Hit Revival of Blithe Spirit Ends Limited Run July 19

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19 Jul 2009

<I>Blithe Spirit</I> stars Angela Lansbury and Christine Ebersole
Blithe Spirit stars Angela Lansbury and Christine Ebersole
Robert J. Saferstein

The current revival of Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit — featuring five-time Tony Award winner Angela Lansbury — plays its final performance at the Shubert Theatre July 19 at 3 PM.

When it closes, the Coward comedy will have played a total of 20 previews and 145 regular performances.

Variety announced earlier this week that the production had recouped its initial investment of $2.68 million and grossed approximately $10.9 million.

Blithe Spirit began previews at the Shubert Theatre Feb. 26 with an official opening March 15.

The cast boasts Lansbury (Mame, Dear World, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd) as psychic Madame Arcati; two-time Tony winner Christine Ebersole (Grey Gardens and 42nd Street) as the ghostly Elvira; Rupert Everett ("My Best Friend's Wedding"), who is making his Broadway debut, as Charles Condomine; theatre veteran Simon Jones as Mr. Bradman; two-time Tony Award nominee Jayne Atkinson as Ruth Condomine; Tony nominee Deborah Rush as Mrs. Bradman; and Susan Louise O'Connor as Edith. Michael Blakemore directs.



Lansbury won a 2009 Tony for her performance, her fifth. As of press time, the veteran actress had not missed one performance throughout the show's entire run.

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.

The design team includes scenic designer Peter J. Davison, costume designer Martin Pakledinaz, lighting designer Brian MacDevitt, sound designer Peter Fitzgerald and wig designer Paul Huntley. Steven Zweigbaum is the production supervisor.

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 was first presented in Manchester, England, and opened in London's West End in 1941 under the direction of Coward.

Blithe Spirit was produced by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Steve Traxler, Bat Barry Productions, Jennifer Costello/Broadway Across America, Ken Davenport, Scott Delman, Jamie deRoy/Alan D. Marks, Wendy Federman, Michael Filerman, Jeffrey Finn/Arlene Scanlan, Ronald Frankel, Barbara and Buddy Freitag, JK Productions, Kathleen Johnson, Patty Ann McKinnon, and Terry Schnuck.

The Shubert Theatre is located in Manhattan at 225 West 44th Street. Tickets are available by calling (212) 239-6200 or by visiting www.telecharge.com.