Atkinson Joins Starry Cast of Broadway's Blithe Spirit Revival

By Andrew Gans
17 Nov 2008

Jayne Atkinson
Jayne Atkinson
Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Two-time Tony Award nominee Jayne Atkinson has joined the cast of the eagerly awaited revival of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, which will begin performances at the Shubert Theatre Feb. 26, 2009.

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

Atkinson, according to Variety, will play the bride of Everett's character.

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.

Atkinson was Tony-nominated for Enchanted April and The Rainmaker. Her additional stage credits include 33 Variations, Ivanov, All My Sons, The Vagina Monologues, Henry VIII and How I Learned to Drive. She is well known for appearances on television's "24."

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.