We’re used to seeing celebrities lighting up screens big and small, but even the biggest names love putting their skills to the test by treading the boards on the West End and Broadway. A trip to London or New York offers a prime opportunity to see your favourite actors up close – here’s where you catch them in action this year.
Man of La Mancha: Kelsey Grammer
English National Opera, until 08 June
The Frasier star plays Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, who re-enacts his novel Don Quixote for a group of prisoners while awaiting trial during the Spanish Inquisition. Reviews have been lukewarm, but the musical, a collaboration with the English National Opera, pulls out all the stops for its most popular song, The Impossible Dream.
Death of a Salesman: Wendell Pierce
Young Vic, until 13 July
Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer-winning play is revived with a black Loman family, led by The Wire’s Wendell Pierce. The run – directed by Marianne Elliott, who helmed last year’s sensational Angels in America – has already sold out, but you can pick up £10 rush tickets online every Thursday at noon for the following week’s performance.
Rosmersholm: Hayley Atwell
Duke of York’s Theatre, until 20 July
Henrik Ibsen’s political drama boasts a much-lauded performance by the Captain America actor. Atwell is Rebecca, a feminist and radical thinker who spurs a respected pastor to action ahead of a crucial election, as the 133-year-old play is given sharp contemporary relevance.
The Starry Messenger: Matthew Broderick
Wyndham’s Theatre, until 10 August
Ferris Bueller makes his West End debut, reprising his role from the original off-Broadway production written by Oscar winner Kenneth Lonergan. Broderick plays an astronomy professor facing a mid-life crisis, growing apart from his wife (Elizabeth McGovern, best known as Downton Abbey’s Cora Crawley) and beginning an affair with a young nurse.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Gwendoline Christie
Bridge Theatre, from 03 June to 31 August
Already missing Game of Thrones? Brienne of Tarth takes to the stage this summer as Titania, queen of the fairies in Shakespeare’s beloved comedy. The theatre becomes an enchanted forest in this immersive production: seating is designed to bring you closer to the action, or you can opt for standing tickets in the pit to move around with the story.
Bitter Wheat: John Malkovich
Garrick Theatre, from 07 June to 21 September
One of the biggest theatre events of 2019 sees Malkovich back on stage after 33 years. Bitter Wheat is a new play directed by David Mamet, who won a Pulitzer for the smash hit Glengarry Glen Ross. Inspired by the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the story has been described as ‘a black farce’ by Malkovich, who hinted it may prove divisive with audiences.
Present Laughter: Andrew Scott
Old Vic, from 17 June to 10 August
Fresh from his turn as Fleabag’s ‘sexy priest’, Scott takes the lead in Noel Coward’s comic play. In the days before embarking on a tour abroad, a world-weary actor grapples with his own self-image, pursued by female admirers and estranged from his wife. Indira Varma, known for roles in Luther and Game of Thrones, also stars.
The Night of the Iguana: Clive Owen
Noel Coward Theatre, from 06 July to 28 September
Tennessee Williams’ play, which was adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Richard Burton and Ava Gardner, is revived with Owen as the disgraced reverend turned tour guide. A group of travellers, including Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn, are thrown together as they seek cover from a tropical storm in Mexico.
All My Sons: Annette Bening
American Airlines Theatre, until 30 June
Theatre has gone wild for Arthur Miller this year. London’s sold-out revival of All My Sons is just wrapping up, while the Broadway edition has been extended, giving you an extra chance to catch Homeland’s Tracy Letts and Oscar-nominated Annette Bening, who received a Tony nod for her powerhouse performance.
King Lear: Glenda Jackson, Ruth Wilson
Cort Theatre, until 07 July
The 82-year-old stage legend and two-time Oscar winner Glenda Jackson towers over this production with her gender-bending turn as King Lear. Wilson makes her Shakespeare debut with double roles as Cordelia and the Fool, while Philip Glass composed the score for this modern take on the tragedy.
Hillary and Clinton: Laurie Metcalf, John Lithgow
Golden Theatre, until 21 July
It doesn’t get much more topical than this: a reimagining of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, exploring questions of ‘likeability’ and ‘electability’ just as the 2020 race kicks into gear. Metcalf and Lithgow have earned rave reviews as the titular couple.
Burn This: Keri Russell, Adam Driver
Hudson Theatre, until 14 July
Lanford Wilson’s erotically charged play stars Russell and Driver as, respectively, a dancer mourning the sudden loss of her best friend, and her friend’s estranged older brother, who bursts into her life following his death.
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune: Audra McDonald, Michael Shannon
Broadhurst Theatre, until 25 August
Two heavy-hitters bring to life Terrence McNally’s romance about a diner waitress and a lonely cook whose first date turns into a night of passion, prompting the couple to consider something more than a one-night-stand.
To Kill a Mockingbird: Jeff Daniels
Shubert Theatre, until 23 February
Harper Lee’s classic novel has been adapted for the stage by West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin, with a cast led by Jeff Daniels. Reviews have been stellar, particularly highlighting Sorkin’s fresh spin on the book’s themes of racial injustice and sexual violence.
The Rose Tattoo: Marisa Tomei
American Airlines Theatre, from 19 September to 01 December
The Oscar winner returns to Broadway for a new revival of Tennessee Williams’ lesser-known play, which follows a Sicilian-American widow rekindling her spirit and her desire with a fiery truck driver.