Simon Jones Joins Cast of Blithe Spirit; Revival to Play the Shubert

By Andrew Gans
04 Nov 2008

Simon Jones
Simon Jones
Photo by Mike Habermann

The starry revival of Blithe Spirit, which will boast a cast led by Tony winners Angela Lansbury and Christine Ebersole as well as film star Rupert Everett, has found its Broadway home.

The New York Times reports that the Noel Coward comedy will play the Shubert Theatre, which is currently the home of Monty Python's Spamalot. As previously announced, Spamalot will end its award-winning run on Broadway Jan. 18, 2009.

The New York daily also says that Simon Jones has joined the cast of Blithe Spirit, which will begin performances at the Shubert Feb. 26, 2009.

As previously reported, four-time Tony winner Lansbury will play psychic Madame Arcati with Ebersole (Tony winner for Grey Gardens and 42nd Street) as the ghostly Elvira and film star Rupert Everett ("My Best Friend's Wedding," "Another Country" and "An Ideal Husband"), who will be making his Broadway debut. Michael Blakemore, who directed Lansbury in Deuce, will direct.

Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel and Steve Traxler, who are also producing the revival of David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow, will produce the comedy about a married man whose dead first wife materializes to make mischief.



The design team will include set designer Peter J. Davison, costume designer Martin Pakledinaz and lighting designer Brian MacDevitt.

In Blithe Spirit, one of Coward's biggest successes, novelist Charles Condomine, living with his second wife, Ruth, invites a local medium, Madame Arcati, to his house. His intention is to do some research into the spirit world for his new book. But he gets more than he bargained for when Arcati conjures up the ghost of Charles first wife, Elvira. Caught between one live wife and one dead wife both jealous of the other Charles thinks matters couldn't be worse.

Simon Jones has been seen on Broadway in The Real Thing, Benefactors, Getting Married, Private Lives, The Real Inspector Hound and The Fifteen Minute Hamlet, The School for Scandal, The Herbal Bed, Ring Round the Moon and Waiting in the Wings. He is currently starring in the Guthrie's production of Shadowlands.

Blakemore's Broadway directing credits include Democracy, Deuce, Is He Dead?, Copenhagen (Tony Award), Kiss Me, Kate (Tony Award), The Life, City of Angels, Noises Off and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg.

The most recent revival of Coward's 1941 comedy played the Neil Simon Theatre in 1987. Directed by Brian Murray, the cast featured Richard Chamberlain, Blythe Danner, Judith Ivey, Geraldine Page, Nicola Cavendish, Patricia Conolly and William LeMassena.

The original Broadway production starred Clifton Webb as Charles, Peggy Wood as wife Ruth and Leonora Corbett as Elvira. Mildred Natwick was eccentric medium Madame Arcati. The play originated in London, with Coward starring as Charles.

The Shubert Theatre is located in Manhattan at 225 West 44th Street.