Your guide to the best 2020 theatre shows starring your favourite film and TV actors

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Madeline Reid
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From Jessica Chastain to Whoopi Goldberg, there are plenty of film and TV stars tempting us to spend a night at the theatre in 2020.

It is easy to imagine that we no longer need to leave the house to seek high quality entertainment for the evening. I mean, why check screening times and shuffle down to your local cinema in the drizzling rain to sit in an overly air-conditioned room filled with strangers and questionably comfortable chairs, when with just a few clicks online you can access a plethora of award-winning TV and film all from the comfort of your own sofa?

With this in mind, the thought of dressing up (read: changing out of your pasta-stained sweatpants) for a night at the theatre hardly feels like an inviting prospect or an assured good night out.

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But while we’ve been browsing Netflix, some of Hollywood’s brightest stars have been busy learning lines, blocking choreography and powdering their faces in anticipation of their West End stage appearances.

From side-splitting comedies to tear-jerking tragedies, London’s stages are bursting with immaculate evening entertainment in every genre. Paint landscapes in Paris with Jake Gyllenhaal, predict the future with Jennifer Saunders’ clairvoyant and feel the rhythm of Motown music with Whoopi Goldberg. And do it all in 2020.

  • Cyrano de Bergerac

    James McAvoy is on the West End stage in a new production of Cyrano de Bergerac.
    James McAvoy is on the West End stage in a new production of Cyrano de Bergerac.

    No stranger to the stage, James McAvoy returns in a new adaptation of the charming French classic Cyrano de Bergerac. McAvoy is sure to melt our hearts as soldier and lovesick poet Edmond Rostand, who falls for the beautiful Roxanne but is too ashamed of his appearance to admit it. McAvoy will be joined by frequent collaborator, director Jamie Lloyd, who has previously directed him in sold-out smashes Macbeth and The Ruling Class. With expectations set high, we’re confident this dynamic duo will deliver a theatrical feast.

    Showing 27 November 2019 - 29 February 2020 at the Playhouse Theatre.

  • Uncle Vanya

    BAFTA and Olivier Award-winner Toby Jones fronts this star-studded ensemble in a new adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s masterpiece Uncle Vanya. Joined by Richard Armitage (The Hobbit), Ciarán Hinds (Harry Potter) and rising star Aimee Lou Wood (Sex Education), this intimate exploration of domestic affairs is full of tumultuous frustration, dark humour and hidden passions. What’s a family gathering without that, right?

    Showing 14 January 2020 - 2 May 2020 at the Harold Pinter Theatre.

  • Endgame

    Alan Cumming and Daniel Radcliffe may just have two of the most impressive resumes in the West End: between the two of them they’ve been in Equus, Cabaret and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, to name but a few. In their latest endeavour, the two theatre stalwarts face off as master and servant in the post-apocalyptic setting of Samuel Beckett’s Endgame. The play will feature as part of a double bill with Samuel Beckett’s rarely performed short play Rough For Theatre II, providing an indulgent evening of high calibre comedy.

    Showing 27 January 2020 - 28 March 2020 at The Old Vic.

  • Upstart Crow

    Next year, it is not just the actors that are switching from screen to stage. David Mitchell’s beloved comedy series Upstart Crow is debuting on the West End, adapted by its original writer Ben Elton. Joined by Game of Thrones alum Gemma Whelan, expect Mitchell’s eccentric depiction of struggling playwright Shakespeare in a Blackadder meets The Office meets The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin mash-up – complete with soliloquies to camera and sitcom clichés aplenty – to come alive in Shakespeare’s true home.

    Showing 7 February 2020 - 25 April 2020 at the Gielgud Theatre.

  • Blithe Spirit

    Jennifer Saunders will be in Blithe Spirit at the Duke of York's Theatre.
    Jennifer Saunders will be in Blithe Spirit at the Duke of York's Theatre.

    Oh sweetie, darling! National treasure and side-splitting comedian Jennifer Saunders is reprising her role in the wartime comedy Blithe Spirit. Her whimsical performance as the quirky clairvoyant, Madame Arcati, delighted audiences and critics alike during the Theatre Royal Bath’s Summer Season this year where she first debuted the role.

    Showing 5 March 2020 - 11 April 2020 at the Duke of York’s Theatre.

  • 4,000 Miles

    Rewrite your Christmas list, as the top spot has been filled – Timothée Chalamet is performing a play in London next year, and tickets go on sale this week. The Call Me By Your Name and Little Women actor will star in a production of 4,000 Miles, Amy Herzog’s Pulitzer prize-nominated play about family and intergenerational grief. Chalamet’s character Leo appears opposite his 91-year-old grandmother played by Dame Eileen Atkins (The Crown) as the pair cohabit as unlikely flatmates in Manhattan. It’s set to be the showstopper of the season – if you’re lucky enough to grab tickets, that is.

    Showing 6 April 2020 - 23 May 2020 at The Old Vic.

  • Sunday In The Park With George

    Jake Gyllenhaal will be in Sunday In The Park With George on the West End.
    Jake Gyllenhaal will be in Sunday In The Park With George on the West End.

    Arguably one of the most acclaimed musicals of all time is presenting its all-star reboot featuring Academy Award nominee – and frequent celebrity crush of choice – Jake Gyllenhaal, alongside Tony Award winner Annaleigh Ashford, at the Savoy Theatre no less. Sunday in the Park with George follows famed impressionist painter George Seurat as he struggles to ‘finish the hat’ of what is to become his life’s masterpiece. The duo originally debuted their rendition of the 1984 musical back in 2016 for a benefit at the New York City Centre, before performing a limited run on Broadway a year later to critical acclaim. Let Gyllenhaal’s smooth vocals soundtrack a Sunday summer’s evening in this blissful display of the art of making art.

    Showing 11 June 2020 - 5 September 2020 at the Savoy Theatre.

  • A Doll's House

    It’s been a busy year for multi-award winning actress Jessica Chastain, who has already starred in two major blockbuster hits in 2019 (Dark Phoenix and It Chapter 2). But the actress shows no signs of slowing down next year as she makes her West End debut in the poignant play A Doll’s House. This historical play, set in 19th century Denmark, explores the fate of a married woman in a male-dominated world, and caused much controversy on its release. No stranger to controversial roles however, we’re sure Chastain’s raw and emotional style will make this an unmissable performance.

    Showing 20 June - 5 September 2020 at the Playhouse Theatre.

  • Sister Act

    The legendary Whoopi Goldberg is treating London theatre fans to a reprisal of her now-iconic role as lounge singer Deloris van Cartier in Sister Act. Though Dame Maggie Smith’s endlessly quotable performance as Mother Superior in the original ’90s flick was faultless, we have no doubt that fellow cast member Jennifer Saunders is the best woman for the job, channelling the quick wit and sass of Dame Maggie for London audiences next summer. Featuring the original Motown soundtrack that is sure to get you up on your feet, this sparkling tribute to the universal power of friendship, sisterhood and music is not to be missed.

    Showing 29 July 2020 – 30 August 2020 at the Hammersmith Apollo.

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Madeline Reid

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