include Maggie Smith, Laurence Olivier, Judi Dench, and Richard Burton. For all you collectors of theatre paraphernalia out there (or just all you collectors of postage stamps), you can buy a pack through The Royal Mail.

Casting is announced for Olivier Award winner James Graham’s (Quiz, Ink) new play Sketching, opening at Wilton’s Music Hall later this month. The cast will include Nav Sidhu, Penny Layden, Samuel James, Sean Michael Verey, and Sophie Wu. A play that pays homage to Charles Dickens’ Sketches by Boz, Sketching covers 24 hours of London life–and a few of the stories that overlap in that time. In fact, though James Graham is the play’s lead writer, Sketching is multi-authored, with a creative team of eight emerging writers collaborating with Graham.

Banner for James Graham's Sketching

The Lyric Hammersmith has announced its new season (the last under artistic director Sean Holmes). The line-up of plays will include Leave to Remain: a new piece by Matt Jones, with songs by Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke. Tyrone Huntley (Jesus Christ Superstar) will star in this premiere about a young gay couple facing an uncertain future.

Ghost Stories, by Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson, will return to the Lyric Hammersmith after playing on the international stage and screen (it was recently made into a movie starring Martin Freeman). Additionally, the Lyric Hammersmith will host revivals of The Animals and Children Took to the Streets and Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs).

The House on Cold Hill–a new play from multi-million selling author Peter James–will launch a UK tour in January, starring BAFTA-nominated actor Joe McFadden. McFadden is best known for his television roles in Holby City and Heartbeat, and as the winner of BBC1’s 2017 Strictly Come Dancing. Allegedly, The House on Cold Hill is based on the author’s own experience in a haunted house–which makes it that much spookier.

And next year, Rachel O’Riordan will take over as artistic director of the Lyric Hammersmith. O’Riordan is an Olivier Award-winning director and was on TheStage100’s 2017 list of the most influential people in UK Theatre. We can’t wait to see what she does!