Summer is officially winding down, but there’s no shortage of openings and special theatrical events all month long, from revivals of classic musicals (Guys and Dolls) to the European premiere of an off-Broadway favorite (Dogfight). Plus, Maria Friedman sings Cole Porter, a last chance to see The Bodyguard and plenty more. For more information, read on.
Night, Reg: The title character doesn’t actually appear in the late Kevin Elyot’s gay-themed play My Night With Reg, which gets a major London revival opening August 5 at the Donmar Warehouse and with musical veteran Julian Ovenden (Finding Neverland, Grand Hotel) taking on a straight—so to speak—part. Robert Hastie directs this 20th-anniversary revival of one of the defining British plays of the 1990s.
ALSO: Final performances August 9 of several intriguing new plays, starting with American dramatist Jennifer Haley’s darkly disturbing Royal Court entry, The Nether, which posits a virtual world that leading lady Amanda Hale is keen to police. The same night sees the final performance of Torben Betts’s Invincible at the St. James Theatre, about a collision of outlook and class in a small northern English town.
Send in the Marines: Dogfight was a 1991 film starring River Phoenix and Lili Taylor before becoming an acclaimed off-Broadway musical in 2012. Now, the Benj Pasek and Justin Paul collaboration crosses the Atlantic, opening August 13 at the Southwark Playhouse—the site of last summer’s much-lauded revival of Titanic. Matt Ryan directs and Rock of Ages alum Jamie Muscato leads the cast.
ALSO: It's the penultimate week to catch the summer’s biggest West End hit, Skylight, in a Stephen Daldry-directed production starring Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan that heads next year to Broadway. Ireland’s ever-enterprising Rough Magic troupe returns to London for the first time in eight years with Mark Cantan's new comedy Jezebel, which puts a couple’s sex life under the spotlight. Opening night is August 14 at the Soho Theatre.
Rockin’ the Boat: Frank Loesser’s immortal 1950 musical Guys and Dolls is rarely long-absent from British stages, and here it is again in a fresh Chichester Festival Theatre production from American director Gordon Greenberg, with choreography by ballet world regular Carlos Acosta. The cast is headed by Olivier winner Sophie Thompson (younger sister of Emma) as the adenoidal Adelaide. Opening night is August 21 on the Sussex playhouse’s newly restored mainstage.
ALSO: Back in London, August 21 is the opening night of Benjamin Scheuer’s widely acclaimed off-Broadway solo musical The Lion, which alights at the St. James Theatre Studio for three weeks. Cole Porter’s Anything Goes plays a five-performance engagement from August 20 through 23, with Olivier winners Maria Friedman and Jenna Russell among those on hand to belt out Cole Porter’s iconic score.
Girl Talk: Performances are underway for Denise Van Outen’s one-woman musical play Some Girl I Used To Know, co-written by the actress with Terry Ronald and at the Arts Theatre following a UK tour. Van Outen’s London and Broadway credits include Tell Me on a Sunday, Chicago, and Legally Blonde, and the venture sounds very much like Tell Me on a Sunday for the internet age.
ALSO: It's your last chance to see Kathleen Turner growling her way across the Duchess Theatre stage in Bakersfield Mist opposite Tony-winner Ian McDiarmid; the American two-hander closes August 30, in addition to The Bodyguard. The Thea Sharrock-directed musical adaptation of the Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner film will conclude its run at the Adelphi Theatre after nearly two years.