London Theatre Weekly Round-up: Paul Merton joins Hairspray, Janie Dee stars in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Alfred Enoch to play Romeo at the Globe and more!

Comedian Paul Merton (pictured above) will make his West End debut as Wilbur Turnblad in Hairspray. Rita Simons (EastEnders) also joins the cast as Velma Von Tussle, with Jonny Amies (Sex Education) as Link Larkin. As previously announced, the production will star Lizzie Bea (Becoming Nancy) as Tract, Michael Ball as Edna Turnblad and Marisha Wallace (Dreamgirls) as Motormouth Maybelle. Directed by Jack O’Brien, Hairspray runs from 23 April at the London Coliseum.

Olivier Award winner Janie Dee will star in the London premiere of Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Inspired by Chekhov’s play of the same name, the production won the Tony Award for Best Play in 2013. Its U.K. premiere will be directed by Walter Bobbie (Chicago). Further casting will be announced later. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike will play at the Charing Cross Theatre from 21 March to 16 May.

Molly Lynch and Oli Higginson will lead The Last Five Years at Southwark Playhouse. Lynch and Higginson will play Cathy and Jamie, respectively. Directed by Jonathan O’Boyle, the revival of Jason Robert Brown’s musical runs from 28 February.

Molly Lynch and Oli HIgginson

Indecent announces initial casting. The company of the production will include Alexandra Silber, Peter Polycarpou, Beverley Klein, Molly Osborne, Finbar Lynch and Joseph Timms. Directed by the Tony Award winning Rebecca Taichman, Indecent runs at Menier Chocolate Factory from 13 March.

Alfred Enoch will play Romeo in Shakespeare’s Globe’s Romeo & Juliet. Known for his roles in How to Get Away With Murder and the Harry Potter films, Enoch will star in the new production, directed by Ola Ince, that runs from 14 April through 12 July. Further casting will be announced later.

Shakespeare’s Globe also announces its 2020 summer season. Productions will include Romeo & Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, Antony & Cleopatra and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The season will also include a two-day event called Globe 4 Globe: Shakespeare and the Climate Emergency, a symposium on Shakespeare and Race, a Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank production of Macbeth, and the family festival Telling Tales.

Mischief Theatre’s The Comedy About a Bank Robbery will close after 3 May 2020. The production is currently running at the Criterion Theatre, where it has played for four years.

Suzan-Lori Parks’ Pulitzer Prize winning play In the Blood will kick off the Donmar Warehouse’s 2020 season. Directed by Ellen McDougal (Our Town), the production will begin 17 April. The season will also include Steve Waters’ The Contingency Plan, Nina Segal’s Assembly, and a new adaptation of Ruben Östlund’s film Force Majeure directed by Michael Longhurst. Casting for all productions will be announced later.

Magic Goes Wrong extends to 30 August 2020, with tickets on sale now. Co-created with magicians Penn & Teller, Magic Goes Wrong is the second production in Mischief Theatre’s residency at the Vaudeville Theatre.

Photo Credit: Robert Day

Samuel Bailey’s Shook will transfer to the West End in April. The play, which premiered at Southwark Playhouse last year, will run at Trafalgar Studios from 8 April through 9 May. Directed by George Turney, the production will reunite the original company.

Angels of the North, a new comedy by John Godber OBE, will transfer to the West End in May. A companion piece to Scary Bikers, Angels of the North will star John Godber, Adrian Hood and Martha Godber.

Richard Gadd’s solo show Baby Reindeer will play in London before making its New York premiere. Baby Reindeer runs from 2 April through 2 May at the Ambassadors Theatre. The show premiered at Edinburgh Fringe last year, followed by a run at the Bush Theatre.

Rose Theatre announces casting for The Creature: [Frankenstein Retold]. Adapted for the stage by Ciaran McConville and directed by Lucy Morrell, the production will star Billy Brown, Eleanor Clark, Katherine Liley, Louis Mertens, Joshua King Milne, Frankie Oldham, Anna Pryce, Francis Redfern and Daisy Tucker. The Creature: [Frankenstein Retold] runs at Rose Theatre from 27 to 29 February.

Michael Ball and Alfie Boe will broadcast their concert to U.K. cinemas. Their show Back Together will play in 1,000 cinemas across the U.K. and Ireland on 28 and 29 March.

Lucie Jones’ upcoming solo concert will be released as an album. The one-night-only concert will play at the Adelphi Theatre on 16 February, with Lucie Jones joined by the London Musical Theatre Orchestra and special guests John Owen Jones and Marisha Wallace. Lucie Jones is currently starring as Jenna in Waitress. The album will release this spring.

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