The production, which played a successful tryout this past summer at San Francisco's Curran Theatre, began Broadway previews Nov. 5. Devised and written by Barry Humphries with additional material by Andrew Ross and Robert Horn, Dame Edna also features Wayne Barker as the Master of the Dame's Musick; the Gorgeous Ednaettes, Teri DiGianfelice and Michelle Pampena; and the Equally Gorgeous TestEdnarones, Randy Aaron and Gerrard Carter. Mrs. Madge Allsop is the Dame's understudy. The program also notes there is a 15-minute "pause for reflection" between acts.
The Dame's newest offering boasts an "all-new theatrical infrastructure." According to production designer Brian Thomson, "Edna will glow from the stage in a series of never-before-seen gowns. She will sing, dance, give psychic readings to astonished audience members, offer marriage counseling and perhaps even heal."
As for her own thoughts, the much beloved Dame puts things this way: "I don't do shows, I make history. In a spooky way, I am theatre in the making. My shows are not shows at all, they are 'events.'"
The creative team for Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance comprises Brian Thomson (production design), Jan Cox (lighting design), Dan Scheivert (sound design), Will Goodwin and Stephen Adnitt (costume design) and Jason Gilkison (choreography). Song lyrics were penned by Barry Humphries and Wayne Barker.
Dubbed Australia's First Lady, Dame Edna is the invention of Barry Humphries, a successful character actor in Europe and Australia as well as an esteemed landscape painter. Some of Humphries' theatrical credits include roles in Waiting for Godot, Oliver! and Maggie May, but his most successful outings have been as Dame Edna, a character he created in 1956. Humphries was given the Order of Australia in 1982 and was endowed with an Honorary Doctorate of Griffith University in Australia in 1994. The Dame found success on Broadway during the 2000 season with her Tony Award-winning show, Dame Edna: The Royal Tour. Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance plays Tuesdays at 7 PM, Wednesday-Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 and 8 PM and Sundays at 3 PM.