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London

THE TOP FIVE
Alternatives to ‘Billy Elliot’

1. So you can’t get tickets to Billy Elliot. But you can get into Guys and Dolls, the latest gritty Brit reimagining of an American classic, at the Piccadilly Theatre (44-0870-060-6634). Weed through the West End’s jukebox musicals and Broadway transfers for Sunday in the Park With George, a raved-about Sondheim revival moving to the Wyndham (44-0870-950-0925) in May.

2. Don’t be tempted by Robert Altman, whose take on Arthur Miller’s Resurrection Blues was panned. Jeremy Irons, starring onstage for the first time in twenty years in Embers, managed mediocre notices. But who needs movie stars when you have Dames? Diana Rigg is in Honour, at the Wyndham (44-0870-950-0925), and Judi Dench is raising ticket prices to new heights in Noël Coward’s Hay Fever, at the Theatre Royal Haymarket (44-0870-901-3356).

3. Off the West End, the Almeida Theatre and the Donmar Warehouse are consistently excellent. The Almeida (44-020-7359-4404) has a great production of Tennessee Williams’s Period of Adjustment, followed by David Hare’s adaptation of Maxim Gorky’s Enemies. And the Donmar (44-0870-060-6624) has Clare Higgins in Frank McGuinness’s Phaedra adaptation.

4. The Royal Court Theatre (44-020-7565-5000) offers a play deemed too controversial for New York: My Name Is Rachel Corrie, about an American activist crushed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza. Dealing with religious tension closer to home is film director Mike Leigh’s Two Thousand Years, set in a London Jewish household, at the Lyttelton Theatre (44-020-7452-3000).

5. It’s a summer of greatest hits at the Royal Opera House (44-020-7304-4000), with Mozart’s Figaro, opening in July, and Bryn Terfel, Angela Gheorghieu, and Marcelo Álvarez in Tosca (44-020-7304-4000). Also, young new music director Edward Gardner will, hopefully, revitalize the English National Opera, which has had a patchy reputation of late.

Next: A Walking Tour of Bond Street


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