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July 2013 - This Month in the West End

This month in the West End: Rupert Grint set to make his stage debut in Jez Butterworth’s Mojo later this year, The Sound Of Music Opens in Regent’s Park, Youngest ever Billy joins the cast of Billy Elliot The Musical, Cast announced for Sam Mendes’ King Lear at the National Theatre, The Donmar Warehouse reveals a West End Transfer in January for The Weir.

Rupert Grint set to make his stage debut in Jez Butterworth’s Mojo later this year!

The theatrical grapevine has been awash with rumors about the casting of the revival of Jez Butterworth's play Mojo. Several big names were doing the rounds, but the one that stood out was Harry Potter star Rupert Grint. Now that the cat’s out of the bag, it has been officially announced that Grint will star alongside Downton Abbey star Brendan Coyle and West End favorite Ben Whishaw.

The production will be directed by Ian Rickson, the man behind the original 1995 Royal Court version and the directorial genius behind Butterworth’s Jerusalem, which enjoyed huge success both on the West End and Broadway. When asked about the casting of Mojo, Rickson is quoted as saying, ‘I'd seen the Potter films with my daughter and always thought Rupert was truthful as Ron Weasley. There's something ordinary and centred about him, and in this world of Mojo you want that grittiness."

The play is set in a 1950’s club in the heart of London’s Soho and follows a rock singer that makes friends with a seedy bunch of gangsters in the club’s underworld.

Mojo is produced by Sonia Friedman and will open at the Harold Pinter Theatre on 26 October 2013. Tickets for the show will be released for general sale in September 2013.

The Sound Of Music Opens in Regent’s Park

As Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice takes its final bow at the Open Air Theatre in Regents Park, the classical musical and all-time-family-favorite The Sound Of Music steps into the spotlight. With a timeless score which includes ‘Do-Re-Mi’, ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’, ‘My Favourite Things’, ‘Sixteen Going on Seventeen’ and ‘Edelweiss’, The Sound of Music has inspired audiences across the world with its story of love and freedom.

Director Rachel Kavanaugh is at the helm of this new stage version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic. Working alongside Kavanaugh, is choreographer Alistair David and Olivier Award-winning set and costume designer, Peter McKintosh. Olivier nominee Charlotte Wakefield is donning the wimple as Maria Rainer and Michael Xavier will play Captain Von Trapp.

The Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre offers a unique theatre experience for visitors. The completely outdoor theatre boasts a steeply raked auditorium of 1,240 seats – one of London’s largest, yet most intimate theatres.

The Sound Of Music runs from 25 July to 7 September 2013.

Youngest ever Billy joins the cast of Billy Elliot The Musical!

Elliott Hanna from Liverpool has been announced as the thirty-fourth and youngest boy ever to play Billy Elliot in the West End. Also joining the cast will be 10-year-old Demi Lee from Middlesbrough, as Billy’s dance teacher’s daughter Debbie. Now in its ninth year at the Victoria Palace Theatre, Billy Elliot the Musical was recently awarded its fifth Olivier Award – the BBC Radio 2 Audience Award voted for by the theatregoing public.

Earlier this year Billy Elliot the Musical welcomed its 4 millionth patron to the Victoria Palace Theatre where the show has now extended booking to 21 June 2014.

Cast announced for Sam Mendes’ King Lear at the National Theatre.

Straight after the success of his production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sam Mendes has assembled a stellar cast for his forthcoming production of King Lear at the National Theatre. The selection is made up of acclaimed NT regulars with Simon Russell Beale in the title role. Kate Fleetwood, Anna Maxwell Martin and Olivia Vinall will take on the three daughters of Lear, whilst Adrian Scarborough will show off his comedy credentials as The Fool. King Lear will start its run on the Olivier stage of the National Theatre in January 2014.

Kate Fleetwood is no stranger to Shakespeare, having played Lady Macbeth in her husband Rupert Goold’s 2007 production of Macbeth. She was nominated for an Olivier Award for her role in the NT’s smash-hit verbatim musical London Road and appeared in Life Is A Dream at the Donmar Warehouse and Nancy Harris’ Our New Girl at The Bush theatre.

Anna Maxwell Martin will play Fleetwood’s younger sister Regan. Like her stage sister, Maxwell Martin is returning to Shakespeare after playing Isabella in Measure For Measure at the Almeida Theatre. She returns to the National Theatre after her first outing on the Olivier stage as the 12-year-old Lyra Belacqua in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials back in 2004.

Olivia Vinall is the newcomer of the group, having only graduated from drama school in 2010. Still, also no stranger to The Bard, having played Desdemona in Nicholas Hytner’s hit production of Othello at the National Theatre. The famous tale of the Moor of Venice who descends into madness will begin rehearsals in November before hitting the Olivier stage for previews beginning in mid-January.

The Donmar Warehouse reveals a West End Transfer in January for The Weir.

Donmar artistic director Josie Rourk has announced that her acclaimed revival of Conor McPherson’s The Weir will be given a new home at Wyndham’s Theatre in January 2014.

The production, which stars Brian Cox, Ardal O'Hanlon, Risteard Cooper, Peter McDonald and Dervla Kirwan, will open at Wyndham's on 22 January 2014, with previews from 16 January.

Designed by Tom Scutt and directed by Rourk herself, the production was widely praised when it ran at the Donmar from 18 April to 8 June this year. The play tells the story of a group of Irish men that tell ghost stories in a pub in order to impress a young woman, but one story is more chilling and more real than any of the listeners are prepared for.

The Weir will be the first West End transfer under Josie Rourke’s leadership of the Donmar Warehouse.