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Benedict Cumberbatch returns to the stage in August 2015 to give us his Hamlet, at London's Barbican Theatre

Benedict Cumberbatch returns to the stage in August 2015 to give us his Hamlet

We’ve looked back ad nauseum over the past fortnight at the best of #theatre2014; now it’s time to look forward. And there’s SO much to look forward to theatrically.

To help you keep track of all the new year picks and predictions, here’s a handy 2015 recommendations round-up. Having perused them all, let me summarise by telling you that, most likely to figure on folks’ lists are, by type:

  • New West End musical: Beautiful – Broadway import, telling the story of chart-topping singer-songwriter Carole King. Katie Brayben stars as King. At the Aldwych Theatre from 10 February
  • West End musical transfer: Gypsy – Imelda Staunton stars as the ultimate showbiz mother in this Chichester Festival revival of another Broadway musical. At the Savoy Theatre from 28 March
  • West End play transfer: A View from the Bridge – Mark Strong, Nicola Walker and Phoebe Fox reprise their roles in Ivo van Hove’s radical reinvention of Arthur Miller’s classic. Transferring from Young Vic to Wyndham’s Theatre from 10 February
  • New Play: The Hard Problem – Tom Stoppard’s first play since Rock ‘n’ Roll in 2006, and his first for the National since The Coast of Utopia trilogy in 2002, helmed by outgoing artistic director Nicholas Hytner. At the NT’s Dorfman Theatre from 21 January, broadcast to cinemas via NT Live on 16 April
  • Play Revival: The Ruling Class – James McAvoy returns to Jamie Lloyd’s Trafalgar Transformed season to play a schizophrenic aristocrat in the first West End revival of Peter Barnes’ cult comedy. At Trafalgar Studios from 16 January
  • Shakespeare Production: Hamlet – starring Benedict Cumberbatch and directed by Chimerica’s Lyndsey Turner, this one sold out in record time. To be or not to be… a critical hit too? At the Barbican Theatre from 5 August
  • Off-West End Production: Bugsy Malone – Alan Parker’s musical for child-sized, splurge gun-wielding mobsters and their molls, helmed by artistic director Sean Holmes. At Lyric Hammersmith from 11 April
  • Regional Production(s): Crouch, Touch, Pause Engage (National Theatre of Wales on tour), Death of a Salesman starring Antony Sher (RSC, Stratford-upon-Avon), The Life and Times of Fanny Hill starring Caroline Quentin (Bristol Old Vic), the Sarah Kane season (Sheffield Crucible).

But, honestly, these are just for starters! Follow the links for many many more things to fill your theatregoing nights over the next 12 months…


ABSOLUTE MUST-SEES

THE TOP 15 SHOWS YOU MUST SEE THIS YEAR

Targets include Beautiful, A View from the Bridge, Gypsy, James Graham’s The Vote, Mike Bartlett’s Game, Mark Rylance at the Globe and a speculated last gasp for Kevin Spacey at the Old Vic…

TELEGRAPH I: 96 things you shouldn’t miss in 2015

Only a handful of the 96 are theatre, but they include The Hard Problem and Man and Superman (with Ralph Fiennes) at the NT, and Eugene Onegin and Antigone (with Juliette Binoche) at the Barbican…

TELEGRAPH II: 8 reasons to be excited about 2015

Dominic Cavendish considers the impact of new artistic directorships. For Off-West End plays, his picks include The Vote (Donmar), Multitudes (Tricycle) and How to Hold Your Breath (Royal Court)…

GUARDIAN: 150 unmissable arts events for 2015

Amongst new year recommendations here: Beautiful, The Audience with Kristin Scott Thomas, Stoppard’s The Hard Problem and, regionally, Sheffield’s Sarah Kane season and Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage…

INDEPENDENT: 10 faces to watch in 2015

Evening Standard newcomer winner Laura Jane Matthewson, who made her debut last year in Dogfight, is theatre’s one to watch for the Indy. Another stage starter, Colin Morgan, is picked for TV glory…


STILL MORE PREVIEW PICKS

BBC ONLINE

In addition to Benedict’s Hamlet, Damian Lewis in American Buffalo and other London shows, Tim Masters highlights regional choices including The Hudsucker Proxy, Mermaid and NT of Scotland’s Rites…

MUSICAL THEATRE REVIEW

When it comes to upcoming musicals, you can’t get more comprehensive than this indispensable list of openings so far announced for the West End (Beautiful, was it?), on the Fringe and across the UK…

SOSOGAY

Patrick Maubert predicts a ‘stunning’ 2015, thanks to productions such as Sweeney Todd, with Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel at Royal Opera House, and transfers of My Night with Reg and The Nether…

THE STAGE: MARK SHENTON

Kristin Scott Thomas as HM in the return of The Audience, Bend It Like Beckham and Beautiful, directors Ivo van Hove and Michael Longhurst and the Donmar’s spring are anticipated by Mark here…

PLAYBILL: MARK SHENTON

For US readers, Mark gives an extensive preview of London’s 2015 openings, including several originated in New York, such as Bad Jews, Beautiful and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown…

THE STAGE: HONOUR BAYES

London’s Fringe is the focus for Honour, who’s picks include Bugsy Malone (Lyric Hammersmith), Islands (Bush), Little Light (Orange Tree), The Father (Tricycle) and Towerblock Tracks (Tate Modern)

GAIL BISHOP

Amongst the shows this blogger is looking forward to are: Gypsy, The Railway Children at King’s Cross, The Ruling Class with James McAvoy, and new tours of The Producers and The King’s Speech…

BROADWAYWORLD: GARY NAYLOR

Gary suggests readers check out new seasons at some of his favourite London fringe theatres, including the King’s Head, the Union, Southwark Playhouse and New Wimbledon Theatre…

BROADWAYWORLD: ACTORS

West End stars Sabrina Aloueche, Tiffany Graves and Tim Driesen name their pics as Beautiful, Man and Superman and The Producers (but one of them may be a little biased given she’s playing Ulla)…

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