Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews
The musical Annie, book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, based on the comic strip character Little Orphan Annie, created by Harold Gray, set in Depression era New York, with Miranda Hart, directed by Nikolai Foster, with choreography by Nick Winston, will open at the Piccadilly Theatre on 5th June.
Chichester Festival Theatre has announced its summer season. In the Festival Theatre: Alan Bennett's Forty Years On, set on a public school's headmaster's last day, with Richard Wilson, directed by Daniel Evans; Tennessee Williams's Sweet Bird Of Youth, about an ageing film star's relationship with a gigolo hell bent on achieving his own movie stardom, with Marcia Gay Harden and Brian J Smith, directed by Jonathan Kent; the musical Fiddler On The Roof, book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, the story of a milkman and his family in a rural Russian village during the turbulent times at the turn of the 20th century, with Omid Djalili and Tracy-Ann Oberman, directed by Daniel Evans; Alan Ayckbourn's The Norman Conquests, the trilogy in which the story of a group of characters over a weekend is played out simultaneously in the dining room, the living room and in the garden, directed by Blanche McIntyre; and Beauty And The Beast, directed by Dale Rooks.
In the Minerva Theatre: the musical Caroline, or Change, book and lyrics by Tony Kushner, music by Jeanine Tesori, about Civil Rights in 1960s Louisiana, with Sharon D Clarke, directed by Michael Longhurst; Githa Sowerby's The Stepmother, in which an orphan accepts a marriage proposal from an older man, directed by Richard Eyre; Shakespeare's King Lear, with Ian McKellen, directed by Jonathan Munby; and the premieres of Edna O'Brien's The Country Girls, in which best friends escape their traditional families and convent school, directed by Lisa Blair; Deborah Bruce's The House They Grew Up In, a story of hoarding siblings, directed by Jeremy Herrin; and James Graham's Quiz, about cheating in a TV game show, directed by Daniel Evans.
On The Casting Couch at the Menier Chocolate Factory: Eve Best, Anthony Head, Helen George and Edward Blumel will feature in Terence Rattigan's Love In Idleness, opening on 20th March; and Felicity Kendal and Maureen Lipman will play the title roles in Peter Shaffer's Lettuce And Lovage, opening on 17th May.
Hugh Whitemore's Sand In The Sandwiches, a one person play celebrating the life and work of John Betjamin, performed by Edward Fox, directed by Gareth Armstrong, will play at the Haymarket Theatre from 30th May to 3rd June.
The musical 110 In The Shade, book by N Richard Nash, music by Harvey Schmidt, lyrics by Tom Jones, adapted from Nash's play The Rainmaker, about a charismatic con man in an early 1900s western American town, directed by Randy Smartnick, with choreography by Kate McPhee, will open at Ye Olde Rose and Crown, in Walthamstow, opening on 12th May.
Moira Buffini's Gabriel, the story of a widow who does whatever it takes to keep her adolescent children safe in Nazi-occupied Guernsey, with Belinda Lang, Paul McGann, Jules Melvin, Robin Morrissey, Sarah Schoenbeck and Venice van Someren, directed by Kate McGregor, will open a regional tour at Richmond Theatre on 28th March.