Sheridan Smith will return to the London stage later this year to star in Brian Friel’s adaptation of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, which will play as part of the Old Vic’s autumn season.
Trevor Nunn, who last year directed Smith in Flare Path for which she won her second Olivier Award, joins her in the season, directing Cole Porter’s multi-award winning musical Kiss Me, Kate.
Directed by Anna Mackmin, Hedda Gabler will play from 5 September (press night 12 September) to 10 November. The story of a general’s daughter who marries a man she despises and becomes driven by fear and loathing, Ibsen’s masterpiece about the conflicting requirements of society and the individual explores Hedda Gabler’s corrosive descent into the treacherous void between expectation and reality.
Smith, who won the hearts of musical fans and critics alike with her Olivier Award-winning performance as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde The Musical, will star in the title role alongside The Archers’ Buffy Davis, star of the Donmar Warehouse’s Dimetos Anne Reid, Betty Blue Eyes’ Adrian Scarborough and Fenella Woolgar, who appeared in Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing, which was also directed by Mackmin.
Nunn’s production of Kiss Me, Kate, which will premiere at the Chichester Festival Theatre in June before playing at the Old Vic from 20 November (press night 3 December) to 2 March 2013, is an exuberant show within a show, bringing together the worlds of gun-wielding gangsters, sparring actors and The Taming Of The Shrew’s original characters.
Kiss Me, Kate’s cast includes musical theatre stars Alex Bourne (We Will Rock You, Chicago, Grease), David Burt (Les Misérables, Cats, Evita), Adam Garcia (Grease, Saturday Night Fever, Wicked), Hannah Waddingham (The Wizard Of Oz, Monty Python’s Spamalot, Into The Woods) and Clive Rowe (The Ladykillers, Fantasticks, Chicago).
Kevin Spacey, Artistic Director of the Old Vic, commented: “It’s going to be an incredible summer in London and I am delighted to announce these new productions. Trevor Nunn is a much-loved member of the Old Vic family and I’m thrilled to welcome him back with Kiss Me, Kate, a wonderful production which I know London audiences will embrace warmly.
“I am particularly pleased to unveil our production of Hedda Gabler, such an iconic and impactful play, with Sheridan Smith in the lead. Sheridan is a wonderful actress who has rightly received acclaim for her recent work and I am sure audiences will be intrigued to see her tackle this role.”
Hedda Gabler will begin the Old Vic’s autumn season following Michael Frayn’s Democracy, which has extended its run to 28 July.