It's official: Angela Lansbury will return to Broadway in the 2017-2018 season with a revival of Enid Bagnold's 1955 play The Chalk Garden.
The play will be produced by Scott Rudin at a theatre to-be-announced. The project was finalized June 1, Lansbury told Playbill.com in an exclusive interview, so casting for the other roles has not yet begun. “We need some really hot actors for it,” she said.
Lansbury, who was in New York to finalize plans for the revival and to prepare for the June 14 WNET Gala Salute at which she will be honored, has frequently spoken about her desire to star in The Chalk Garden, most recently in June 2014 during her run in a London revival of Blithe Spirit. “A lot of people knew I was angling to do it,” she said.
Lansbury, 90, last appeared on Broadway in the 2012 production of Gore Vidal's The Best Man. She is a five-time Tony Award winner, mainly in musical roles. She appeared in the original Broadway productions of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd and Anyone Can Whistle, and in the original Broadway productions of Jerry Herman's Mame and Dear World. Her last musical role was Madame Armfeldt.
Nominated for the 1956 Tony Award as Best Play, The Chalk Garden is a poetic comedy that has the sheen of a mystery. It centers on wealthy and eccentric Mrs. St. Maugham, who is raising her spoiled teen-aged granddaughter with the help of an ex-convict butler. A mysterious new governess, Miss Madrigal, shakes things up as she coaxes flowers in a sterile garden to grow — and urges the granddaughter to bloom, too. This production will mark its first Broadway revival.
The original Broadway production of The Chalk Garden opened in October 1955 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, playing 182 performances before closing in March 1956. The original cast included Gladys Cooper, Siobhan McKenna, Marian Seldes, Betsy von Furstenberg, Fritz Weaver and Percy Waram.
The 1964 film version starred Deborah Kerr, Edith Evans and Hayley Mills.