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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 5th October 2018

The National Theatre has announced new shows in 2019. In the Olivier: the premiere of Andrea Levy's Small Island, adapted by Helen Edmundson, set in 1948 telling the story of a Jamaican immigrant newly arrived in London, directed by Rufus Norris; and David Hare's Peter Gynt, a contemporary adaptation of the play by Henrik Ibsen, with James McArdle, directed by Jonathan Kent; in the Lyttelton: Moliere's Tartuffe, in a new version by John Donnelly, directed by Blanche McIntyre; Caryl Churchill's Top Girls, examining the compromises women make in the quest for success, and what happens to those left behind, through a mixture of contemporary and historical figures, directed by Lyndsey Turner; Githa Sowerby's Rutherford And Son, about the struggle for control of a family business between a father and his rebellious daughter, in the period just before the First World War, with Roger Allam, directed by Polly Findlay; Simon Woods's Hansard, the story of a couple whose marital differences descend into chaos, with Lindsay Duncan and Alex Jennings, directed by Simon Godwin; and Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters, in a new version by Inua Ellams, relocating the story to 1960a Nigeria, directed by Nadia Fall.

In the Dorfman: ANNA, a headphone-based thriller created by Ella Hickson and Ben and Max Ringham, which transports audiences to 1968 East Berlin as a young couple's love is put to the test, directed by Natalie Abrahami; Mr Gum And The Dancing Bear - the Musical!, adapted by Andy Stanton from his Mr Gum children's books, music by Jim Fortune, directed by Amy Hodge; and Annie Baker's The Antipodes, about stories and the people who tell them, directed by Lila Neugebauer; plus the previously announced Martin Crimp's When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other - Twelve Variations On Samuel Richardson's Pamela, an exploration of the complicated roles that men and women play with Cate Blanchett, Stephen Dillane, Babirye Bukilwa, Jessica Gunning, Emma Hindle and Craig Miller, directed by Katie Mitchell; and the Steppenwolf Theatre Chicago production of Bruce Norris's Downstate, set in Illinois where four sex offenders share a home, when a man arrive to confront the person who abused him as a child for either closure, or revenge, with Glenn Davis, K Todd Freeman, Francis Guinan, Tim Hopper, Aimee Lou Wood, Cecilia Noble, Eddie Torres and Matilda Ziegler, directed by Pam MacKinnon; and in 2020, Richard Pyror On Fire, a one man bioplay about the American stand-up comedian, written and performed by Lenny Henry, directed by Paulette Randall.

The current Broadway production of the musical Dear Evan Hansen, book by Steven Levenson, music and lyrics by Benji Pasek and Justin Paul, a contemporary story of a teenager who feels he doesn't fit in but grasps at a way to do so, directed by Michael Greif, with choreography by Danny Mefford, will open at the Noel Coward Theatre in November next year.

David Ireland's Cyprus Avenue, which explores Ulster loyalism in Northern Ireland, with Stephen Rea, directed by Vicky Featherstone, will return to the Royal Court Theatre from 14th February.

The touring production of Fame The Musical, inspired by Alan Parker's 1980 film and the subsequent television series, telling the stories of a new generation of students at New York's High School of Performing Arts, from their auditions to graduation, conceived and developed by David de Silva, music by Steven Margoshes, lyrics by Jacques Levy, directed and choreographed by Nick Winston, will play at the Peacock Theatre, from 11th September to 19th October next year.

The musical Eugenius! by Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins, a teen-geek love story set against a backdrop of comic books and superheroes, directed by Ian Talbot, with choreography by Aaron Renfree, will transfer from The Other Palace in Victoria to the Ambassadors Theatre from 27th October.