Angela Lansbury Launches BLITHE SPIRIT North American Tour in Los Angeles!
Following the internationally acclaimed production with sold-out engagements on Broadway and London's West End, television legend, Oscar recipient and five-time Tony Award-winner Angela Lansbury returns to the stage in an exciting North American tour of Noël Coward's smash-hit comedic play, BLITHE SPIRIT. Performances for BLITHE SPIRIT begin today, December 9th at Center Theatre Group's Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles with an official opening on Sunday, December 14. Following the closing of the LA engagement on Sunday, January 18th, the tour will continue on to SHN's Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco from Tuesday, January 20th through Sunday, February 1st; Mirvish Productions' Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto from Tuesday, February 10th through Sunday, March 15th and concludes in Washington D.C. from Tuesday, March 17th through Sunday, March 29th at the National Theatre where Lansbury made her first pre-Broadway stage debut nearly 58 years ago to the day. For more information, please visit www.BlitheSpiritThePlay.com.
Returning to the role of Madame Arcati, for which she won her fifth Tony Award in 2009 for Best Featured Actress in a Play, Angela Lansbury ("Murder, She Wrote;" Sweeney Todd; Mame; "Gaslight") will be joined by an all-star cast including Charles Edwards ("Downton Abbey," The 39 Steps, Blithe Spirit - 2014 West End revival), Jemima Rooper ("The Black Dahlia;" One Man, Two Guvnors; Blithe Spirit - 2014 West End revival) and Charlotte Parry (Coram Boy, The Importance of Being Earnest). The cast also includes Susan Louise O'Connor (What to Do When You Hate All Your Friends, Blithe Spirit - 2009 Broadway revival) and Sandra Shipley (Anything Goes, Blithe Spirit - 2009 Broadway revival). Additional casting will be announced in the coming days. The play is directed by two-time Tony Award-winner Michael Blakemore (Kiss Me, Kate; Copenhagen).
"During the course of my career, I've had the good fortune to play many, many unique and wonderful roles in the movies, on stage and television," said Angela Lansbury. "And it is a joy to once again step into the role of Madame Arcati, and bring Noël Coward's classic comedy 'Blithe Spirit' to wonderful audiences here in North America who have supported me for over seven decades."
The creative team, led by two-time Tony Award-winner Michael Blakemore, includes scenic and costume designs by Helen Hayes Award-winner Simon Higlett; Ms. Lansbury's costume designs by two-time Tony Award-winner Martin Pakledinaz and sound design by Olivier Award-winners Ben and Max Ringham.
BLITHE SPIRIT, one of Noël Coward's most popular comedies, was first seen on Broadway in 1941, the same year it was produced in London where it set British box office records and was the longest running comedy (1,997 performances) until it was eventually surpassed by Boeing-Boeing in the 1970's. The original Broadway production played nearly two years and co-starred Leonora Corbett, Mildred Natwick, Clifton Webb and Peggy Wood. In 1987, it was revived on Broadway in an all-star production with Richard Chamberlain, Blythe Danner, Judith Ivey, and Geraldine Page, in her final Broadway appearance.
The latest revival on Broadway in 2009 was directed by Michael Blakemore and co-starred Angela Lansbury, Jayne Atkinson, Christine Ebersole, Rupert Everett, Simon Jones, and Susan Louise O'Connor. Following its critical acclaim and box office success on Broadway, Lansbury returned to the London stage after 40 years to reprise her Tony Award-winning role. Also under the direction of Michael Blakemore and starring Angela Lansbury, the London revival opened at the Gielgud Theatre on March 18, 2014, and co-starred Janie Dee, Serena Evans, Charles Edwards, Patsy Ferran, Simon Jones and Jemima Rooper.
Coward, in his autobiography, claimed he wrote the play in five days during a holiday. Only two lines of dialogue were removed before its first production in London.
Researching for his new novel, Charles Condomine invites the implausible medium Madame Arcati to his house for a séance. While consumed in a trance, Madame Arcati unwittingly summons the ghost of Charles' dead wife Elvira. Appearing only to Charles, Elvira soon makes a play to reclaim her husband, much to the chagrin of Charles' new wife Ruth. One husband, two feuding wives and a whisper of mischief in the air - who will win in Coward's unworldly comedy?
For more information, please visit www.BlitheSpiritThePlay.com