It has been confirmed that a stage adaptation of the 1998 Oscar-winning film Shakespeare In Love will premiere in the West End next summer.
Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall (Billy Elliot) from the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, the production will open at the Noel Coward Theatre (currently home to the Michael Grandage season) in early July 2014 with the exact dates to be confirmed.
Shakespeare in Love is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions and Sonia Friedman Productions. Directed and designed by Cheek by Jowl's Declan Donellan and Nick Ormerod, the production will feature a cast of over 26 actors and musicians.
Sonia Friedman (The Book of Mormon, Legally Blonde), who has been attached to the production since 2009, said: "Every now and then a story comes along that cries out to be staged. This is one such story... This project has been several years in development and Tom Schumacher and I are thrilled to be confirming its world premiere in London."
In the screen version of Shakespeare in Love, Joseph Fiennes played Will Shakespeare, who is suffering writer's block while working on what will become Romeo and Juliet. A young actor who has been cast to play Romeo is actually a noblewoman named Viola (played by Gwyneth Paltrow), who has had to disguise herself as it's against the law for women to perform on stage. Author and actor fall in love and their passionate, but doomed, love affair inspires Shakespeare's writing of his great tragedy.
The film, directed by John Madden, won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actress for Paltrow and Best Supporting Actress for Judi Dench, who made a cameo appearance as Queen Elizabeth.
Casting for the stage version is still to be announced.