By Andrew Gans
and Robert Simonson
12 May 2003
Gossip maven Liz Smith reports that the two Academy Award winners are likely to star on the London stage in a revival of the Noël Coward play about ex-spouses Elyot and Amanda, who happen to honeymoon — with their new spouses — in the same hotel. Last season’s revival of the Coward classic won the Tony for Best Revival of a Play as well as an award for Lindsay Duncan, who co-starred with the Tony-nominated Alan Rickman.
Private Lives would mark the professional stage bow of Michael Douglas, who won Academy Awards for his work in “Wall Street” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Catherine Zeta-Jones, who won an Oscar this season for her performance as Velma Kelly in the Rob Marshall directed “Chicago,” has much stage experience. She starred in the West End productions of The Pajama Game and 42nd Street before landing a role in the hit Yorkshire TV program "The Darling Buds of May." She received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in "Traffic," and her other screen credits include roles in "America's Sweethearts," "The Mask of Zorro" and "Entrapment."
The original 1931 Broadway production of Private Lives famously starred Coward and Gertrude Lawrence. Since then, Broadway has seen stagings featuring (as Amanda and Elyot) Tallulah Bankhead and Donald Cook (1949); Tammy Grimes and Brian Bedford (1970); Maggie Smith and John Standing (1975); Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (1983); and Joan Collins and Simon Jones (1992). A 1999 London production of Private Lives starred Juliet Stevenson.