London’s theatre industry goes on the offensive with hard-hitting summer season
Big name stars and major musicals open over the summer to attract tourists to London
London, April 2009: The London theatre industry is going on the offensive this summer to ensure that the capital’s theatre scene remains a key attraction for Londoners and visitors to London, reports leading London theatre website Westendtheatre.com.
A series of discounting, special packages and a major season of new productions and star names are set to attract millions of visitors to London’s theatres this summer.
Big hitting stars and large scale musicals are lined up to showcase a range of new productions, including performances by Jude Law, Helen Mirren, Ethan Hawke, Gillian Anderson and Ian McKellen.
In drama, one of the most high profile productions will be Jude Law, taking to the stage in Shakespeare’s most famous play, Hamlet, directed by Michael Grandage as part of his Donmar in the West End season, from 29 May at the Wyndham’s Theatre.
Helen Mirren will also return to the London stage in Racine’s tragic play Phedre at the National Theatre, and stage legends Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart are reunited after their onscreen roles in the X-Men movies to perform Waiting for Godot at the Haymarket Theatre from 20 April.
Talents from New York and London will converge at The Old Vic from 23 May for The Bridge Project – a three year partnership between The Old Vic, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Neal Street Productions. Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes will direct a new version of The Cherry Orchard plus Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, in a cast that features Ethan Hawke, Simon Russell Beale, Sinead Cusack and recent star of Woody Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona, Rebecca Hall.
Other notable players making their way to London include Gillian Anderson, who will star in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at the Donmar Warehouse, joining a stellar cast that includes former Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston, Toby Stephens, Tara Fitzgerald and Anton Lesser.
Musical theatre is firmly “based on a film” this year as a blockbuster stage production of Sister Act joins a West End brimming with adaptations of movies, including recent new show Priscilla Queen of the Desert starring Jason Donovan and long-runners such as Hairspray and Dirty Dancing. Running from 7 May at the London Palladium, Sister Act is produced by the film’s original star Whoopi Goldberg and features Sheila Hancock and rising star Patina Miller, with music courtesy of Alan Menken (Disney’s Beauty & The Beast).
Other movie-to-stage shows on the horizon include the Broadway production of Legally Blond opening at the Savoy Theatre at the end of the year and a stage adaptation of Oscar winning film Ghost, directed by Matthew Warchus, set for 2010. Chief amongst the new musicals opening in London in the later part of 2009 will be Andrew Lloyd Webber’s world premiere of The Phantom of the Opera sequel Love Never Dies at the Adelphi Theatre in early November. The show is set to star current London Phantom Ramin Karimloo and will follow its London opening with productions in Toronto, Shanghai and Broadway.
A number of shows that have run successfully in other venues are also making their way into the West End including the acclaimed production of Steven Sondheim’s A Little Night Music starring Maureen Lipman at the Garrick Theatre, and smash-hit Broadway musical Spring Awakening – in a new UK production at the Novello Theatre.
Mark Temple Brown, Sales & Marketing Director of westendtheatre.com said: “London theatre is doing everything possible to ensure that it benefits from UK and overseas tourists coming to London. Given that Westendtheatre.com is currently offering discounts on over 30 shows – including big hitters such as Dirty Dancing, Hairspray, Les Miserables, Spring Awakening, Phantom and Billy Elliot, shows that everyone is focused on making this summer a success.”
Notes for editors:
Westendtheatre.com launched in January 2008 and is already one of the fastest growing theatre ticketing sites on the net. Westendtheatre.com provides thousands of special offer and discount tickets to London theatre, and boasts significant allocations of tickets to many in-demand West End shows. The website also includes special offers on Hotels & Theatre and Dinner & Theatre packages.