Will Angela Lansbury Bring Her Blithe Spirit Back to the States?

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
15 Aug 2014

Angela Lansbury
Angela Lansbury

The critically acclaimed West End production of Blithe Spirit, starring Angela Lansbury, may be presented in the United States, the Telegraph reports.

"We're hoping to bring it back with her in the US," Jemima Rooper told the Telegraph.

Noël Coward's play opened March 18 at the West End's Gielgud Theatre, following previews that began March 1. Performances continued through June 7.

The production, which marked Lansbury's first stage appearance in London for nearly 40 years, featured the five-time Tony winner as Madame Arcati, reprising her Tony-winning performance that played Broadway in 2009. Also featured were Simon Jones, Charles Edwards, Janie Dee and Rooper. The cast also included Serena Evans and Patsy Ferran, with Sandra Dickinson, Sarah Lawn, Hugh Osborne and Melissa Woodbridge as understudies. Michael Blakemore directed.

"It was amazing. She didn't get any special treatment, she's a grafter," Rooper said of working with Lansbury. "Whenever you feel like you've got a bit of a headache and you can't be bothered, she's almost 90 and she's delivering every day."



In order to observe a spiritualist first-hand for a planned novel, writer Charles Condomine (Edwards) and wife Ruth (Dee) invite friends the Bradmans (Jones and Evans) to dinner and a séance with local clairvoyant Madame Arcati (Lansbury), whom they are certain is a fake. That all changes when the ghost of his first wife, Elvira (Rooper) is summoned - and overstays her welcome in the following days, causing a rift between Charles and his at first disbelieving and then jealous second wife. The feuding wives, ghost and flesh, hatch plot and counter plot to sabotage each other's and Charles' existence but will they succeed?

Read reviews of the production here

Lansbury, who was born in London in 1925, has spanned films, Broadway and television in a career of over half a century. She made her Broadway debut in 1957 when she starred as Bert Lahr’s wife in the French farce Hotel Paradiso. Subsequent Broadway appearances include A Taste of Honey, Anyone Can Whistle, Mame, Dear World, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, Deuce, Blithe Spirit, A Little Night Music and The Best Man. From 1984-1996 she starred as Jessica Fletcher, mystery-writing amateur sleuth, on "Murder, She Wrote," for which she won four Golden Globe Awards. In 2013 she received an honorary Oscar in recognition of her 70 years of contribution to the film industry, and she was appointed as a Dame in the 2014 New Year's Honors List issued by the Queen.

The production was designed by Simon Higlett, with lighting by Mark Jonathan and sound by Ben and Max Ringham. Lansbury's costumes were by Martin Pakledinaz.

Blithe Spirit was produced in the West End by Lee Dean, Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, John Frost, Steve Traxler, Will Trice and Charles Diamond, in association with Ken Davenport and Kathleen K Johnson.