Jemima Rooper, Sandra Dickinson, Simon Jones and Patsy Ferran Join Angela Lansbury BLITHE SPIRIT; Opens March 18

Jemima Rooper, Sandra Dickinson, Simon Jones and Patsy Ferran Join Angela Lansbury BLITHE SPIRIT; Opens March 18

Jemima Rooper, Sandra Dickinson, Simon Jones and Patsy Ferran join Janie Dee, Charles Edwards and Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit, directed by Michael Blakemore. This new production of Noël Coward's sharp comedy of social mores opens at the Gielgud Theatre on 18 March 2014, with previews from 1 March.

In order to observe a spiritualist first-hand for a planned novel, writer Charles Condomine (Charles Edwards) and wife Ruth (Janie Dee) invite friends the Bradmans (Simon Jones and Sandra Dickinson) to dinner and a séance with locAl Clairvoyant Madame Arcati (Angela Lansbury), whom they are certain is a fake.

That all changes when the ghost of his first wife, Elvira (Jemima 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?

Angela Lansbury plays Madame Arcati. Her Broadway performance as Coward's infamous clairvoyant earned her the 2009 Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress, her fifth Tony Award. Her professional career spans more than a half-century, during which she has flourished, first as a star of motion pictures, then as a Broadway musical star and most recently as the star of Murder, She Wrote. The actress made her Broadway debut in 1957 when she starred as Bert Lahr's wife in the French farce, Hotel Paradiso. 2

In 1960, she returned to Broadway as Joan Plowright's mother in the season's most acclaimed drama, A Taste of Honey, by Shelagh Delaney. One year later, she starred on Broadway in her first musical, Anyone Can Whistle. Lansbury returned to New York in triumph in 1966 as Mame, for which she won the first of her Tony Awards as Best Actress in a Musical. She received the others as the Madwoman of Chaillott in Dear World (1968), as Mama Rose in the 1974 revival of Gypsy and as Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd (1979).

From 1984-1996 she starred as Jessica Fletcher, mystery-writing amateur sleuth, in Murder, She Wrote, for which she won four Golden Globe Awards. In 1982, she was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. Angela and her husband Peter were married in 1949, and worked together until Peter's death in January 2003. Angela has three grown-up children, Deirdre, Anthony and David, and three grandchildren.

Blithe Spirit sees Angela return to the London stage for the first time in nearly 40 years. Her last London stage performance was playing Gertrude in the National Theatre production of Hamlet in 1975. Prior to that, she starred in the celebrated production of Gypsy at the Piccadilly Theatre and in the RSC production of All Over at The Aldwych.

In November 2013 Angela received an honorary Oscar in recognition of her outstanding 70 years of contribution to the film industry, and has been appointed as a Dame in the 2014 New Year's Honours list.

BLITHE SPIRIT

Gielgud Theatre

Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 6AR

Box office: 0844 482 5130

www.blithespiritlondon.com

Saturday 1 March - Saturday 7 June 2014

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