London's National Theatre has again announced it will give a world premiere to a stage musical version of Roald Dahl's novel The Witches, set to begin November 7 in the Olivier Theatre. Originally announced for the company's 2018 season, the musical, then attached to composer James Humphreys, failed to materialize. Director Lyndsey Turner continues with the piece, which will now feature a score by Tony-nominated Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 songwriter Dave Malloy. Lucy Kirkwood (Mosquitos) has penned the book.
The story, adapted from Dahl's 1983 novel, follows Luke and his Gran who come to face a gathering of all the witches in England, determined to rid the world of children by transforming them into mice. The book has previously been adapted for the screen twice, in 1990 and 2020. The National is co-producing the work with Roald Dahl Story Company.
Katherine Kingsley (The Larkins) will take on the Grand High Witch in the National's upcoming staging, sharing the stage with BAFTA winner Daniel Rigby (One Man, Two Guvnors) as Mr. Stringer and Julie Armstrong, Chrissie Bhima, Zoe Birkett, Daniele Coombe, Molly-May Gardiner, Tiffany Graves, Tania Mathurin, Jacob Maynard, Laura Medforth, and Ben Redfern.
The production will feature sets and costume designs by Lizzie Clachan, choreography by Stephen Mear (The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins), music supervision by Nigel Lilley, music direction by Cat Beveridge, lighting design by Bruno Poet, sound design by Alexander Caplen and Ian Dickinson, video design by Ash J Woodward, and illusions by Chris Fisher and Will Houston. Casting is by Bryony Jarvis-Taylor.
Also newly announced is Lucy Prebble's The Effect, set to begin in the company's Lyttelton Theatre August 1. Jamie Lloyd (Cyrano de Bergerac) will direct the story of two young volunteers in a clinical drug trial who begin to wonder if their romance is a side effect of the new antidepressant they're testing.
Paapa Essiedu and Taylor Russell will lead the company, with further casting to be announced.
The Effect will feature scenic and costume design by Soutra Gilmour, lighting design by Jon Clark, music by Michael 'Mikey J' Asante, sound design by George Dennis, movement direction by Sarah Golding and Yukiko Masui, fight direction by Kate Waters, and intimacy coordination by Ingrid Mackinnon. Casting is by Alastair Coomer.
The National also revealed casting for its upcoming revival of Anupama Chandrasekhar's The Father and the Assassin, taking the Olivier stage September 8–October 14. Olivier Award winner Hiran Abeysekera (Life of Pi) will lead the cast as Nathuram Godse with Paul Bazely reprising his role as Mahatma Gandhi. Rounding out the company are Azan Ahmed, Ravi Aujla, Ayesha Dharker, Ravin J Ganatra, Raj Ghatak, Halema Hussain, Nadeem Islam, Tony Jayawardena, Nicholas Khan, Raj Khera, Hari Mackinnon, Sid Sagar, and Akshay Shah.
For more details, visit NationalTheatre.org.uk.