Here’s our annual round-up of what’s coming up in London’s West End in 2014 so you can plan your theatrical year with efficiency.
9 January: Sam Wanamaker Playhouse opens its doors as a brand new theatre in London, alongside Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on the Southbank. The inaugural production sees Gemma Arterton in The Duchess of Malfi. WEBSITE
13 January: The Pass starts previews at the Royal Court Upstairs. John Tiffany, flush from his Broadway success directing The Glass Menagerie, directs this new play by graduate of the Royal Court Young Writers Programme, John Donnelly. Russell Tovey and Gary Carr star as football rising stars. WEBSITE
14 January: Putting It Together starts its run at the St James Theatre. London finally gets to see this Sondheim revue after a LONG wait. A glitzy, Sondheim-literate cast features David Bedella, Daniel Crossley, Janie Dee, Damian Humbley and Caroline Sheen. BOOK TICKETS
14 January: King Lear at the National Theatre. Simon Russell Beale plays Lear, directed by Sam Mendes. Possibly the Shakespeare highlight of 2014. WEBSITE
16 January: The Weir starts previews at the Wyndham’s Theatre. The Donmar transfers its acclaimed, award-winning revival of Conor McPherson’s The Weir featuring the original cast of Risteárd Cooper, Brian Cox, Dervla Kirwan, Peter McDonald and Ardal O’Hanlon, and directed by Josie Rourke. BOOK TICKETS
23 January: Happy Days at the Young Vic. No not the musical with the Fonz currently touring the UK, but Samuel Beckett’s powerful play starring Juliet Stevenson. WEBSITE
28 January: Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards announced at Prince of Wales Theatre
30 January: The Mistress Contract starts previews at the Royal Court. Abi Morgan brings her latest play to the Court, a coup for the Court’s artistic director Vicky Featherstone, who also directs. The play stars Saskia Reeves and Danny Webb as ‘She’ and ‘He’. WEBSITE
30 January: The South Bank Sky Arts Awards announced.
1 February: Oh What A Lovely War starts previews at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. 50th anniversary production of Joan Littlewood’s historic event theatre, back where it belongs in Stratford and timed to also commemorate the start of the First World War. Terry Johnson directs a cast that includes Caroline Quentin and Michael Simkins. WEBSITE
3 February: Not I, Footfalls and Rockaby at the Duchess Theatre. The Royal Court transfer their sold-out Beckett triple bill starring Lisa Dwan and directed by Walter Asmus – although only for two weeks. WEBSITE
17 February: A Taste of Honey at the National Theatre. 1950’s drama by Shelagh Delaney that made an extraordinary impact on British theatre. This production stars Kate O’Flynn as Jo and Lesley Sharp as Helen, directed by Bijan Sheibani. BOOK TICKETS
20 February: The Full Monty starts previews at the Noel Coward Theatre. Never shy of giving an audience what they want, David Pugh brings his crowd-pleasing new production of The Full Monty into the West End. Side-stepping the musical versions of the past, Simon Beaufoy has adapted his Oscar-nominated screenplay into something altogether more entertaining. BOOK TICKETS
20 February: Versailles starts previews at the Donmar Warehouse. Peter Gill writes and directs his new play that finds connections between the end of the First World War and today, starring Helen Bradbury, Barbara Flynn, Tom Hughes, Tamla Kari, Gwilym Lee, Josh O’Connor, Simon Williams and Eleanor Yates. WEBSITE
20 February: The Knight of the Burning Pestle starts previews at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. WEBSITE
22 February: Urinetown starts previews at the St James Theatre. Director Jamie Lloyd and designer Soutra Gilmour team up again for this cult Broadway musical, with an accomplished cast including Richard Fleeshman, Jenna Russell, Cory English and Jonathan Slinger. A must-see for 2014. WEBSITE
23 February: WhatsOnStage Awards announced at the Prince of Wales Theatre (voting closes on 31 January 2014)
27 February: I Can’t Sing! The X-Factor Musical starts previews at the London Palladium. Harry Hill’s madcap new musical goes behind-the-scenes of The X Factor TV show, shored up in a post-Viva Forever! world with Olivier Award-winner Nigel Harman channeling Simon Cowell as… Simon Cowell, and two EXTREMELY talented actors, Cynthia Erivo and Alan Morrissey, as lovestruck hopefuls on the X Factor. BOOK TICKETS
1 March: Blithe Spirit starts previews at the Gielgud Theatre. Probably the starriest first night of the year will be reserved for Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, in this revival of Michael Blakemore’s Broadway hit starring newly Damed Angela Lansbury. Solid support from Charles Edwards, Janie Dee and Jemima Rooper should make this all go like a dinner, although shame the budget didn’t stretch to see Rupert Everett revive his Broadway turn as Charles Condomine. BOOK TICKETS
8 March: Fatal Attraction starts previews at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Trevor Nunn directs the world stage premiere of Fatal Attraction in a new adaptation by James Dearden, who wrote the original 1987 screenplay. Casting is (still) yet to be announced, which we will take as a good sign and await news of the A-listers to take on the ghosts of Douglas and Close. BOOK TICKETS
10 March: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels starts previews at the Savoy Theatre. Musical comedy adaptation of the much-loved movie starring Robert Lindsay, Rufus Hound, Katherine Kingsley and Samantha Bond. BOOK TICKETS
27 March: Pests starts previews at the Royal Court. A new play by Vivienne Franzmann, directed by Lucy Morrison. WEBSITE
28 March: Kingston 14 starts previews at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. Sucker Punch writer Roy Williams brings his latest drama to Stratford in a tale of police corruption set in Jamaica and starring Goldie. WEBSITE
3 April: Birdland starts previews at the Royal Court. By Simon Stephens, directed by Carrie Cracknell, starring Andrew Scott as rock star Paul. WEBSITE
4 April: A View From The Bridge starts previews at the Young Vic. Arthur Miller’s great American drama, directed by Ivo van Hove. WEBSITE
10 April: Privacy starts previews at the Donmar Warehouse. A new play by James Graham that explores whether there is any such thing as privacy anymore, directed by Josie Rourke. WEBSITE
13 April: Olivier Awards night as the annual West End lovefest also known as the Olivier Awards. This year they return again to the Royal Opera House. Expect tears.
24 April: Shakespeare’s Globe 2014 season starts, opening with Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus. The season also includes Shakespeare plays Antony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and The Comedy of Errors, and four new plays by Simon Armitage, Richard Bean, Howard Brenton and David Eldridge. WEBSITE
1 May: The Pajama Game starts previews at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Richard Eyre is in fine directing form as his Chichester production of almost-lost musical The Pajama Game comes to town. Eyre has long championed the talents of Joanna Riding and it is great to see her back in a major role in the West End, reviving her critically acclaimed Chichester performance, joined by Michael Xavier. BOOK TICKETS
3 May: Miss Saigon starts previews at the Prince Edward Theatre. A beautifully timed revival by Cameron Mackintosh of his 90’s mega-hit that proved Boublil and Schönberg could actually do it again after Les Mis and that contemporary musicals could be as bold, ambitious and passionate as opera, and yet make far more money. BOOK TICKETS
8 May: Fings Ain’t What They Used To Be at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. Terry Johnson follows his production of Oh What A Lovely War with Lionel Bart’s 1950’s musical set in an East End underworld. Jessie Wallace and Gary Kemp lead the cast in this new adaptation of the show by musicals maestro Elliot Davis. WEBSITE
5 June: Fathers and Sons starts previews at the Donmar Warehouse. Brian Friel freely adapts Ivan Turgenev’s novel, directed by Lyndsey Turner. WEBSITE
8 June: Tony Awards announced at Radio City Music Hall, New York. Not a strictly West End appointment but no one can ignore the importance of the Tonys!
20 June: The Valley of Astonishment starts previews at the Young Vic. Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne direct this new play starring Kathryn Hunter, Marcello Magni and Jared McNeill. WEBSITE
July (exact dates TBC): Shakespeare in Love starts previews at the Noel Coward Theatre. Based on the Oscar-winning film, Shakespeare in Love is a new stage adaptation of the much-loved movie. Booking opens 31 January.
July / August (exact dates TBC): A Streetcar Named Desire at the Young Vic. Benedict Andrews directs Gillian Anderson in the Tennessee Williams classic. WEBSITE
10 October: The Cherry Orchard at the Young Vic. Katie Mitchell returns to the Young Vic directing Chekhov’s play The Cherry Orchard. WEBSITE