The Festival has already opened with Mike Poulton's version of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard (through June 23), with Diana Rigg starring as Madame Ranevskaya, with William Gaunt (Gayev), Jemma Redgrave (Varya), Maureen Lipman (Carlotta) and Natalie Cassidy (Dunyasha). Associate director Philip Franks helms the production.
It's followed by Meredith Willson's The Music Man (June 23-August 30) starring Brian Conley as fraudster Professor Harold Hill, Scarlett Strallen as Marian, Rolf Sazon as Mayor Shinn, Sophie Louise Dann as Alma, Gary Milner as Charlie, and Jenny Gallloway as Eulalie Shinn. The new production is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, designed by Robert Jones, and choreographed by Stephen Mear.
Up next is Jonathan Church's revival of Somerset Maugham's 1921 social satire The Circle (July 22-August 30), in which Susan Hampshire will play Lady Kitty, recently returned to England after abandoning her husband and son 30 years ago to run away with another man.
The Festival Theatre schedule concludes with Tim Firth's adaptation of the award-winning Miramax film Calendar Girls (September 5-27), which tells the real-life story of a Yorkshire chapter of the Women's Institute who decide to pose nude for a charity calendar. The production, to be directed by Hamish McColl, will star Patricia Hodge, Lynda Bellingham, and Elaine C. Smith.
In the smaller Minerva Theatre, the first offering is Samantha Spiro in Funny Girl (through June 14), which is directed by Angus Jackson, designed by Mark Thompson, and choreographed by Mear.
It's followed by Rupert Goold's adaptation of Six Characters in Search of an Author (June 28-August 30), which stars Tony Award winner Ian McDiarmid, and two companion plays by Ronald Harwood: a revival of Taking Sides and Harwood's new play Collaboration (July 16-August 30). Both plays star Michael Pennington, and are directed by Franks.
The final offering in the Minerva is the world premiere of Martin Sherman's latest play Aristo (September 11-October 11), directed by Nancy Meckler, in which Robert Lindsay stars as Aristotle Onassis. The play is based on the last years in the life of the late Greek tycoon, including his relationships with Jackie Kennedy, Maria Callas, and his son Alexandros.
For more information, visit www.whatsonstage.com.