Sheridan Smith will play the lead role in Opening Night, which will run from March 2024 featuring music and lyrics by Rufus Wainwright. 

Sheridan Smith in front of lights to promote a new musical, Opening Night, she's starring in

Source: Oliver Rosser for Feast Creative

Sheridan Smith said she could not be more thrilled to star in the ‘fantastic, original musical’, Opening Night

Based on John Cassavetes’ legendary film, Opening Night follows a theatre company’s preparations to stage a major new play on Broadway. But drama ignites behind the scenes when their leading lady is rocked by tragedy, and her personal turmoil forces everybody to deliver the performance of their lives.

The show, directed and conceived by Ivo Van Hove, has another big name - Canadian singer, songwriter and composer Rufus Wainwright - who will be producing the music and lyrics. 

Actress, singer and TV personality Sheridan Smith, who will play the leading lady, said: “The chance to work with the musical genius that is Rufus Wainwright and one of the world’s greatest stage directors Ivo van Hove was a once in a life time opportunity, and quite frankly if they’d asked me to read out the back of a cereal packet I’d have been there!

“But, I couldn’t be more thrilled to be cast in this fantastic original musical and to play the complex and challenging character of Myrtle”.

Sheridan Smith, Ivo van Hove and Rufus Wainwright in the theatre that will stage their new musical, Opening Night

Source: Craig Sugden

Directed and conceived by Ivo van Hove (right) and starring Sheridan Smith as Myrtle, the music and lyrics in Opening Night are by Rufus Wainwright.

Smith is no stranger to the West End; her credits include most recently playing the title role in Shirley Valentine at the Duke of York’s Theatre. Her performance as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde at the Savoy Theatre and as Doris in Flare Path at Theatre Royal Haymarket, both garnered her Olivier Awards, and the latter the Evening Standard Award as Best Actress. She received further Olivier nominations for her performance as Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors at the Menier Chocolate Factory and Duke of York’s Theatre, and Fanny Brice in Funny Girl at the Savoy Theatre.

“Quite frankly if they’d asked me to read out the back of a cereal packet I’d have been there!”

Actress Sheridan Smith

The musical will open at the Gielgud Theatre in London for a limited season from 6th March until 27th July with tickets on sale now. 

Described as a show about ‘making theatre in all its forms’, Ivo van Hove said Opening Night “not only gives us an insight into the trials and tribulations behind the scenes of the theatre, but it is also the heartbreaking story of a woman fighting for hope and self-determination in a world that doesn’t want to listen”.

Rufus Wainwright added: “I’ve been waiting for ages to write my first musical and with this fantastic story plus the incomparable Sheridan Smith, not to mention the incredible Ivo van Hove, I don’t think I could have aimed any higher”.

Groups of 10 plus can book discounted tickets for Monday-Thursday performances. For more information about the show and tickets visit