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Snapshots From London: Maggie Smith Hints at Retirement as Damian Lewis Returns

Six photos from this month's theatrical goings-on in the West End.

Our sister site in London, WhatsOnStage.com, round up some key stories from the past few weeks, including the announcement of their own awards, which are voted for entirely by the audience.

1. Miss Saigon won record haul at WhatsOnStage Awards.

Cameron Mackintosh and the cast of Miss Saigon at the WhatsOnStage Awards.
(© Dan Wooller)

Nevermind the Oscars, we were delighted to announce the winners of our 15th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards last month — the only major theater honors to be voted for entirely by the audience. Cameron Mackintosh's West End revival of Miss Saigon won a record nine awards (including Best West End Show), while other winners on hand to collect their trophies at the Prince of Wales Theatre included Tom Hiddleston (for Coriolanus) and David Tennant (for Richard II). Check out the full list of winners and extended video highlights of the night.


2. Maggie Smith hinted at stage retirement.

Maggie Smith giving a speech from The Beaux' Stratagem during the NT 50 gala.
(© Catherine Ashmore )

Theater legend Dame Maggie Smith, who's found a legion of new fans thanks to Downton Abbey, has indicated she will no longer perform onstage. With this in mind, our chief critic Michael Coveney, whose revised biography of the actress is published later this year, reflects on her long and glittering theatrical career.


3. Carole King enjoyed Beautiful West End opening.

Katie Brayben and Carole King during the curtain call of Beautiful.
(© the production)

Broadway has, of course, already enjoyed this bio-musical, but we're delighted it has finally made its way to our shores! And we were especially thrilled that its iconic subject, Carole King herself, was on hand on opening night to perform a curtain call rendition of "You've Got a Friend." Read our round up of the critics' views and all our other first night coverage.


4. We got a first peek at the Bend It Like Beckham cast.

Jamie Campbell Bower will make his West End debut.
(© Uli Weber)

The musical based on the hit 2002 film is gearing up for its West End premiere in May. We recently took a first look at its cast of young newcomers — including Twilight's Jamie Campbell Bower — who will be following in the bootsteps of the film's stars Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Parminder Nagra. The big question is will Mr Beckham himself will turn out for the opening at the Phoenix Theatre on June 24?


5. Kevin Spacey prepared to say goodbye to the Old Vic.

Kevin Spacey in Clarence Darrow, which returns to the Old Vic next month.
(© The Old Vic)

The Oscar winner, who steps down as artistic director of the Old Vic later this year, will add to his mantelpiece a special prize at the Olivier Awards next month. And that's not all — his 11-year reign at the historic venue will also be marked by a star-studded charity gala on April 19, hosted by Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville and featuring performances by Sting and Annie Lennox. Not a bad way to say farewell!


6. Damian Lewis revealed all about American Buffalo.

Homeland's Damian Lewis will return to the London stage.
(© Kurt Iswarienko)

Homeland star Damian Lewis is making a welcome return to the London stage in a revival of David Mamet's American Buffalo, which opens at the West End's Wyndham's Theatre on April 16. Joining Lewis in the cast is none other than Hollywood legend John Goodman, as well as rising British star Tom Sturridge. Hear Lewis' thoughts about the play in this video, filmed during a recent photo shoot.

For more on London theater, visit WhatsOnStage.com.

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