Summer U.K. Theater Premieres

Christophe Raynaud de Lage

This summer’s shows in London’s West End and beyond.

Theater lovers heading to the UK this summer and fall have an Olympic-sized selection of shows at their disposal, as premières and revivals take center stage. But one caveat for warm-weather travelers: Some West End houses aren’t air-conditioned. They do, however, sell ice cream at intermission.

Star Search

Danny DeVito and Richard Griffiths do their best grumpy-old-men shtick in The Sunshine Boys, a revival of Neil Simon’s 1972 valentine to vaudeville (through July 28;

Laurie Metcalf gets hopped up on morphine while David Suchet drowns in whiskey and memories in Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night (through August 18;

Juliette Binoche brings her presence to Mademoiselle Julie (September 20–29;, a French take on Strindberg’s Miss Julie.

Raising the Bard

Mark Rylance plays the homicidal king in Richard III (July 14–October 13; as well as the love-struck Olivia in Twelfth Night (September 22–October 14; are authentic, all-male productions, of course.

Highlights of the eight-month World Shakespeare Festival: Desdemona, which imagines a dialogue between Othello’s wife and her African nurse (July 19–20;

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Julius Caesar, set in modern Africa (August 8–September 15;

King Lear, with Jonathan Pryce (August 31–November 3;

Page to Stage

Before you see Leonardo DiCaprio and company boozing it up in Baz Luhrmann’s 3-D The Great Gatsby this Christmas, brush up with Gatz, Elevator Repair Service’s word-for-word stage version. It’s eight hours, with two intermissions and a dinner break (June 8–July 15;

Marianne Elliott, codirector of War Horse—a galloping success on Broadway and the West End—takes on another boy-and-animal drama, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, based on the Mark Haddon novel (late July;

Screen to Stage

Riding the wave of The Artist–inspired silent film–era nostalgia is Singin’ in the Rain; if you’re in the front rows, bring your slicker—you’ll get splashed during the puddle-jumping title number (through February 23, 2013;

The 1935 Fred Astaire–Ginger Rogers classic Top Hat gets jazzed up with ten more Irving Berlin tunes (through January 26, 2013;

The long-rumored musical of The Bodyguard finally materializes: Heather Headley, the Tony-winning star of Broadway’s Aida, will belt out Whitney Houston’s chart-topping power ballads (autumn;

Road Shows

British rocker James Bourne—currently of Future Boy, previously of Son of Dork—puts Dork’s album Welcome to Loserville onstage in Loserville (June 16–July 14;

The 1953 Midwestern-sisters-in-Manhattan musical Wonderful Town plays Glasgow, Newcastle and nine other cities on its 11-week tour (above, through July 7;

Starlight Express skates its way around the UK again (May 10–February 9, 2013;