London Theatre Weekly Round-up: Jamie extends, JC Superstar heads to the Barbican, Ian McKellen launches tour, and more!

Everybody's Talking About Jamie London Photo: Alastair Muir

Everybody’s talking about the latest news in London theatre this week! Discover which RuPaul’s Drag Race star is coming to the London stage, who will be appearing in the musical premiere of A Christmas Story, and when you can catch Jesus Christ Superstar at the Barbican. Plus, find out how Ian McKellen plans to celebrate his 80th birthday.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie extends! And no one is surprised. The musical about 16-year-old Jamie New has taken the London theatre world by storm. You can now catch it at the Apollo Theatre until 28 September 2019.

Todrick Hall of RuPaul’s Drag Race will join the West End production of Chicago. Todrick Hall shot to fame on the ninth season of American Idol when he became a semi-finalist. He went on to become a YouTube sensation and a judge for RuPaul’s Drag Race. On Broadway, he’s starred as Lola in Kinky Boots and Billy Flynn in Chicago. Now, from 19 November to 5 January, Hall will take over the role of Billy Flynn in Chicago on the West End.

Jesus Christ Superstar will transfer to the Barbican. After playing Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in 2016 and 2017 and taking home the 2017 Olivier Award for best revival of a musical, Jesus Christ Superstar is all set for a run at the Barbican Theatre in 2019. But hurry up: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock musical will only play 60 performances, from 4 July to 24 August. Casting has yet to be announced.

Jesus Christ Superstar Regent's Park London
Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Photo: Johan Persson.

Ian McKellen will embark on an 80 venue tour across the UK. No one does birthdays like Sir Ian McKellen. In celebration of his 80th, the legendary actor will perform his new solo show in 80 venues across the UK–from London to Wales and everywhere in between. The show will explore McKellen’s life on stage and some stories from his career. In his own words: “The show starts with Gandalf and will probably end with an invitation to act with me on stage. In-between there will be anecdotes and acting.” The tour kicks off from The Space (London) at the end of January and finishes at The National mid September. Proceeds from each show will benefit the theatre hosting it. Never change, Sir Ian.

Denis O’Hare will star in Tartuffe at The National Theatre. Molière’s comedy is certainly popular these days–it recently played The Theatre Royal Haymarket. Now it’s making a comeback in a new National Theatre production by John Donnelly, with Denis O’Hare (Take Me Out, Sweet Charity, True Blood) making his National Theatre debut as Tartuffe himself. Blanche McIntyre will also make her National Theatre debut as director.

The Wider Earth extends at the Natural History Museum. The new play about young Charles Darwin’s voyage on the HMS Beagle, featuring 30 hand-crafted puppets, will now play until 24 February 2019. Read our interview with playwright David Morton here!

The Simon & Garfunkel Story announces six more performances for 2019. The show that tells the story of Simon & Garfunkel through their most beloved songs comes to the Lyric Theatre in January, starring Charles Blyth and Sam O’Hanlon. (Meanwhile, if you don’t want to wait until January, you can catch it at the Vaudeville Theatre this month.)

The Simon & Garfunkel Story London production still
The Simon & Garfunkel Story

Casting is announced for Pasek and Paul’s A Christmas StoryThe musical adaptation of the classic 1980s Christmas comedy will star Simon Willmont (Mamma Mia!, Blood Brothers) and Lucyelle Cliffe (Legally Blonde, Les Misérables) as Mr. and Mrs. Parker, respectively. Jenny Gayner (Chicago, Spamalot) will play Miss Shields. And Garry Freer (Me and My Girl, Little Shop of Horrors) will play narrator Jean Shepherd. The musical premiers at Waterloo East Theatre at the end of the month. Meanwhile, we’d just like to thank Pasek and Paul for existing.

Denis O’Hare will star in Tartuffe at The National Theatre. Moliere’s comedy is certainly popular these days–it recently played The Theatre Royal Haymarket. Now it’s making a comeback in a new National Theatre production by John Donnelly, with Denis O’Hare (Take Me Out, Sweet Charity, True Blood) making his National Theatre debut in the role of Tartuffe. Blanche McIntyre will also make her National Theatre debut as director of the production.

Hugh Dennis, Lesley Garrett and John Marquez will star in Patrick Barlow’s The MessiahThis Christmas comedy features a traveling duo of actors and one opera diva bent on reenacting the nativity story. Is this The Play That Goes Wrong meets Nativity!? Find out starting 3 December.

The Messiah London banner

Rip It Up is coming to London. Featuring Strictly Come Dancing stars Harry Judd, Aston Merrygold and Louis Smith, Rip It Up will dance into London this February for a four month run. The show takes audiences on a wild ride through the 60s, with music from The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Aretha Franklin, and more. Plus, a new cast member was just announced–find out who it will be here! Tickets go on sale today.

The Mousetrap announces a UK tour. The world’s longest running play is set to embark on a UK tour starting in January 2019. Agatha Christie’s murder mystery will star Gwyneth Strong (Only Fools and Horses) as Mrs. Boyle, with Gareth Armstrong directing. But don’t worry! You’ll still be able to catch it in the West End–presumably forever.

Hadestown has started performances. Head way down to Hadestown–now in previews at The National Theatre!