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‘Stranger Things’ Prequel Play in London Eases the Wait for More Hellfire Club on Netflix

Side-by-side image of Winona Ryder (left) and Isabella Pappas (right) as Older and Younger Joyce from 'Stranger Things' and the 'Stranger Things' play, 'The First Shadow.' Both are white women with shoulder-length brown hair and bangs. Ryder is in her early 50s and is wearing a black blazer over a white shirt with a brown collar. Pappas is a younger woman playing a high-schooler. Her hair is in a ponytail, and she's wearing a black sleeveless shirt.

With the AMPTP dragging out the SAG-AFTRA strike indefinitely, we have an even longer wait ahead of us for a new season of Stranger Things. Thankfully, there’s new Stranger Things content to enjoy!

The Duffer Brothers and playwright Kate Trefry have created a Stranger Things prequel play called The First Shadow, which is opening on the West End in London this month and will take us back to what made Hawkins, Indiana so, well … strange.

Yesterday, Netflix released a behind-the-scenes featurette for The First Shadow in time for Stranger Things Day—Will Byers went missing on November 6, 1983—to give fans insight into the new production. The First Shadow is set in 1959 and features high school versions of Jim, Joyce, and all their friends. Here’s the official synopsis:

“Hawkins, 1959: a regular town with regular worries. Young Jim Hopper’s car won’t start, Bob Newby’s sister won’t take his radio show seriously and Joyce Maldonado just wants to graduate and get the hell out of town. When new student Henry Creel arrives, his family finds that a fresh start isn’t so easy … and the shadows of the past have a very long reach.”

Trefry explained to Variety that “The main thrust of the story is Patty [Newby, played by Ella Karuna Williams] and her little, budding romance with Henry.” The First Shadow‘s producer, Sonia Friedman, added, “It’s also the origin story of how Henry Creel became Number One.”

OK, I’ll admit it. I’m kinda jealous of everyone who lives in or near London right now. Previews of The First Shadow begin on November 17 (or 17 November if you’re in Europe), and performances run through August 25, 2024. You can get all the deets at StrangerThingsOnStage.com.

Here’s hoping there’ll be plans to take this to Broadway! A North American tour, maybe? Please?

This piece was written during the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike. Without the labor of the actors currently on strike, the work being covered here wouldn’t exist.

(featured image: Netflix/screencap, Netflix)

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