Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Angela Lansbury Receives Olivier Nomination for Blithe Spirit

From our friends at the National Theatre...

Angela Lansbury Receives Olivier Nom for Blithe Spirit... at National Theatre, March 17-29

The Society of London Theatre announced today that theatre legend, Oscar recipient and five-time Tony Award-winner Angela Lansbury receives her first Olivier Award nomination for her role as Madame Arcati in London’s West End production of Noël Coward’s smash-hit comedic play, BLITHE SPIRIT. 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 in Michael Blakemore’s production. The Laurence Olivier Awards began in 1976 and are presented annually to recognize excellence in professional theatre in London and is the equivalent to Broadway’s Tony Award honors. The London production of Noël Coward’s BLITHE SPIRIT, currently on a North American tour, opened at the Gielgud Theatre on March 18, 2014 and this production marks the first time Angela Lansbury has been eligible for the award.

Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as, “Comic radiance. Diamond-sharp wit!” a North American tour of the production opened at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 14 and continued on to SHN’s Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco and is currently playing its final week at Mirvish Productions’ Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto. The tour conclude its run in Washington D.C. from Tuesday, March 17 through Sunday, March 29 at the National Theatre, where Ms. Lansbury made her first pre-Broadway stage debut nearly 58 years ago to the day in Hotel Paradiso.

Tickets for BLITHE SPIRIT start at $48 plus applicable service charges, and are available at the National Theatre Box Office, online at thenationaldc.com, or by calling (800) 514-3849. Group orders of 10 or more may be placed by calling (855) 486-2516. For more information, call (202) 628-6161.

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 as Charles Condomine (“Downton Abbey,” The 39 Steps, Blithe Spirit - 2014 West End revival), Melissa Woodbridge as Elvira (Blithe Spirit - 2014 West End revival), Charlotte Parry as Ruth Condomine (The Winslow Boy, The Importance of Being Earnest), Simon Jones as Dr. Bradman (“Hitchhiker’s Guide,” The Real Thing, Blithe Spirit - 2009 Broadway revival/2014 West End revival), Susan Louise O’Connor as Edith (“Orange is the New Black,” Blithe Spirit - 2009 Broadway revival) and Sandra Shipley as Mrs. Bradman (Anything Goes, Blithe Spirit - 2009 Broadway revival). The play is directed by two-time Tony Award-winner Michael Blakemore (Kiss Me, Kate; Copenhagen).

The creative team includes scenic and costume designs by Helen Hayes Award-winner Simon Higlett, lighting design by Drama Desk nominee Mark Jonathan, Angela 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 opened at the Shubert Theatre on March 19, 2009. Directed by Michael Blakemore, it co-starred Angela Lansbury, Jayne Atkinson, Christine Ebersole, Rupert Everett, Simon Jones, Susan Louise O’Connor and Deborah Rush.  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, the London revival opened at the Gielgud Theatre on March 18, 2014, and co-starred Charles Edwards, Janie Dee, Jemima Rooper, Serena Evans, Patsy Ferran and Simon Jones.

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?

The North American tour of BLITHE SPIRIT is produced by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Steve Traxler, Lee Dean, John Frost, Charles Diamond and Will Trice in association with Ken Davenport, Kathleen K. Johnson and Jam Theatricals.

For more information, please visit http://www.thenationaldc.com or www.BlitheSpiritThePlay.com.

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About the National Theatre:
Located at 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, the National Theatre opened in 1835 and is one of the oldest continuously operating theaters in the nation. Over the years, the National has hosted a multitude of memorable events, including the pre-Broadway presentations of the musicals Show Boat; Hello, Dolly!; and West Side Story. Many of the world’s greatest performers have graced the National Theatre stage including Robert Redford, George C. Scott, Will Rogers, Helen Hayes, James Earl Jones, Eartha Kitt, Sir Laurence Olivier, Chita Rivera, Rita Moreno, Katherine Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Ian McKellen, Debbie Reynolds, and Audrey Hepburn. National Theatre Group, a partnership between Jam Theatricals, Ltd. and SMG, oversees the programming for and management of the theater.

Performance Schedule:
Tuesday, March 17 at 7:30 PM
Wednesday, March 18 at 2 PM and 7:30 PM
Thursday, March 19 at 7:30 PM
Friday, March 20 at 8 PM
Saturday, March 21 at 2 PM and 8 PM
Sunday, March 22 at 2 PM

Tuesday, March 24 at 7:30 PM
Wednesday, March 25 at 2 PM and 7:30 PM
Thursday, March 26 at 7:30 PM
Friday, March 27 at 8 PM
Saturday, March 28 at 2 PM and 8 PM
Sunday, March 29 at 2 PM