Chita Rivera Previews Kander and Ebb's The Visit With a Haunting Onstage Pas de Deux
Tony Award winner John Doyle (Sweeney Todd, Company) was enlisted to bring a fresh approach to the musical, which debuted in a 95-minute version last summer at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Doyle will return for the Broadway production alongside Tony Award nominee Graciela Daniele as choreographer.
Rivera originated the role of Claire Zachanassian when The Visit had its debut in September 2001 at Chicago's Goodman Theatre and later repeated her work at the Signature Theatre in 2008 and at Williamstown.
She will be reunited on Broadway with her Williamstown co-star Roger Rees, who will again play Anton Schell. The Visit will open on Broadway April 23. Based on Friedrich Dürrenmatt's 1956 play, The Visit has music by John Kander, lyrics by the late Fred Ebb and a book by Tony Award winner Terrence McNally.
The production marks the third collaboration for Kander and Ebb, McNally and Rivera. The artists previously worked together on The Rink and Kiss of the Spider Woman, both of which led Rivera to Tony Award wins for her performances.
"In The Visit, Chita Rivera shows the world what becomes a legend most," Kirdahy said in a statement. "Kander and Ebb's final musical is a masterwork. Fascinating, visceral and haunting, The Visit entertains and challenges in ways that can only be described as thrilling. We cannot wait for The Visit to visit Broadway."
Here's how the musical is billed: "Based on the satirical play by Friedrich Dürrenmatt as adapted by Maurice Valency, The Visit is about greed, love, and one woman’s carefully plotted revenge. The oft-widowed Claire Zachanassian (Rivera), richest woman in the world, returns to the hardship-stricken town of her birth. The locals pray that her wealth will bring them a new lease on life, but her arrival carries a dreadful price. Rees co-stars as Anton Schell, the man who scorned Claire years ago. Sardonic and morally complex, The Visit asks 'What can your heart afford?'"
Additional casting and creative team members will be announced at a later date.
The Williamstown cast also included John Bambery (June Moon), Jason Danieley (Curtains, Next to Normal), Matthew Deming, Diana DiMarzio (Sweeney Todd), Melanie Field (Evita), David Garrison (Titanic), Rick Holmes (Spamalot), Judy Kuhn (Passion, Fun Home), Jude McCormick, Tom Nelis (Passion), Chris Newcomer (Chicago), Aaron Ramey (Young Frankenstein, Curtains), Timothy Shew (Evita, Les Misérables) and Michelle Veintimilla.
The Williamstown design team included Tony-winning scenic designer Scott Pask, Tony-winning costume designer Ann Hould-Ward, Tony-winning orchestrator Larry Hochman and Tony Honoree for Excellence Paul Huntley (hair and wig design). They are joined by Tony nominee Japhy Weideman (lighting design), Tony nominee Dan Moses Schreier (sound design), Angelina Avallone (make up design) and veteran musical director/supervisor David Loud.
In recent years Williamstown developed the new musicals Far From Heaven and The Bridges of Madison County, both of which set New York debuts within a year of their premieres there.