10 plays coming to the West End that you cannot miss in 2020
This year has been a fine year for theatre, and a fitting end to the decade as we've been treated to some scintillating new plays and rediscovered old gems. 2020 looks set to provide much of the same, with some of the world's best actors, writers and directors set to bring more great new plays and revivals to the West End. Here are some of the highlights we're most looking forward to opening in London in the coming year.
And don't forget to check the 10 biggest musicals coming to the West End in 2020, too.
Tom Stoppard returns to the West End with his first new play in almost five years as he writes his most personal piece yet. Set in Vienna in 1900, the play examines the city's Jewish population and follows them through the decades leading up to the Second World War. A huge cast are set to perform Stoppard's play, which takes some inspiration from Stoppard's life, as he lost two sets of grandparents and many family members in Nazi concentration camps.
Wyndham's Theatre, from 25th January.
To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird is beloved by millions, and reached a whole new audience last year when Aaron Sorkin's new play based on the book ran on Broadway. Directed by Bartlett Sher, whose work we've recently seen in London in Oslo and The King and I, it tells the story of a small-town lawyer in the Deep South of the US defending a black man convicted of rape. Jeff Daniels starred in the production on Broadway, and London stage favourite Rhys Ifans will step into Atticus' shoes for the West End premiere.
Gielgud Theatre, from 21st May.
Life of Pi
Yann Martel's 2001 novel is one of the biggest sellers of the past twenty years; despite being rejected by five London publishers, it went on to sell over ten million copies. While it received renewed interest following a major motion picture, Life of Pi - which tells the story of a young Indian bot who is the sole human survivor of a shipwreck - gets another new lease of life in 2020 when Lolita Chakrabarti's adaptation comes to Wyndham's in the summer.
Wyndham's Theatre, from 22nd June.
Conor McPherson will take his pen to Anton Chekhov's classic text when his version of Uncle Vanya opens at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the New Year. Toby Jones and Richard Armitage will star in Ian Rickson's production of the play, which sees an elderly professor and his glamorous wife visit their rural estate. They are joined by the brother of the professor's first wife, Vanya, and the local doctor Astrov, who both fall for the professor's current love. The cast also includes Peter Wight, Ciaran Hinds and Aimee Lou Wood.
Harold Pinter Theatre, from 14th January.
Book Uncle Vanya tickets
Mischief Theatre's year-long residency at the Vaudeville Theatre continues with their latest in the 'Goes Wrong' collection, a collaboration with legendary Vegas magicians Penn and Teller. If you've ever seen a magic show full of stunts, you'll know that wincing feeling that something could go wrong, so the Mischief crew satisfy that feeling in the most hilarious way with this magic show.
Vaudeville Theatre, from 14th December 2019 (opens January 2020).
Robert Icke may have left his post as associate director at the Almeida, but his final production at the theatre - and one of the best plays 2019 - is set for a transfer to the West End. The Doctor is based on Arthur Schnitzler's Professor Bernhardi, and the play sees a doctor facing a medical dilemma which blows up into a national scandal. Juliet Stevenson reprises the role as the titular doctor, in what is a gargantuan performance - she doesn't leave the stage for the entire three-hour runtime (including the interval!).
Duke of York's Theatre, from 20th April.
Harry Potter himself Daniel Radcliffe returns to the West End and The Old Vic for the first time since he appeared in Tom Stoppard's play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Alongside Alan Cummings, he will star in Endgame - not a stage adaptation of Marvel's big screen Avengers finale (could you imagine?) but Samuel Beckett's one-act play about Hamm, a blind man who is immobile, and his servant Clov. It is presented as a double-bill with another of Beckett's short plays, Rough for Theatre II.
The Old Vic, from 1st February.
As Ben Elton brings his TV sitcom Upstart Crow from screen to stage, actor David Mitchell makes his theatre debut as he plays The Bard himself William Shakespeare. Taking inspiration from Shakespeare's life, the sitcom revolves around the production process of Romeo and Juliet. Many of the show's peripheral cast will join Mitchell on stage, including Gemma Whelan and Mark Heap - so lovers of the show will know a familiar face or two.
Gielgud Theatre, from 7th February.
Kunene and the King
Anthony Sher and John Kani bring the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Kunene and The King to the Ambassadors Theatre in London. The pair play two South Africans - one a celebrated classical actor and another his stay-at-home nurse - in the 2019 post-apartheid country, and discuss both their differences, and what brings them together: the works of William Shakespeare.
Ambassadors Theatre, from 24th January 2020.
The Mother of Dragons herself Emilia Clarke will star in Jamie Lloyd's second production of his season at the Playhouse Theatre, as she makes her West End debut in an adaptation of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull. Anya Reiss' version will be directed by Lloyd, and the production will be sandwiched between his productions of Cyrano de Bergerac starring James McAvoy, and A Doll's House with Jessica Chastain. Stars aplenty in 2020.
Playhouse Theatre, from 11th March.
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