What’s opening in the West End this week including David Tennant and Catherine Tate in Much Ado, Zoe Wanamaker and James Corden at the National and The Lord of the Flies.

NEW SHOWS OPENING 16 – 22 MAY 2011

Much Ado About Nothing starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate

Much Ado About Nothing starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate

The star of the week is Much Ado About Nothing, which starts previews from today, 16 May at the Wyndham’s Theatre. The high-profile casting of David Tennant and Catherine Tate as Beatrice and Benedick should guarantee the production some serious press coverage and Sold Out boards outside the theatre. Shakespeare’s play is directed by Josie Rourke, who will soon take over from Michael Grandage as artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse.

The Cherry Orchard opens on Tuesday at the National Theatre starring Zoe Wanamaker. Also at the National on Tuesday, One Man, Two Guvnors starts previews in the Lyttelton starring James Corden, who returns to the National for the first time since The History Boys. The new play by Richard Bean, based on Carlo Goldoni’s classic Italian comedy The Servant of Two Masters will feature songs by Grant Olding.

Finally on Tuesday, Thrille Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story transfers to the Charing Cross Theatre after a sold-out and critically successful run at the Tristan Bates Theatre. Stephen Dolginoff’s multi-award winning musical about infamous Chicago thrill killers Leopold & Loeb stars George Maguire and Jye Frasca.

James Corden in One Man, Two Guvnors

James Corden in One Man, Two Guvnors

On Thursday 19 May the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park launches its 2011 summer season with a stage adaptation of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Created by the same team who produced last season’s The Crucible, including director Timothy Sheader, the play’s setting promises to be a perfect match for the story of a group of schoolboys who survive a plane crash.

Saturday sees the start of previews for the week’s second production of Much Ado About Nothing, this time at Shakespeare’s Globe starring Nurse Jackie’s Eve Best as Beatrice and Charles Edwards as Benedick. Also on Saturday over in Washington DC, a new production of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies opens at the Kennedy Center starring Bernadette Peters and our very own EP (Elaine Paige!)

AND CLOSING:

This Saturday we say goodbye to Tracie Bennett in End of the Rainbow and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg at the Gielgud Theatre.

OPENING NEXT WEEK

The press night for Anya Reiss’s new play The Acid Test at the Royal Court on 23 May. The short run at the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs is already sold out but promises to be one of the most exciting new plays to emerge in London this year.

On Wednesday 25 May, Rupert Everett, Kara Tointon and Diana Rigg  open in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion at the Garrick Theatre.

On Friday 27 May, Kristin Soctt Thomas leads the cast in previews of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal at the Comedy Theatre, in a new production directed by Ian Rickson, also starring Douglas Henshall and Ben Miles.

AND OPENING IN JUNE

Dominic West in Simon Gray’s Butley at the Duchess Theatre (from 1 June); Broadway musical Lend Me A Tenor at the Gielgud Theatre starring Joanna Riding (from 2 June); Shrek The Musical has its press night at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane starring Amanda Holden and Nigel Lindsay (7 June);  The Flying Karamazov Brothers come crashing into the Vaudeville Theatre with much kilt wearing, flame throwing and general madcap hysteria (from 9 June); Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead starring featuring Tim Curry, Samuel Barnett and Jamie Parker at the Theatre Royal Haymarket (from 16 June); Kevin Spacey as Richard III in Sam Mendes’s new production of Shakespeare’s play at the Old Vic (from 18 June); and a big-budget new movie-to-stage musical comes to town as Ghost The Musical opens at the Piccadilly Theatre starring Caissie Levy, Richard Fleeshman and Sharon D Clarke, with music by Dave Stewart (from 22 June).