West End Word: Lindsay Lohan Hogs the Headlines as Billy Beats Denzel at the Box Office

The Autumn season shows no signs of cooling down, with a plethora of new openings on the horizon.

Lindsay Lohan as Karen in David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow, directed by Lindsay Posner.
Lindsay Lohan as Karen in David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow, directed by Lindsay Posner.
(© Simon Annand)

The West End headlines are all currently centred around one person: Lindsay Lohan, who is following in Madonna's footsteps by taking on the role of Karen in David Mamet's 1988 Hollywood satire Speed-the-Plow. Lohan, who caused speculation when she hadn't turned up for rehearsals before they had even started, has been staunchly defended by her director (and namesake) Lindsay Posner, who told WhatsOnStage she's a "proper actress." But will the critics agree?

And speaking of West End debutantes, it was recently announced that Pussycat Dolls star Nicole Scherzinger will play Grizabella in the upcoming West End return of Cats, which opens at the London Palladium in December. Purrrfect casting if ever we've seen it (sorry…).

Other productions making a splash (quite literally) here currently include Urinetown, which is about to open at the Apollo Theatre following a successful UK premiere at Off-West End venue the St James Theatre, and The Scottsboro Boys, which is moving from the Young Vic to the Garrick. And further ahead on the horizon we have the West End premiere of Memphis to look forward to, as well as the opening of screen-to-stage Brit musical Made in Dagenham, starring Gemma Arterton. We've also taken a look at ten productions marking Black History Month (which is October in the UK as opposed to February in the US) and round up lots of other Autumn highlights.

Meanwhile, it's not often you get to write the sentence "Billy Elliot beats Denzel Washington," but that's precisely what happened at the UK cinema box office this week when Billy Elliot Live, a live stream of the hit West End show to over 500 cinemas nationwide, overcame competition from Washington's latest movie The Equalizer to top the box office charts. And if you're sad you missed it in the States, there's doubly good news: a series of international screenings are planned in the coming months, and there will also be a DVD/Blu-ray release of the historic event, which saw 25 actors who've played Billy unite on stage at the finale.

Now, how do you rate your theater knowledge? We've started a new series of quizzes that are bound to test even the most knowledgeable of theatregoers — think you know your Chicago from your Cats and your Sweeney Todd from your Sweet Charity? Then pit your wits pit your wits against our WOS question master Rosie.

Finally, don't miss our latest photo galleries including the 25th anniversary gala of Miss Saigon, which saw original cast members Jonathan Pryce, Lea Salonga, and Simon Bowman reunite on stage. And for starry first nights look no further than the West End transfer of Great Britain, which boasted Richard E. Grant and Sherlock's Mark Gatiss among the attendees; and Electra at the Old Vic, where Kristin Scott Thomas was cheered on by fellow actors including Andrew Scott, Bill Nighy, and Kevin Spacey's soon-to-be successor Matthew Warchus.