London Datebook: Memphis, Sunny Afternoon & More

first_img ALSO: The director Jamie Lloyd’s darkly compelling take on the onetime Broadway hit Urinetown transfers to the Apollo Theatre on the West End, opening Oct. 8 and with stars Jonathan Slinger, Jenna Russell, and Simon Paisley Day still along for the ride; Matthew Seadon-Young is replacing Ghost alum Richard Fleeshman as Bobby Strong this time out. Last week for an unusually strong outdoor season at Shakespeare’s Globe, which concludes Oct. 12 with director Blanche McIntyre’s joyous take on the Bard’s shortest play, The Comedy of Errors. ALSO: A busy month for Broadway musicals on the West End finds The Scottsboro Boys moving across the River Thames from its acclaimed run at the Young Vic and now on to the Garrick, opening October 20. Angus Jackson, the director who recently brought Frank Langella in King Lear from Chichester to Brooklyn, opens his revival of the Tim Firth play Neville’s Island October 21 at the Duke of York’s Theatre; Miles Jupp and Neil Morrissey are among the cast. The lazy days of summer are all but forgotten as the theater season kicks into autumnal overdrive. Highlights this month include a slew of New York musicals either making their London debuts (Memphis, Here Lies Love) or getting a West End upgrade (The Scottsboro Boys, Urinetown). Elsewhere, the classics return in abundance in the capital while Olivier winner Imelda Staunton cries “sing out, Louise” out of town. For more details, read on. OCTOBER 13-19 London Love: The David Byrne/Fatboy Slim musical Here Lies Love has been one of the unexpected New York theater sensations of recent years, and now it crosses the Atlantic to christen the new Dorfman space within the National Theater complex, opening October 13. Alex Timbers (Rocky) once again directs, with Natalie Mendoza (an alum, briefly, of the Spider-Man musical) in the leading role of Imelda Marcos. ALSO: The Chekhovs have it with productions of two of the Russian master’s defining plays opening within days of one another. First up on October 13 is John Hannah in a contemporary Uncle Vanya at the St James Theatre; three days later comes the opening of director Katie Mitchell’s take on The Cherry Orchard at the Young Vic. Out of town, Imelda Staunton gives us her long-awaited Mama Rose in Gypsy, opening Oct. 14 at Chichester: Lara Pulver has the title role and the West End is on very keen standby. ALSO: Fiona Button and Max Bennett take the lead roles in the Wanamaker Playhouse staging at Shakespeare’s Globe of ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore; director Michael Longhurst moves on from here to direct Jake Gyllenhaal on Broadway in Constellations. Writer Rona Munro’s three-part trilogy of Scottish kingship, The James Plays, finishes its sellout National Theatre run Oct. 29 before what looks likely to be a sweep of end-of-season Best Play awards.center_img OCTOBER 20-26 Hockadoo: Can the Brits even say that word? They’ll have to learn when the Tony-winning musical Memphis opens October 23 at the Shaftesbury Theatre, the West End’s de facto Broadway outpost given other tenants over time like Hairspray and Rock of Ages. Irishman Killian Donnelly (The Commitments) and The Bodyguard sensation Beverley Knight take the starring roles this time out. OCTOBER 6-12 Ladies’ Night: It was almost two years ago that Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd reasserted her classical theater credentials and then some with an all-female production of Julius Caesar that electrified audiences at the Donmar before transferring to New York. Lloyd is back at the same Covent Garden venue with a different Shakespeare play, Henry IV opening October 9, and the same leading lady, Harriet Walter. Will theatrical lightning strike twice? Time will tell. View Comments OCTOBER 27 – NOVEMBER 2 Kinky Songs: The music of iconic British rock band The Kinks has given rise to Sunny Afternoon, a jukebox musical with a difference that premiered Off West End earlier this year at the Hampstead Theatre and gets a West End opening October 28 at the Harold Pinter Theatre. Edward Hall directs with John Dagliesh reprising his role as the group’s lead singer/songwriter Ray Davies.last_img read more