By Kenneth Jones
17 Nov 2011
|Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann|
Cattrall, the English-born actress known for playing Samantha Jones in the "Sex and the City" franchise, is Amanda, the stylish divorcee who is honeymooning in the South of France with her new hubby, Victor (played by Simon Paisley Day), when she discovers that the adjoining hotel balcony is populated by her ex, Elyot, played by Canadian star Gross ("Sling & Arrows," the Stratford Shakespeare Festival), who is on his honeymoon with bride Sybil (played by Anna Madeley).
"It's the original rom-com, hilariously funny and brilliantly written," Cattrall said in an interview with Playbill magazine. "It's a gift for me, allowing me to show so much: verbal comedy, physical comedy, even a fight scene and the foxtrot. I love the zaniness of it. …At this stage in my career, it's such a gift to play a powerful woman so beautifully conceived and constructed by Noël Coward, with a heart and a mind as well as a body, and make her my own."
The Cattrall-Eyre production was first seen in a well-reviewed 2010 London run that was reconceived (adding Gross, who was also the star of the TV series "Due South") for this new Broadway incarnation, which had a tryout this fall at Toronto's Royal Alexandra Theatre. This limited Broadway engagement plays to Feb. 5, 2012. Read what Eyre told Playbill.com about the production — his first brush with the work of Coward.
|photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN|
Director Eyre (Broadway and London's Mary Poppins, Amy's View, Indiscretions) was director of London's Royal National Theatre 1988-1997.
Private Lives is produced by Duncan C. Weldon, Paul Elliott, Theatre Royal Bath, Terri and Timothy Childs, Sonia Friedman and David Mirvish.
Here's how the producers officially characterize the popular comedy from the author of Design for Living, Blithe Spirit and Present Laughter: "Considered one of the greatest comedies ever written, Noël Coward's Private Lives premiered in London in 1930 and has been produced around the world ever since; it premiered on Broadway in 1931. Glamorous, rich and reckless, Amanda (Cattrall) and Elyot (Gross) have been divorced from each other for five years. Now both are honeymooning with their new spouses in the South of France. When, by chance, they meet again across adjoining hotel balconies, their insatiable feelings for each other are immediately rekindled. They hurl themselves headlong into love and lust without a care for scandal, new partners or memories of what drove them apart in the first place…for a little while, anyway."
Gross and Cattrall croon the Coward song "Someday I'll Find You" in the play's more sentimental moments.
Private Lives was last seen on Broadway in 2002, when it won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. Lindsay Duncan won the Tony as Best Actress, playing opposite nominee Alan Rickman.
Cattrall starred in the U.K. stage production of Antony and Cleopatra for director Janet Suzman. She made her Broadway debut in Wild Honey with Sir Ian McKellen. Her TV and film roles (in addition to "Sex and the City") include PBS's "Any Human Heart" based on the William Boyd novel; "Meet Monica Velour"; and Roman Polanski's "The Ghost Writer." She is a recipient of a Golden Globe Award; a Gemini Award (Canadian Emmy); two Screen Actors Guild Awards; five Emmy Award nominations and three Screen Actors' Guild nominations. She has also written several books, including the best seller "Sexual Intelligence"; "Being a Girl: Navigating the Ups and Downs of Teenage Life"; and "Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm."
|photo by Cylla von Tiedemann|
Canadian actor Gross played Constable Benton Fraser on the award-winning series "Due South" and received two Gemini Awards for his portrayal of a ghost-plagued stage director, Geoffrey Tenant, in the acclaimed series "Slings & Arrows." He wrote, directed, produced and starred in the feature films "Men with Brooms" and "Passchendaele," two of the highest-grossing Canadian films and winner of a combined six Genie Awards including Best Picture. Gross recently starred in the TV series "Eastwick." On stage, he received Dora Awards for Romeo and Romeo and Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Toward the Somme. He performed the title role in the Stratford Festival's 2000 production of Hamlet.
Day's London stage credits include Private Lives; Timon of Athens; Entertaining Mr. Sloane; The 39 Steps; The Philanthropist (Donmar); The Coast of Utopia, Twelfth Night and Anything Goes (all at The National Theatre).
Madeley's London credits include three seasons with the RSC; The Roman Actor opposite Antony Sher; Colder Than Here; The Philanthropist; The Cosmonaut’s Last Message… (Donmar); and Coram Boy at The National.
Olsson's London credits include Private Lives; Carmen at the Royal Opera House directed by Francesca Zambello; This Child; War Crime; GOF and Dickens of a Christmas.
Tickets are available through www.telecharge.com. For more information, visit www.privatelivesbroadway.com.
View highlights from the show: