Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lansbury's Birthday Gift to Broadway

Instead of waiting for the world to give her a gift, she went and gave us one -- how classy can you get?

In my last blog, I innocently mused that if the upcoming revival of Blithe Spirit could come up with an exciting choice for the role of Madame Arcati, “the potential for theatrical magic will be damn near unbearable.” Little did I know that no less than Angela Lansbury would be taking on the role. Lansbury back on Broadway? Suddenly the word “magic” seems inadequate.

It is only just over a years since Lansbury appeared in Deuce, but I think I speak for most of her fans when I say how much we hoped that well-intentioned but unsatisfying play would not be her last Broadway hurrah. Lansbury is one of the most incandescent stars of my theatergoing lifetime. My sincere hope is that she has many years of excellent health ahead, but let’s be honest – few actors have held forth on Broadway through their eighth decade, and the divine Angela is now 83. Madame Acarti is precisely the kind of larger than life character that Lansbury excels at playing, and I can think of no one more suited to make every word of Noel Coward’s dialogue sparkle.

That Lansbury will be sharing the stage with Christine Ebersole and Rupert Everett makes this the sort of exciting, power-packed theatrical event Broadway desperately needs. Sure, a part of me would be happier if that kind of excitement was provided by a new musical – but there are few sweeter prospects in any theatre-lover’s life than a stellar revival of a classic Coward comedy. And with Lansbury as Acarti – wow!

I have long since lost count of the times when I have taken part in an ovation welcoming Angela Lansbury to a stage. It is going to be a great joy to do so again. How nice of her to celebrate her 83rd birthday (Oct. 16th) by giving Broadway the newws that she's coming back -- how fascinational!


David Rigano's Theatre Reviews said...

I, too, was surprised and excited to hear that Lansbury would be taking on my second favorite Coward female (my first being Elvira in the same play). I can't wait!

Peter A said...

Speaking of Lansbury..John, remember when we both saw the opening night of the Mame revival? We didn't know eahc other at that time but did later. Duplex? Strange Songs? john C. at the piano?

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