Theater

PBS’ ‘Great Performances’ to Air Award Winning ‘Gypsy’ Revival Starring Imelda Staunton

Imelda Staunton in "Gypsy" (Photo: Johan Persson)

Exciting news for fans of British theater! PBS’s Great Performances will be broadcasting the recent revival production of classic American musical Gypsy starring Imelda Staunton for US audiences this Fall.

Gypsy tells the story of ambitious show business mother Rose, who treks across America with her daughters Baby June and Louise in search of success with their homespun vaudeville act. The show is loosely based on the 1957 memoirs of famous burlesque entertainer Gypsy Rose Lee, and features lyrics by the great Stephen Sondheim and music by Jule Styne.

First Look at Benedict Cumberbatch in Rehearsals for 'Hamlet'

After nearly a year of planning, excitement and record-breaking ticket sales, the time is almost upon us – Benedict Cumberbatch’s production of Hamlet is slated to open this August for a three-month run in London’s West End. And, with opening night nearing, rehearsals for the show are officially underway, and the first photos of the cast have been released.

You can see a full gallery at the Guardian’s website, which includes full details about the production’s various cast members, which include Cirian Hinds as Claudius, Jim Norton as Polonius, Sian Brooke as Ophelia, Anastasia Hill as Gertrude and lots more.

Helen Mirren Will Bring the Queen to Broadway in 2015 with ‘The Audience’

Theater lovers of America, it’s okay if you’re sometimes secretly sad that we so infrequently get the chance to see the many great British productions that go up in the West End. Sure, sometimes you get lucky and are on a UK vacation right when something grand is on, but given the sheer volume of long-running shows and ever-changing limited engagement options in London, well, we all know we’re missing out on something incredible pretty much nearly all the time.

Thanks to the heroic efforts of outfits such as the National Theatre Live program or various Fathom Event promotions, we do occasionally get the opportunity to see simulcasts of particularly popular British theatrical productions on a significant scale in America – both Helen McCrory’s Medea and Gillian Anderson’s A Streetcar Named Desire were recently screened nationwide, and Danny Boyle’s brilliant production of Frankenstein is about to get another round of encore runs in honor of Halloween (and the fact that the Benedict Cumberbatch-led production consistently sells out houses all over the country). But, as much as we love it, it’s just not the same.

However, sometimes, a particularly popular or acclaimed British production will be picked up and recreated on Broadway, giving American fans with the ability and desire to go to New York the chance to see the show in person for themselves. Most recently, Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe reprised his leading role in The Cripple of Inishmaan last winter, but come 2015, the Great White Way is going to get a little bit more regal.

Richard Armitage to Star in ‘The Crucible’ in the West End This Summer

Just in case you weren’t jealous enough of the incredible London theatre scene – where Sherlock stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are both set to hit the West End playing Shakespeare over the next year – well, here’s another reason.

The Hobbit star Richard Armitage is set to star in director YaÑ'l Farber’s revival of Arthur Miller’s very American masterpiece The Crucible at the Old Vic Theatre this summer.

Armitage, best known these days among mainstream audiences for playing walking glamour shot Thorn Oakenshield in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy, should be very familiar to fans of British television, having had (rather dishy) starring roles in MI-5, North and South and Robin Hood. On stage, Armitage has previously performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company in The Duchess of Malfi and Macbeth.

To Be, Apparently: Benedict Cumberbatch to Perform 'Hamlet' in London in 2015

Anyone up for a group jaunt across the pond next summer? We’ve all got the perfect reason to go now.

After much speculation, it’s finally been confirmed that Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch will return to the stage next year, to star in a new production of Hamlet in the West End. The production will run for twelve weeks, and is tentatively scheduled from August 5 to October 31, 2015 at London’s Barbican Theatre. Further ticketing information and booking details will be announced in May of this year, so keep an eye out.

Cumberbatch has gone on the record before about how much he wants to play the character who is arguably Shakespeare’s most famous tragic hero, claiming that he feels that he’s now at an “appropriate age” to take on the role.

‘Harry Potter’ Star Daniel Radcliffe Returning to Broadway in ‘The Cripple of Inishmaan’

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is headed back to the Great White Way this Spring! He’ll be starring in a Broadway version of Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy The Cripple of Inishmaan, reprising his role from last year’s West End production at the Noel Coward Theatre. The entire London cast from that Michael Grandage-directed revival will also transfer to Broadway along with Radcliffe.

McDonagh’s play is set in the 1930s and the story centers on the inhabitants of a small Irish island stirred up by the news that a Hollywood movie is filming nearby. Radcliffe portrays the titular cripple, who want to be in the film more than anything, if only to escape the tedium of his daily life. This will be, incidentally, the first ever Broadway production of Inishmaan.

Read on for more details.

Get Your First Look at Tom Hiddleston’s ‘Coriolanus’ Which Will Stream to Cinemas Worldwide

Tom Hiddleston, internet darling and star of such fan favorites as The Hollow Crown and the Thor movies, is taking to the stage for his next role. He’ll be starring in the Donmar Warehouse’s production of Coriolanus in London, playing the lead role opposite an all-star cast that includes Sherlock’s Mark Gatiss among its ranks.

The West End production is sold out for the duration of its run (the Donmar Warehouse is an infamously small space), but the show will be broadcast worldwide through the National Theatre’s (awesome) NT Live program on January 30. Many international encore dates are set around the world in February, so check your local theaters for exact screenings.

It looks fantastic – and it’s okay if you’re also super jealous of those lucky folks that score tickets in London!

Click through for more details about the show, including a preview and some rehearsal photos.

David Tennant’s Turn as Richard II to Broadcast in US Cinemas

Doctor Who star David Tennant is not only putting Ten’s brown trenchcoat this Fall, he’s also busy sporting a crown. The actor is currently starring in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Richard II in Shakespeare’s birthplace of Stratford-Upon-Avon, playing the titular monarch who is overthrown by his cousin Boilingbroke. (If this story sounds familiar, it’s because this play was recently included in Great Performances mini-series The Hollow Crown, though in that instance Ben Whishaw was the one giving the famous speech about sitting on the ground and telling sad stories of the death of kings.)

Early reviews praised Tennant’s “mesmerizing” performance in the lead role, even those that were a bit more iffy on the show overall. Though the most often-remarked upon feature does seem to be the impressive mane of hair extensions Tennant is sporting – a long, flowing sort of hairdo that is definitely different than almost anything you’ve seen the actor with before. (It’s also apparently to help underscore the whole Christ-imagery thing in the play itself, but. Well. Wow. There’s a lot of it.)

Luckily, there’s an alternative available for those of us who don’t have tickets or can’t pop to Statford to see this production (and the amazing hair) for ourselves. The RSC has decided to screen the play in cinemas around the world and it’s probably coming very soon to a town near you. (DC locals see the end of this post for details.)

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