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This Week In The West End #WestEndWeek

This week will see the first major opening of 2014 when Ghosts, which transferred to the West End’s Trafalgar Studios late last year straight from the Almeida Theatre, has its press night on Tuesday (14th January). The already critically acclaimed production stars Lesley Manville who has received high praise for her magnificent performance.

Ghosts is directed by Richard Eyre who is fast becoming one of the West End’s busiest directors. He recently directed Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest musical Stephen Ward which opened last month at the Aldwych Theatre and is currently preparing to direct The Pajama Game which transfers to the Shaftesbury Theatre from May following its run at the Chichester Festival Theatre last year.

The Almeida Theatre is going from strength to strength with countless West End transfers. Ghosts’ West End transfer follows the hugely popular Chimerica which also transferred to the West End last year. Currently running at the Almeida is American Psycho starring Doctor Who’s Matt Smith. As tickets are like gold dust a transfer is desired by many but yet to be confirmed.
The Weir, by Conor McPherson, begins previews this Thursday (16th January) at the Wyndham’s Theatre following a hugely successful sold out run at the Donmar Warehouse last year. The original Donmar cast are reprising their roles in the production which marks the Donmar’s first West End transfer since Josie Rourke became Artistic Director.
Sadly I missed The Weir during its run at the Donmar last year but I saw another McPherson play, The Night Alive, which ran immediately after and transferred to New York. The Night Alive was one of the darkest and grittiest pieces of theatre I have ever seen and I look forward to seeing how The Weir compares.
It’s hard to believe that it’s almost time for The Book of Mormon’s first cast change as it feels like the West End production only opened a few months ago. As the production prepares to celebrate its first anniversary, several new cast members will begin rehearsals this week.
Joining the cast are: Hugo Harold Harrison, Kevin Harvey, Christopher Copeland, Keisha T Fraser, Sia Kiwa, Joshua Liburd, David McMullan, Felix Mosse, Tanya Nicole-Edwards, Ashley Samuels, Rhys Taylor and Michael Vinsen. It is wonderful that the four leads, Gavin Creel (Elder Price), Jared Gertner (Elder Cunningham), Alexia Khadime (Nabulungi) and Stephen Ashfield (Elder McKinley), have all extended their contracts. The cast couldn’t be stronger.
Also starting rehearsals this week are the cast of Urinetown. The show begins previews at the St James Theatre late next month. Directed by Jamie Lloyd, Urinetown has a very exciting cast including Marc Elliott (Mr. McQueen), Richard Fleeshman (Bobby Strong) and Jenna Russell (Penelope Pennywise).
It was recently announced that Simon Paisley Day will complete the cast of Urinetown as Caldwell B. Cladwell. His most notable credits include BBC’s Sherlock & the brand new series Musketeers, the National’s Twelfth Night, The Low Road at the Royal Court and The Taming of the Shrew at Shakespeare’s Globe.
Last week I wrote that The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time was scheduled to resume performances at the Apollo Theatre from tonight (13th Jan) but it has since been announced that the production will transfer to the Gielgud Theatre following the Apollo ceiling collapse.
The National Theatre's play will open at its new home on 8th July 2014 (previews from 24th June), with an initial booking period through to 17th January 2015. Those who had booked to see the show at the Apollo will have priority booking for the Gielgud run.
Andrew Tomlins

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