By Adam Hetrick
and Andrew Gans
04 Jun 2014
Lansbury, who will finish the London run of Blithe Spirit June 7, stated that she'll take a "short break" after the Noel Coward comedy before pursuing other work.
"I like the idea of doing Enid Bagnold's The Chalk Garden. Now that is an interesting play. I also rather fancy the idea of a Restoration comedy," she said.
During her 2013 Australian tour of Driving Miss Daisy with James Earl Jones, Lansbury stated that she planned to return to Broadway as Mrs. St. Maugham in a fall 2013 revival of The Chalk Garden. The production never materialized and Lansbury was later announced for the London revival of Blithe Spirit.
Directed by Albert Marre, The Chalk Garden opened in October 1955 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, playing 182 performances before closing in March 1956. The original cast included Gladys Cooper, Siobhan McKenna, Marian Seldes, Betsy von Furstenberg, Fritz Weaver, Percy Waram and more.
Nominated for the 1956 Tony Award as Best Play, The Chalk Garden is a poetic comedy that has the sheen of a mystery. It centers on wealthy and eccentric Mrs. St. Maugham, who is raising her spoiled teenaged granddaughter with the help of an ex-convict butler. A mysterious new governess, Miss Madrigal, shakes things up as she coaxes flowers in a sterile garden to grow — and urges the granddaughter to bloom, too.