Donmar lineup makes splash

McKellen to make 'The Cut'

LONDON — Ian McKellen will make his first appearance at the Donmar early next year in a new Mark Ravenhill play, “The Cut,” while the fall kicks off with the return of Simon Russell Beale to the popular studio theater in Christopher Hampton’s “The Philanthropist.”

The two productions are among a five-play lineup announced as artistic director Michael Grandage’s theater is making a major London splash: It’s a partner in the new West End revival of “Guys and Dolls,” starring Ewan McGregor and opening at the Piccadilly tonight, a night after Neil LaBute’s “This Is How It Goes,” starring Ben Chaplin and Idris Elba, opens at the Donmar.

The 2005-06 season kicks off July 20 with the previously announced revival of Schiller’s “Mary Stuart,” directed by Phyllida Lloyd and starring Harriet Walter, James Fleet, Rory Kinnear and Janet McTeer. Play is the second major Schiller staging in London this year, following Grandage’s West End “Don Carlos.”

Russell Beale, last seen at the Donmar in 2002 as Chekhov’s Vanya and Shakespeare’s Malvolio, is up next in “The Philanthropist,” opening Sept. 13. No director has been named for the revival of Hampton’s 1970 play.

The European preem of Sam Shepard’s “The God of Hell” follows, opening Oct. 26. Actress-turned-helmer Kathy Burke (“Nil by Mouth”) directs the black comedy, which was seen Off Broadway with Tim Roth last fall. Burke directed the Tricycle Theater revival of “The Quare Fellow,” which just opened to strong reviews.

For Christmas, in a slot often reserved for musicals, comes Grandage’s production of Ibsen’s “The Wild Duck” in a new version by David Eldridge (“Festen”). It opens Dec. 13 for a 10-week run.

“The Cut,” a world preem from “Shopping and Fucking” scribe Ravenhill, also will be directed by Grandage. McKellen will be rehearsing his role as Paul, described as “an ordinary man with a shocking secret,” while starring for the second consecutive year in the Old Vic Christmas pantomime “Aladdin.”

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