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Katharine McPhee as Jenna in Waitress

Katharine McPhee as Jenna in Waitress

McPheever hits London, Evita returns and more – the weekly round-up

Carly-Ann Clements

By Carly-Ann Clements First Published 23 November 2018, Last Updated 26 November 2018

Fresh out the oven is our weekly round-up of theatre news. Find all of the week’s biggest theatre news stories below and get informed without having to trawl the internet for all the latest goss.

This week, we have some US TV stars making their way to the West End stage for the first time, we’ve rounded up 11 of the hottest shows that have star casts so you can get your stargazing on this winter, plus we’ve got a panel of theatre experts discussing how to break into the theatre industry.

Waitress casting announced!

Katharine McPhee as Jenna in Waitress

Well, the lead has been cast at least. Katharine McPhee – American Idol and Smash star – will be making her West End debut when she reprises the role of Jenna in Waitress in February. Katharine made her Broadway debut when she played Jenna on Broadway earlier this year so we’re expecting amazing things.

Kelsey Grammer is coming to the West End

Kelsey Grammer will star in Man Of La Mancha

Another TV star set to make their West End debut is Kelsey Grammer! He will be starring in Man Of La Mancha at the London Coliseum from April. It’s the first time the classic musical – based on the classic novel Don Quixote – will be staged in London for over 50 years. He will star opposite the international opera star and soprano Danielle de Niese.

David Thaxton to star as The Phantom

David Thaxton in Jesus Christ Superstar (Photo: Johan Persson)

More casting announcements come in the form of Welsh singer and Olivier Award-winning actor David Thaxton who will be donning the mask and cape to play The Phantom. The star, who recently played Javert in Les Misérables, will be covering for Tim Howar from Monday 10 December 2018 until May 2019 while Mike is touring with his band, Mike And The Mechanics.

We got a sneak peek at Summer And Smoke

Matthew Needham and Patsy Ferran in Summer And Smoke (Photo: Marc Brenner)

Summer And Smoke was a runaway success when it played at the Almeida. It was a complete sell-out with rave reviews. So a West End transfer was eagerly anticipated. It happened this week when it opened on Tuesday (20 November) at the Duke Of York’s Theatre, and we gave you a sneak peek at the production shots of this hot, hot show. Not only that, we sat down with leads Patsy Ferran and Matthew Needham which you can watch, too.

Wicked extends its West End run

Alice Fearn (Elphaba) and Sophie Evans (Glinda) in Wicked (Photo: Darren Bell)

No one mourns the wicked because Wicked’s sticking around for a while! 500,000 new tickets have been released and the run extended until 30 November 2019. Five additional matinee performances have also been added to the current Christmas schedule so you can have a truly magical festive season!

Do some stargazing in the West End this winter

Company at Gielgud Theatre (Photo: Brinkhoff/Mogenburg)

The stars are well and truly out this winter… and they’re all hanging out on London stages. From the biggest names in film and TV to Broadway legends, comedians to reality TV judges, we have them. We’ve listed 11 brilliant shows that have starry casts so you don’t miss the show that has your fave famous face in. Find out what Kit Harington, David Suchet, Todrick Hall, Lee Evans, Dawn French and a whole host of other celebs are doing, below.

Jamie Lloyd is going to direct Evita for the 2019 Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre season

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre (Photo: David Jensen)

After the rip-roaring success of the Pinter At The Pinter season, Jamie Lloyd is set to direct Evita at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre next summer. The rousing musical will conclude the season and will run from 2 August – 21 September. 

Why you should visit Theatreland this Christmas

Let the lights of Theatreland add a bit of sparkle to your festivities this Christmas. We’ve put together a handy little guide that’ll help you get more out of your theatre trip including meal deals, 2-for-1 river cruises and more!

This week was TheatreCraft!


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On Monday, we welcomed the next generation of theatremakers at TheatreCraft. The one-day event was packed full of talks, workshops and panels that were created to help people aged 16-30 break into the theatre industry. Watch the final panel of the day via the video above or click below to watch it on YouTube.

You can watch Maisie Williams in I And You free on Instagram

Maisie Williams (Caroline) in I And You at Hampstead Theatre (Photo: Manuel Harlan)

Phones and theatre don’t generally go hand in hand, but with this brand new initiative from Hampstead Theatre, that might be a thing of the past. They’ve paired up with Instagram to screen the acclaimed play I And You for 72 hours for free from 30 November. Find out exactly how to watch by clicking below.

There was plenty of other news this week. To see what else you missed, click here.


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david thaxton katharine mcphee kelsey grammer man of la mancha summer and smoke the phantom of the opera waitress wicked

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