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‘Stranger Things’ play that may hold ‘key to the end’ taking 1959 Hawkins to West End

The theater world is turned upside down and even further back in time. Netflix on Wednesday announced the release date for “Stranger Things: The First Shadow,” a new play that focuses on some of the adult characters from the original series who grew up in 1959 — “before the world was turned upside down.”

And co-creators Matt and Ross Duffer “can’t wait to see you nerds in London” when the play premieres later this year at the Phoenix Theater in the city’s West End.

Based on the streaming giant’s popular sci-fi series, the play serves as a prequel to the popular 1980s supernatural saga, revealing the backstory of some high-profile residents of Hawkins, Ind. to the wildly popular franchise in the same vein as Broadway’s Tony Award-winning show “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”

Written by Kate Trefry, a writer and co-executive producer on the TV show, “The First Shadow” is based on an original story by Matt and Ross Duffer, Jack Thorne, and Trefry. It will be “rooted in the mythology and world of the global Netflix phenomenon,” the streamer said.

A promotional poster for ‘Stranger Things: The First Shadow’.


The summary: “Hawkins, 1959: an ordinary town with regular concerns. Young Jim Hopper’s car won’t start, Bob Newby’s sister doesn’t take his radio show seriously, and Joyce Maldonado just wants to graduate and get out of town. When new student Henry Creel arrives, his family discovers that a fresh start is not so easy… and the shadows of the past have a very wide reach.”

And – spoiler alert – Creel was of course later revealed to be the terrifying creature Vecna ​​that Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) banished to the Upside Down in Season 4.

The “gripping new adventure” plans to take fans “back to the beginning of the Stranger Things story – and may hold the key to the end,” according to Netflix.

Three-time Tony Award winner and Oscar-nominated director Stephen Daldry (“The Reader,” “The Hours,” “Billy Elliot”) will direct, co-directed by Justin Martin. Netflix and Sonia Friedman Productions will produce the play. The Duffer brothers, who say they are “extremely excited” about the piece, will serve as creative producers, with 21 Laps as associate producer.

“Working with the brilliant Stephen Daldry has been nothing short of inspiring, and Kate Trefry has written a play that is by turns startling, scary and heartfelt,” the Duffers said in a statement. “You’ll meet endearing new characters, as well as some very familiar ones, on a journey into the past that lays the foundation for the future of Stranger Things. We’d love to tell you more about the story, but won’t – it’s more fun to find out for yourself. Can’t wait to see you nerds in London!”

“Stranger Things has captured the imagination of fans around the world and we are incredibly excited to expand this exciting universe with Netflix’s first live stage production,” added Greg Lombardo, vice president of live experiences for Netflix. . “Featuring the creative talents of Matt and Ross Duffer paired with Sonia Friedman and Stephen Daldry, theatergoers will be swept up in a truly epic event worthy of Stranger Things.”

The world premiere for “Stranger Things: The First Shadow” is scheduled for late 2023. Tickets will go on sale in the spring, with additional details to be announced later this month. Fans who register on Wednesday will receive priority tickets the play’s website.

“Stranger Things 4,” which began streaming last May, quickly became Netflix’s No. 1 show on its most popular UK TV chart, racking up more than 1.35 billion hours of viewing in its first 28 days. It was the second title in Netflix history to pass the one billion watch hour mark, the streamer said. (“Squid Game” was the first.) Season 3 of “Stranger Things”, which was released in 2019, still ranks #6 on the streamer’s most popular UK TV list. It was also mentioned The most streamed TV show of 2022 and general program by Nielsen.

In February 2022, the Duffers said the original series would likely end with season 5 and in a June 2022 interview with Variety, they teased one of the show’s upcoming spin-off projects. The “Stranger Things” events team is already hard at work bringing fans true-to-life Upside Down experiences with live entertainment projects including “Strange Things: The Drive-Into Experience.”

Meanwhile, “Stranger Things” star Noah Schnapp, who plays Will Byers in the hit, said filming for season 5 starts for him in May.