The original production at the Royal Court was directed by Tony Richardson, with décor by Alan Tagg.
- Original cast
- Billy – George Relph
- Jean – Dorothy Tutin (replaced by Joan Plowright when the play moved to the West End)
- Phoebe – Brenda De Banzie
- Archie – Laurence Olivier
- Frank – Richard Pasco
- Gorgeous Gladys – Vivienne Drummond
- Brother Bill – Aubrey Dexter
- Graham – Stanley Meadows
In September, the show transferred to the Palace Theatre in the West End, toured and returned to the Palace. During the run Joan Plowright left the cast and was replaced by Geraldine McEwan. Plowright rejoined the cast when the production opened in New York in February 1958. In the same year a touring production was presented in the British provinces, starring John Slater as Archie and Bobby Howes as Billy.
Revivals have starred Max Wall (Greenwich Theatre, 1974); Peter Bowles (Shaftesbury Theatre, 1986); Corin Redgrave (Liverpool Playhouse, 2004); and Robert Lindsay (Old Vic, 2007).
In 1974, Jack Lemmon appeared as Archie in a two-hour film version of the play made for American television, and Michael Gambon starred in a production for the BBC in 1993.
Garrick Theatre will host The Entertainer from 20 August 2016 to 12 November 2016 with Kenneth Branagh as Archie Rice. Director will be Rob Ashford and designer Christopher Oram.